Boys' Clothes for Outings to the Park: National Styles


Figure 1--These boys, probably during the late 1940s, in this French park all wear short pants. Two boys still wear suits, but this became less common in the 1950s. Notice the one boy wearing a beret with high-top shoes and another waring sandals.

The central city park developed as an important institution in several European countries. In Europe these parks in many cases evolved out of long accepted park areas. In the much newer American cities, purpose belt parks were created such a New York's Central Park. Some of the best known parks were in London and Paris, bit birtually every important city opened parks. The clothes worn to these parks are a fascinating indicator of national styles and fashion conventions.

Argentina

We do not have a lot of information on outings Argentine familes took. They seem to have been similar to those in Europe. We note children playing in city parks. Unfortunately we do not yet know much about Argentne urban parks. Hopefully our Argentine readers will be able to add some information.

Chile

There is a great park in the center of Santiago. I think it is called Santa Lucia. It is a little mountain. A road and pedeestrian path winds its way up the hill. There is interesting foliage as well as kiosks, little monuments, and outlooks all the way up the hill. The common convention in Latin American towns and cities is for the cathedral/church to face goverment buildings at the center of town with aplaza or little park in between. This is the case for most Chilean towns.

England

English boys might commonly have worn formal clothes like Fauntleroy suits to the park. Certainly sailor suits were very popular. After World War I (1914-18), park wear became more casual. We do not have much information on English parks. Some of the parks in London are world famous, including Battersea Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, Regent's Park (with its noted zoo), St. James Park, and others. Many havevorigins are Royal Parks. These are land originally owned by the monarchy diversion of the royal family. This largely mean hunting. They are not only known to English people, but to many people around the world. We note a family outing to Regent's Part about the turn-of-the 20th century. An English reader has provided us some information on the park he visited as a boy. He explains just how important these parks were to urban children, most of which did not have yards (back gardens) where they could play.

France

France has some beautiful urban parks which have been brought to the world by some of the country's most estemed artists. French boys like English boys might have worn fancy Fauntleroy suits to the park and certainlty sailor suits were very common. HBC believes that some informal styles like smocks were worn by French boys, even before World War I. Tops and hoops were vey popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After World War I, boys mostly wore short pants. Sailor suits were still seen, but were less common. Boys would commonly take their smocks off after school. Skating became very popular. Suits were still often worn. Sandals and high-top shoes were common as were kneesocks. After World War II boys still wore short pants at increasingly short length, but suits became less common in the 1950s. Berets became much less commn in the 1950s as did high-top shoes.

Germany

We have very little information about German parks at this time. We know that all large German cities had parks. We do not know the chronology of their development or if there were any destinctive aspects to German parks. Hopefully our German readers will provide us some insights. A reader has provided us a view of a Berlin part in 1930.

Georgia

We do not know a lot about parks in Georgia. A reader tells us that Tbilsi has a mountain top park. It is a good place to stroll and enjoy fresh air. It is popular with families. The tree lined walks offer cool shade in the heat of summer and there is good views of this historic city.

India

Parks have made for popular outings for city childrem. European parks are primarily a 19th century phenomenon. We know much less about non-European countries like India. India has some beautiful parks which seem to have mixed princely-British origins. Many Indian orinces or maharajas had luxurious palaces and grounds. We assume they were not open to the public, but have no detailed information at this time. Apparently during the British Raj some of these palacial grounds were converted into public parks. Since indeoedence (1948), I'm unsure if the Indian Government has devoted resources to expanding existing parks and creating new parks.

Italy

No information available.

Japan

Japan has some lovely urban parks. Japan is heavily urbanized and these parks offer some badly needed green spaces for the people of the densely populated cities. We do not have a lot of information about these parks. I recall visiting Japan in the 1970s. I did not see a lot of small comminity parks. Rather I noted a small number of large parks. Often a temple complex or other important attraction was at the center of the Japanese parks. Several are very famous in Japan. We do not yet have much information as to when these parks were created or conventions about their use. We note families using them for recreation. Some photographs show families wearing suits and other formal clothes rather than casual clothes when visitging these parks. We also notice school groups visiting these parks. This was often to visit the templel or other attraction, but we noticed recrearional events organized for younger children at the parks.

