** Scottish boy scout uniforms -- chronology

Scottish Boy Scout Uniforms: Chronology

Figure 1.--This Scottish Scout was photographed during World War I (1914-18) at Dura, Fifeshire. Image courtesy of the RS collection.

We have very limited chronolgical information on Scottish Scout uniforms. As far as we know, Scottish Scouts followed the same chronolgical chnges as did English Scouts. As far as we know, the Scottish and English Scout uniforms were the same, except that the Scottish boys had the option of wearing kilts. Thus at this time we do not know of any chronological differenced in Scottish and English Scout uniforms, but our information is still very limited.

The 1900s

We are not sure when Scouting was organized in Scotland. We assume it was done at about the same time as Scouting in England. Baden Powell founded a British Scouting movement, not an English movement.

The 1910s

We have only a few Scottish Scouting images from the 1910s. The few images we have show boys wearing short trousers like English Scouts rather than kilts. The Scottish scout seen here is wearing a Scout uniform that seems identical to English Scouts (figure 1). Note the large Scout emblem on his hat. We do not know if kilts were worn from the beginning in Scottish Scouting or if it developed after the Scouting program had developed. We have only a few images before World War I (1914-18).

The 1920s

We do note quite a few Scottish Scouts wearing kilts after World War I in the 1920s. It appears to have been an individual decession. We are not sure that all Scittish Scouts had kilts, byt as most Scouts were middle class, we assume that many did. Here there my have been differences between the Lowlands and Highlands. Some troops may have decided to either wear shorts or kilts so that they had the same uniform. Here we are not yet sure about the common conventions. It appears to have been a kind of dress uniform. We note family portraits with the boys wearing their Scout uniforms with kilts. A photograph of Scottish Scouts at the 1929 World Jamboree show boys wearing the standard British Scout uniform, but some boys are weaing it with kilts. All boys are wearing the wide-brimmed Scout hat. we do not see any Scottish Scouts wearing Glengaries, always the standard Scout hats. We do not have many images from the 1920s so we are less sure how the boys dressed for standard Scouting activities are while at camps. .

The 1930s

The 1940s

The 1950s

The 1960s

A Scottish reader reports, "This is our troop at Gilwell Park (a national centre for British scouts) in 1967.The khaki shirt and bonnnet are still worn. This changed the following year when the shirt changed to a less "military" green,the bonnet was dropped and long trousers were permitted. Here the boys without kilts wear the light-colour Summer version of the shorts (the Winter ones were khaki - the same as the shirts)."

The 1970s

The 1980s

The 1990s

A Scottish reader has forwarded us a photograph of a Scottish Scout patrol in the 1990s. He reports, "Here are boys from the troop in the 90s. The main change is that the socks are now green, but kept the troop colours on them."

The 2000s

We notice a general decline in uniform during the 2000s. Scouts still have and wear uniforms. We note, however, at camps boys normally wear their own clothes and only wear their uniforms for formal events. Units vary. Changes in the 2000s have the Cubs and Scouts wearing similar uniforms. The adult Scouters wear the old tan uniforms and the Beavers grey sweat suits. All the boys wear long pants, except some Scouts who wear kilts for formal events. Beavers have become an important part of most Scout troops.


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Created: September 30, 2002
Last updated: 10:59 PM 6/7/2012