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Author Topic: Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?  (Read 8493 times)

Offline Hammers

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2007, 01:56:03 PM »
Quote from: "Plynkes"
Something to do with an incident in a cherry orchard during the Peninsular War, if memory serves.

Edit: http://website.lineone.net/~royal.hussar/11hnapoleonic.htm


Ah, thanks! Glad to get that cleared up.

Online Bullshott

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2007, 07:10:04 PM »
Quote
Red coats, traditional for us Brits don't show the blood when wounded. So good for morale.  
I am not sure if that is the real reason why we traditionally wear scarlet tunics, but I am sure i heard it mentioned

The real reason is that in 1645 during the English Civil War the New Model Army was raised by paliament as the first national army (as opposed to the regional armies that were fighting up to then). Rather than all regiments being in their colonel's choice of colour, It was decided that they should be clothed in a uniform colour (at the lowest cost). The Scots (a potential enemy) were already in grey, so the next cheapest colour was Gloucester Red. After the war the NMA became the Standing Army in the same colour and the rest is history ...
Sir Henry Bullshott, Keeper of Ancient Knowledge

Offline janner

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Re: Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2007, 07:36:24 PM »
Quote from: "pnweerar"
A bit of a more removed question - why were uniforms from the 19th century so pretty? I imagine everyone knew how muddy, dirty, and even bloodied they would get, so why was there such to do about making them look nice for the parade grounds?

I can imagine smaller, professional armies may have done so to boost recruitment, but it makes little sense given the rise of conscription-based forces with Napoleon.

Just wondering if any of our history buffs had some answers.


It's because we soldiers are basically tarts - where it once was tight fitting breeches and gold frogging, it's now baggy combats with half-rolled up sleeves showing off the chunky divers watch, with immaculate personal weapon and underslung grenade launcher in one hand, and kevlar helmet with fittings for night vision device and helmet camera on the old swad - chinstrap is, of course, done-up.

However, when it comes to the summer ball, the scarlet jacket with high collar and deep blue mess overalls still hits the spot with Fiona Fitztightly and her cohorts - or so the young subbies tell me...

Offline pnweerar

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2007, 01:42:24 AM »
Thanks for the answers :) .

Offline fastolfrus

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2007, 09:32:57 PM »
Sir Henry -
I vaguely recall hearing (a few years ago) that the first consignment of Venice red cloth purchased by Parliament was actually cheap because it was bought second hand off the Dutch (who "acquired" it from the Spanish)
Gary, Glynis, and Alasdair (there are three of us, but we are too mean to have more than one login)

Offline janner

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2007, 10:28:43 PM »
Quote from: "fastolfrus"
Sir Henry -
I vaguely recall hearing (a few years ago) that the first consignment of Venice red cloth purchased by Parliament was actually cheap because it was bought second hand off the Dutch (who "acquired" it from the Spanish)


English use of red coats pre-dates the Civil War and was in common use in Henry VIII's army over a hundred years earlier (the Yeoman of the Guard and the Yeoman Warders still wear their original style uniforms). The London Trained Bands are also believed to have worn Red Coats and these formed the nucleus of the Parliamentarian Army long before the New Model Army formed up.

Regards,

Offline fastolfrus

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2007, 12:18:47 AM »
Stephen :
Not certain of this but weren't red coats pre New Model the responsibility/choice of the colonel ? There were a lot of other coat colours in use too. Blue was fairly popular. There were quite a few blue coats in Henry VIIIs army too.
But the New Model marked a distinction that all infantry (and dragoons ?) were to be issued with uniform red coats.

Offline janner

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2007, 07:09:33 PM »
Quote from: "fastolfrus"
Stephen :
Not certain of this but weren't red coats pre New Model the responsibility/choice of the colonel ? There were a lot of other coat colours in use too. Blue was fairly popular. There were quite a few blue coats in Henry VIIIs army too.
But the New Model marked a distinction that all infantry (and dragoons ?) were to be issued with uniform red coats.


Indeed but red and gold were Tudor colours and were linked through the Royal Guards  and London Trained Bands to 'englishness' before the NMA - it's not so cut and dried.

Offline fastolfrus

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2007, 11:10:39 PM »
Stephen -
Am I reading you right ? Parliament, after 2 years of fighting against Charles Stuart, and having signed up to an alliance with the Scots, chose red as a sort of homage to Henry VIII, rather than happy coincidence that they could get the cloth on the cheap ?

I thought that the London Trayned Bandes were not initially issued with coats (although there was a possibility that they were issued a buff coat with cloth sleeves) and would wear normal (civilian) coats/doublets.

Offline Will Bailie

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2007, 12:05:48 AM »
Here's a little anecdote from when I was a piper in the Canadian militia.  Every Remembrance Day, after the ceremony at the cenotaph, we would travel around the pubs and branches of the Royal Canadian Legion (the Canadian veterans' association).  One of the benefits, of course, was loads of free BEvERages.

