*** children's clothes for park outings chronology park outings chronology

Boys' Clothes for Outings to the Park--Chronology

Regents Park
Figure 1-- : The Regent's Park swan desires a closer acquaintanceship with the little boy,who keeps his distance with a bag of food. Thge photograph is undated, but we would guess was taken in the early 1930s. The boy wears a knit outfit with strap shoes and white socks.

With the growrg of industrial cities, and the trerrible living conditons, it was seen as necessary to ceate green areas in the cities--the origin of mzny moden urban parks. These parks became very popular for peoople of all classes. some are well know, commonly beloved parts of city life. As The parks and clothing worn for park outings has varied greatly over time. There also were differences among countries. We have begun to collect some basic information about different chronological periods, both on the parks themselves and the fashions we note being worn.

Victorian Era (1830-1901)

Urban parks did not first appear in the 19th century, but they are largely a 19th century phenomenon. There were some precents. European nobility had estates with beautifully manicured grounds. There were also village greens. Urban planners were concerned with the honrendous conditions in the expanding urban centers in Europe and America. We are not sure about the early development of urban parks in Europe. Quite a few of the European parks are very famous, such as Hyde Park, Luxembourg Gardens, Tivoli, and many others. These early parlssere not established play areas for children. that would become later. Parks began to appear in Anerica during the second half of the 19th century. The 1863 draft riots in America had a significant impact on city officials. Central Park had a major impact on American thinking. Many decided that the urban poor needed to be provided green space for outings. The general approach for developing American parks was to create parks on the outskirts of the city. Growing up in Washington, D.C., I remember Glen Echo. New Yorkers had Coney Island. Gradually cities expanded and enveloped many of these parks. Some were used for specialised purposes like zoos and museums. An important event in the daily life of nursery-bound children were daily outings to the parks which were created in important European and American cities. Many autobiographies of British, European, and American cities recall outings to Hyde and St. James Parks (London) and Central Park (New York) and a long list of smaller parks. Some of the first European zoos were attractiins built in these parks. Many property owners maintained private parks in cul de sacs in their own neighborhoods. We begin to see more an more children using the parks by the end of the century. Even though park visits were esentially play outings, the Victorian child was often outfitted in rather formal clothes for these outings. Unfortunately, the photographic record offers few insights into clothing styles for park outings for most of the 19th century. Drawings and paintings offer some insights as do memoirs of the era, but phographt inm the 19th century was mostly an indoo activity. Onky at the end of the century do we begin to see many photigraphic images. Hoop and sticks were popular in Victorian Europe and Americand the prks were safe areas for this activity. And the ponds were places where boys could put their sail boats to sea. they wre also places for water fowl which the children delighted in feeding.

Edwardian Era (1901-18)

After the turn of the century photography moved out of the studio. The new snpshot at the turn of the 20th century provides countless wonderful outdoor images, including the many urban parks that began appearing in the Victorian era. Thus we have a much fuller understanding of the parks, the facilities at the parks, how they were used, and the popular fashions. Thus for the first time we have much fuller understanding of the urban parks. We continue to see rather formal uses of the parks. People including the children still dressed up forbpark outings. But we see more children in the parks enjoying outings. The omages show rther sedate usage, the children walking with their parents or nannies. The children were still dressed up in Fauntleroy suits at the turn of the century. And sailor suits contnued to be popular even after the turn-of-the century. Tunic suits seem particularly popular througout the Edwardian era. There do not seem a lot of facilities specifically designed for the children, but they still made good use of the parks.

Inter-War Era (1918-45)

Outfitting boys for outings to the park in the years after World War I meant less formal wear than in the past. Fauntleroy suits were no longer seen and sailor suits became less common. More commfortable, less confining clothing appeared. Here we see a london boy out for an outing in Regent's Park, the London park where a mazor zoo is located.

Post-War Era (1945-to date)

Clothing after World War II continuing the informal styles that appeared after World War I. Increasingly comfort emerged as a key attribute and the child's preferences became increasingly important.


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Created: July 20, 1998
Last updated: 5:33 AM 2/20/2005