Wednesday, 10 April 2013

What a child should wear in 1712



The Enraged Musician by William Hogarth, 1741
A comment from Kendra on my post on leather stays made me do a search for them on Google books and actually found a few, very few mentions of them in British texts. In 1758 there is a note on poor girl being issued leather stays when they are admitted to an Asylum. I did a search for leather bodice and found a description af a country wench in her leather bodice from 1771 and then, a rather facinating list on the cost of clothes for children in a British charity school in 1712. Girls are then supposed to be provided with a leather bodice with a stomacher. But the whole list is worth a post, I think. Being charity this is what is considered the minimum of clothes a child, aged 7-12 should wear. A quite useful guide for 18th century re-enactors with children, I think, the quality would be better for a richer child and he or she would have more underwear, but the basics are here. I kept the spelling.
 

An ACCOUNT of the RATES of Cloathing
Poor Children belonging to C H A R I T Y-s C H O O L S

The Charge of Cloathing a BOY
A Yard and half-quarter of Grey Yorkshire Broad Cloth 6 quarters wide, makes a Coat: 3 s.
Making the Coat, with Pewter Buttons and all other Materials: 1 s.
A Wasitcoat of the same Cloth lined: 3 s. 6 d.
A pair of Breeches of Cloth or Leather lined: 2 s. 6 d.
1   Knit Cap, with Tuft and String, of any Colour: 10 d.
1 Band: 2 d.
1 Shirt: 1 s. 6 d.
1 Pair of Woollen Stockings: 8 d.
1 Pair of Shoes: 1 s. and 10 d.
1 Pair of Buckles: 1 d.
1 Pair of Knit or Wash-Leather Gloves: 7 d.
Total: 15 s. and 8 d.

The Charge of Cloathing a GIRL.
3 Yards and half of blue long Ells, about yard wide, at  6d. p. Yard, makes a Gown and Petticoat: 4 s. 8 d.
Making thereof, Strings, Body-lining, and other Materials : 1 s.J
A Coif and Band of Scotch-Cloth with a Border: 9 d.
Ditto of fine Ghenting: 1 s.
A Shift: 1 s. 6 d.
A White, Blue, or Checquer'd Apron: 1 s.
A pair of Leather Bodice and Stomacher: 2 s. 6 d.
1 Pair of Woollen Stockings: 8 d.
1 Pair of Shoes: 1 s. 8 d.
A Pair of Pattens: 8 d..
1 Pair of Buckles: 1 d.
1 Pair of Knit or Wash-Leather Gloves: 7 d.
Total: 16 s. 1 d.
The Graham children by William Hogarth, 1742

I think it is interesting that girl’s costs more and that there are no warm outwear for either sex. The mention of a  leather bodice is interesting as well. I think they are more like stays, even if unboned they would probably add some stiffness and as a gown is listed, the bodice is probably meant more as underwear. I didn’t know what pattens was, but have now learned now that it protective overshoes. I am stumped on the fabrics for the girl’s clothes, though. Anyone who knows what Ells, Scotch-Cloth and Ghenting are? My guess is that Ells is a wool of some sort and the other two are different qualities of linen, but I’m not at all sure.

EDIT: Rae Arnold kindly provided me with answers: "
Scotch-cloth is another term for nettlecloth, which is linen-like, but from nettle, not flax.

Ghenting is a flax linen woven in Ghent.

The only time I’ve heard Ells used is as a measurement (27–45", depending on the country), never as a fabric description, but Googling "long ells fabric" returns results describing it as a light woolen (possibly "peculiar to Devonshire")"

14 comments:

therru said...

Pattens (not "patterns") are called "patinor" in Swedish, BTW. They'd been in use from the Middle Ages. I guess they might have prevented the girls from dragging their long skirt hems in the muck?

therru said...

...or maybe girls' shoes were a lot flimsier than boys' shoes, so that they really needed pattens for outdoor use, even if boys didn't.

Rae Arnold said...

Scotch-cloth is another term for nettlecloth, which is linen-like, but from nettle, not flax.

Ghenting is a flax linen woven in Ghent.

The only time I’ve heard Ells used is as a measurement (27–45", depending on the country), never as a fabric description, but Googling "long ells fabric" returns results describing it as a light woolen (possibly "peculiar to Devonshire")

Isis said...

Therru: Yes, that's just my finger's doing the familiar route... :) I was thinking flimiser shoes, but long skirts could probably account for it.

Rae Arnold: Thank you! I know about nettle fabric, but I didn't knew it was used in the 18th century. I didn't thought about googling long ells fabric I just did ells fabric ad only found the measurement explanation. :)

Marion Brégier said...

I'd read the "pair of bodice" as a version of "pair of bodies", so, yes, stays (just a guess, based on sarah Lorraine's research on elizabethan corsetry).
Thank you for sharing this, it is fabulous !
I'm wondering what the "band" is ?

Amanda said...

I currently have Stays and Body Image out from the library and it talks about leather stays and childrens stays, so maybe have a look there?

therru said...

Fingers sometimes think before your brain does! :)

In the book "Underkläder" by Hammar & Rasmussen there is a photo of a child's stays in leather from 1775-1800. (I actually have a very blurry photo of it; it was in the exhibition "Underbart" at Kulturen in Lund 2005.)

The Choll said...

What a great post! I've never seen the 1712 list before!

Kendra said...

Interesting, thanks for the follow up!

Isis said...

Marion Brégier: I think so too. Well, when I was writing teh post I felt convinced that I read somewhere that band can mean a cravat or neckerchief, but now I can't locate my source for that idea. It do seems quite likely, though as they were essential parts of the 18th century wardrobe.

Amanda: Thank you for the tip- I haven't read that one. :)

Isis said...

Therru: I had hoped that Kulturen would have a picture of it online, but if so I haven't found it.

The Choll: I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Isis said...

Kendra: My pleasure! It's an interesting subject. :)

jeansberg said...

"The width of a horizontal loom governed the size of fabric which was available. The most common measurements for cloth were the yard (the length of an outstretched arm), the nail (two and a quarter inches wide) and the ell.

Of these, the ell was the most common length used for the measurement of cloth. In England, this distance was usually 45 inches if the cloth is English. If it is Flemish, an ell measured 27 inches. Although these were fairly standard measurements for regular production, it was possible to produce woven fabric of larger sizes for special commissions." I had seen this before and found it for you. http://rosaliegilbert.com/fabricsandsewing.html

Isis said...

jeansberg: Thank you! Very interesting!

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