* English school uniform : chronological trends -- the 1950s garments

English 1950s School Chronology: Uniform Trends

Figure 1.--All we know for sure was that this was a school in Crydon, a borough in south London. It looks like a grammar school, perhaps a Church of England grammar school. This was a secondary school beginning with boys about 12 years old. Notice that the boys are wearing a mix of both the school blazer and their own suits. The boys are also wearing a mix of short and long pants. Put your cursor on the image to see the other half of the photograph.

The school uniform styles prevalent before World War II (1939-45) continued to prevail in the 1950s. One notable change was that the wearing of the once ubiquitous school cap declined rapidly in parallel with the fact that adults no longer wore hats either. Short trousers were still insisted on up to age 14 or 15, although this became increasingly unpopular. (The public schools such as Dauntseys, Bryanston, Sedbergh, St Bees and others kept short trousers for boys of all ages until about 1970). Shorts were still normally worn at private preparatory and state primary schools during the 1950s. We note at quite a number of schools not all the boys are wearing unifoems, but rather various suit jackets. I thought perhaps schools were relaxing uinform standards. A British reader writes, "Your reference to the fact that 'perhaps' school blazers were not required during the early 1950s is missing the fact that we were recovering from the war and lots of things were still rationed and in short supply at that time, AS WAS MONEY. One concrete fact to illustrate this is the I flew with the RAF to Ceylon in 1952 and two breakfasts on one day, because of the travel arrangements, I had eggs both times. (Happy surprise!) Eggs were still rationed in Britain at this time. Also, sweets were still rationed while I was in the RAF. These are specific things I remember quite clearly, but I am equally sure that clothing as still affected by the war aftermath. I was in a grammar school from 1943 till 1948 and do not remember any problems with blazers, bit I think it was probably a problem in some cases and would affect the photographic evidence of the times. It is something to bear in mind."


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Created: 2:57 PM 11/27/2019
Last updated: 2:57 PM 11/27/2019