Full dress uniform for pipers is nearly unchanged from the uniform adopted in the 1850s, with tunic, belts, spats, the works.  It presented quite a contrast to the modern army's DEU (Dress Environment Uniform:  basically a suit and tie).  The contrast between my combination of belts and buttons (and of course, the kilt) and the boring CF standard uniform worked wonders with the ladies.  It was far easier to attract female attention when dressed in our Victorian era uniforms than when we were in more "modern" garb.

One of my favourite moments was my chance to laugh at an infantryman who complained that I was "shinier" than he was!

So, getting back to the original post:  fancier uniform = more chicks![/quote]

Offline janner

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2007, 08:57:15 AM »
Quote from: "fastolfrus"
Stephen -
Am I reading you right ? Parliament, after 2 years of fighting against Charles Stuart, and having signed up to an alliance with the Scots, chose red as a sort of homage to Henry VIII, rather than happy coincidence that they could get the cloth on the cheap ?


Homage - no (although a Stuart may well have held a different level of respect from the man who broke with the Catholic Church and his Armada defeating daughter), tradition is a different thing else why did they keep the red coats after the Restoration? Parliamentarians weren't republicans at the beginning of the NMA and no one had heard of levelling at that stage - they just didn't like the Continental European Absolute Monarchism the Stuart's were trying to bring in or the fear that he was trying to reintroduce the Catholic Church on the sly - which takes us back to Henry...

Also red dye isn't cheaper (or at least red dye that doesn't fade after the first light shower) - that's why on the Foot Guards have red tunics now for ceremonial and the Line Infantry are in Blue Patrols. So whilst they may have got the cloth cheap - being sharp eyed businessmen they would have had one eye to the future.

Quote
I thought that the London Trayned Bandes were not initially issued with coats (although there was a possibility that they were issued a buff coat with cloth sleeves) and would wear normal (civilian) coats/doublets.


They are contemporary accounts of them wearing red but, as it was in the language of the day, some say doesn't mean their coats were red - let's not go there  :?

Offline janner

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2007, 09:04:48 AM »
Quote from: "Will Bailie"
Here's a little anecdote from when I was a piper in the Canadian militia.  Every Remembrance Day, after the ceremony at the cenotaph, we would travel around the pubs and branches of the Royal Canadian Legion (the Canadian veterans' association).  One of the benefits, of course, was loads of free BEvERages.

Full dress uniform for pipers is nearly unchanged from the uniform adopted in the 1850s, with tunic, belts, spats, the works.  It presented quite a contrast to the modern army's DEU (Dress Environment Uniform:  basically a suit and tie).  The contrast between my combination of belts and buttons (and of course, the kilt) and the boring CF standard uniform worked wonders with the ladies.  It was far easier to attract female attention when dressed in our Victorian era uniforms than when we were in more "modern" garb.

One of my favourite moments was my chance to laugh at an infantryman who complained that I was "shinier" than he was!

So, getting back to the original post:  fancier uniform = more chicks!
[/quote]

I had similar luck when as an Infantryman at a 29 (Commando) Royal Artillery the CO sent as all into town after a Mess do. So here we were in a nightclub - known as Plymouth Sailing Club (or GX - groin exchange - colloquially) – in full Mess Dress. Now gunners wear blue and so faded comfortably into the darkness, and at that time I was in my pre-Rifles scarlet – despite not being what used to be called a ‘page 7 fellah’ I remember the night fondly…

Offline Gluteus Maximus

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2007, 09:21:36 AM »
Quote from: "janner"
Quote from: "fastolfrus"
Stephen :
Not certain of this but weren't red coats pre New Model the responsibility/choice of the colonel ? There were a lot of other coat colours in use too. Blue was fairly popular. There were quite a few blue coats in Henry VIIIs army too.
But the New Model marked a distinction that all infantry (and dragoons ?) were to be issued with uniform red coats.


Indeed but red and gold were Tudor colours and were linked through the Royal Guards  and London Trained Bands to 'englishness' before the NMA - it's not so cut and dried.


Charles' Oxford army was fitted out in red & blue in [IIRC] 1643. Red was always seen as a "martial" colour in England, probably to do with Roman or Spartan conotations.

Offline Lowtardog

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Why were 19th Century uniforms so pretty?
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2007, 09:30:02 AM »
Sadly I was in the RAF whilst 3 of my uncles were in Infantry battalions (Kings own Scottish Borderers) so when weddings etc came around we were were asked to wear unifomrs.

As always they would sit in their finery and shout "here comes the RAC, who needs there car fixed" not a happy bunny  :cry: and a rubbish uniform at the time, though now they seem to have reverted back to better No1s with the albatross on sleeves and a material cap badge rather than the crappy brass one

 

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