Kenya

There are over 55 national parks and reserves located all over the country. Kenya is famous worldwide for its game viewing in parks and reserves. The Wildebeest migration is one of the most amazing natural spectacles. Some are major international tourist sites, others are primatily used by Kenyan families. Some of the national parks are famous internationally. They are widely seen as among the best in all Africa. There is stunningly beautiful scenery and above all an amazing diversity of wildlie. The difference between National Parks and Reserves is that the parks are managed by the national Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) while the reserves are the responsibility of the local councils and tribes. There are vast difference between the various Kenyan national parks and reserves. Nairobi National Park is the most accesable and is a mere 30 minutes from Nairobi itself. And a good variety od wildlife is on disply here. Many visitors report that Masai Mara National Reserve is the most spectacular and here the visitor has a good chance of encountering all of the ‘Big Five’ animals (rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards and buffaloes). Lions which can be the most difficult to spot, are almost common in Masai Mara. We suspect that foreign visitors are the mainstay of many of these parks. We are unsure about the level of Kenyan attendance. The game parks can be expensive to visit as vehickes and guides are needed. We have no information on urban parks.

Netherlands

City children might enjoy outings to the local parks. They would be the only green aras available for city children. As far as we know, Dutch parks are almost all urban parks. There are no wilderness areas set aside for national parks. We do not know much about specific Dutch parks, but all major cities surely must have had plesant parks. One problem for children is thst parks are often for strolling and sitting on benches. Play ativities were often limited. A Dutch reader writes, "Most cities in Germany have parks. What they also have are signs with the warning "walking on the lawn is verboten". We also had such signs in Holland. The word verboten in Dutch is verboden. I remember a sign in an Utrecht city park, 'Verboden zich buiten de paden te begeven.' (Forbidden to leave the paths.) When I went to England for the first time I was amazed that people in the parks were allowed to walk, sit and lie on the grass. That was against the law in Holland and even more so in Germany." Hopefully Dutch readers can tell us about some of the parks that they enjoy. This was very common in Europe. Schools also sometimes used the parks because most city schools had very limited outside play areas. Younger children enjoyed walks with their parents, often their mothers and grandmothers.

Russia

We know very little about parks in Russia. We suspect that during the Tsarist era in the 19th century that parks were built along European lines in the major cities. We do no know what happen after the Revolution (1917). One would think that with the ethos of building a society for the people that considerable attention would have been given to building public parks, but we have little actual information. Hopefully our Russian readers will probide us some information here.

Serbia

We do not know anything about urban parks in Serbia. There are quite a number in Belgrade and the other cities. There is a popular park in frointb of the Sebian Parliament, but I don't jnow the name. A reader in Serbia tells us about story tellers who perform in the city patks. They are very popular with the children. During the Communist era many national parks were opened throughout the country. They cover about 5 oercent of the country's area. There are five large national parks: Djerdap, Tara, Kopaonik, Fruška Gora, and Šara National Park. in adiituion to the five parks are 120 nature reserves, 20 nature parks, and about 470 natural monuments.

South Africa

There are a variety of family outings that South African families can take. South Africa has some wonderful parks. We do not know much about municipal parks. Some of the national parks, however, are world famous. The parks are located all over the country. There are more than 20 National Parks in the country. The best known are those associated with wildlife. They attract visitors from all over the world who want to view South Africa's spectacular wildlife. These are mostly located in the north. The Soith African wildlife parks include two of the world's most renowned wildlife reserves (the Kruger Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park). There are also many regional parks. The parks accirding to South African park officials "will transfer you into another world". There are a wide range of possibilities. These include drive safaris, game viewing, and adventure activities. These include guided walks and hiking, bird-watching, 4x4 trails), sight-seeing, cultural and historical experiences, mountain biking, golf, canoeing, swimming and much more.

Sweden

A Swedish reader has provided us a charming view of a Stockholm park and boys sailing their sailboat in the park pond in 1962. Even though it is May, it still looks rather chilly. He writes, "I enclose a picture from Stockholm in May 1962. Still the trams were going around the streets of Stockholm before the were scrapped (that was when we turned over to right-hand traffic on the September 3, 1967). The tram cars on this picture are from the 30s though! They were still in use side-by-side with newer ones until the end of 1964. It is a real pity, they disapeared - I guess the most environment-friendly means of transportation you can have in a big city - which I suspect they regret today! Of course, you would have the modern cars of today if used again! This picture gives a good picture how Swedish kids were dressed in the beginning of the 60s not too far off from the school photograph I sent. The brown leather shoes were very popular and the short jackets as well."

United States

The most well known American urban park is of course Central Park in New York. One interesting view of Central Park in 1919 is available in HBC. All big cities had important parks and most small towns had a town square or some kind of park in the center of town. Images from these parks provide fascinating images of American life over time. American boys might have worn Fantleroy suits like English boys. Younger boys might have worn kilt suits. The sailor suit was very commonly worn to the park--commonly with kneepants. Boys might wear smocks at home, but were unlikely to wear them to the park. Older boys would wear a variety of knee pants suits to the park. After World War I, conventions shifted. Gradually more cassual clothes became popular and were increasingly seen in images from parks.







HBC





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Created: January 18, 1998
Last updated: 7:16 PM 1/23/2011