St Matthew's Day 1960?

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St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:56 am

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My mother took this outside St Sepulchre in Newgate St on St Matthew's Day in (I think) 1960, maybe 61. Anyone recognize herself?
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by sejintenej » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:19 pm

Would anyone admit to having the apparently enormous hands of the girl on the right? I do think that, given the history, they could have given you more appropriate uniforms.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by midget » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:42 pm

Most of the coatfrocks seem to be without the gold edging. Since when? And SMALL hats much better than ours.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by Katharine » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:16 am

midget wrote:Most of the coatfrocks seem to be without the gold edging. Since when? And SMALL hats much better than ours.
I think all coatfrocks had two vertical lines of gold piping and edging the belt as well, I think it is just a trick of the light or something, Maggie. The new hats came in very early in my time, so 1959 or 60. There were complaints that the Mons no longer had the distinction of the triple gold bands on them. Smaller panamas came in about the same time too.

David, I think these dresses were particularly designed so that they would look good when seen with Housey boys. It was the Sunday uniform for many years but went during my time to be replaced by the repulsive grey pinafore dresses with tartan blouses. That was what I wore to London for St Matthew's Day and they did not go with the boys' uniforms at all.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by englishangel » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:18 am

Then in 1970 -ish we had shapeless blue tunics which made the slimmest of us look like a sack and the famous cherry red jackets. What that had to do with Housey we never found out but I understand they stuck around until the merger.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:37 am

Absolutely right - these coatfrocks with the smaller velour hat are much more flattering than the horrid grey dresses and blue-sack + cherry-red which succeeded them. I think the girls in the photo look good! They seem to be wearing their hats well tipped back - for maximum exposure of hair?

But today's uniforms are best of all! Sigh.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:31 am

I get the impression that the girls' uniforms were always unpopular because they were slightly out-of-date and hence dowdy. Now they're 400 years out-of-date and everyone loves them. (But it is noteworthy that so many posts in the Hertford section -- whatever the subject -- somehow get back to the uniform.)
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by Jo » Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:40 am

michael scuffil wrote:I get the impression that the girls' uniforms were always unpopular because they were slightly out-of-date and hence dowdy. Now they're 400 years out-of-date and everyone loves them. (But it is noteworthy that so many posts in the Hertford section -- whatever the subject -- somehow get back to the uniform.)
That's an interesting observation, Michael - I hadn't realised it but it's probably true. I suppose it's because the uniform was such a perpetual source of frustration to us, being dowdy, ill-fitting, and often uncomfortable. Unlike a day school or other boarding schools (except Housey, of course), every stitch was provided by the school, and our own clothes were taken home by our parents on our first day.

This was obviously a well-intentioned tradition, given that it's a charitable institution that originally provided everything for its earliest, poverty-stricken pupils. But I think the effect it had on us (although I couldn't have articulated it as such at the time) was to remove every last vestige of personal identity (and dignity, come to that). So it was never just about clothes, it was about who we were, and how the uniform made us feel at a more profound level than just the superficial attractiveness or comfort of the garments.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by englishangel » Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:49 am

:idea:

of course
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by sejintenej » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:26 am

Jo wrote:
This was obviously a well-intentioned tradition, given that it's a charitable institution that originally provided everything for its earliest, poverty-stricken pupils. But I think the effect it had on us (although I couldn't have articulated it as such at the time) was to remove every last vestige of personal identity (and dignity, come to that). So it was never just about clothes, it was about who we were, and how the uniform made us feel at a more profound level than just the superficial attractiveness or comfort of the garments.
Jo; you could almost say the same about the boy's uniform. My coat weighed in at 22lbs - say 10 kilos so imagine carrying that around from 7.15am until 9pm. IMHO our system was designed to beat out of us any individuality so that we were suitable cannon fodder for Ypres or the lower echelons of the Raj.

What strikes me is that your uniform seems to have been constantly changing which results in no "identity" for the school and its pupils in the outside world. As for being uncomfortable, ill-fitting etc. that can only have been the fault of the tailors '/ manufacturers / fitters (your housemarms?). Dowdy - surely anything 6 months out of date is dowdy? From the description they certainly sound horrendous.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by Angela Woodford » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:28 am

[quote="Jo"But I think the effect it had on us (although I couldn't have articulated it as such at the time) was to remove every last vestige of personal identity (and dignity, come to that). So it was never just about clothes, it was about who we were, and how the uniform made us feel at a more profound level than just the superficial attractiveness or comfort of the garments.[/quote]

Very, very well put Jo. :clap: :clap:

When it comes to personal identity, I longed to express myself with clothes I liked for seven long years! I can honestly say that I never thought very much about the male sex (well, I did correspond regularly with a friend from Sunday School) because I would never have had the confidence or individuality to attract a boyfriend. The uniform, together with the system, went a long way towards creating me as a nothing/a nobody/a failure during my School years. Thanks for your post, Jo.

Love from Munch

Oh yes, I should have worked much harder to overcome all this, I know! :oops:
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:16 pm

Jo wrote: But I think the effect it had on us (although I couldn't have articulated it as such at the time) was to remove every last vestige of personal identity (and dignity, come to that). So it was never just about clothes, it was about who we were, and how the uniform made us feel at a more profound level than just the superficial attractiveness or comfort of the garments.
The present uniform can hardly encourage personal identity, but it probably does encourage dignity (as in my opinion the boys' uniform always did, the Grecians' coat par excellence). That may be why no one seems to complain. The old uniforms made you feel "characterless", and, as has been pointed out, constantly changing a uniform almost defeats one of its purposes.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by englishangel » Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:29 pm

that can only have been the fault of the tailors '/ manufacturers / fitters (your housemarms?).
Que?

Fit was the last thing they did, that was part of the problem. Young women come in many more shapes than young men. If something like the coat fits across the shoulders and is long enough you are more or less OK, whereas girls have breasts, waists and hips to be fitted (in case you hadn't noticed :lol: ) and these garments were made to fit all.
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:52 pm

sejintenej wrote: My coat weighed in at 22lbs - say 10 kilos so imagine carrying that around from 7.15am until 9pm.
True. But that didn't make it warm. It was draughty in winter and too hot in summer.
One of the nice things about being a button grecian was that the coat was much lighter (besides being better tailored).
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Re: St Matthew's Day 1960?

Post by Katharine » Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:22 pm

Angela Woodford wrote:Absolutely right - these coatfrocks with the smaller velour hat are much more flattering than the horrid grey dresses and blue-sack + cherry-red which succeeded them. I think the girls in the photo look good! They seem to be wearing their hats well tipped back - for maximum exposure of hair?

But today's uniforms are best of all! Sigh.
Agreed Munch. We did rather like the coatfrocks and were horrified when they went, especially when we saw what replaced them! The Summer Sunday dresses were abominations in style and fabric - yellow linen which attracted greenfly. I think most of my generation would have been quite happy to have the coatfrocks all year round. Yes they were shapeless - but it didn't matter they were stylishly shapeless if you see what I mean! If it was very cold you could easily wear a pullover underneath. The real snags with them were changing the collars and the dress shields - however I think changing the collar has been a skill I have had to use on occasions!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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