Scottish boys clothes are of course associated with the kilt. We are not sure, however, how extensively boys wore kilts in Scotland before Queen Victoria and to what extent ordinary boys wore them during the Victorian period. The Royal children are extensively photographed in them, but we know little about ordinary Scottish boys. Actually Scottish boys dressed very similarly to English boys. Historically there have been major differences between Scottish Highlnders and the Lowlanders who were significantly influenced by the neighboring English and before them the Britins and Romans. These differences gradually declined, especially after the disastrous battle of Culloden in 1746. It is the Highland kilt of course that we commonly associate with Scottish boys' wear. Highland boys, like their fathers, did once wear kilts Most Scottish boys, however, today do not own kilts and those that do seldom wear them. From the time that dedicated boys' styles began to appear in the late-18th century, Scottish boys' and other clothing have been heavily influenced by English fashion trends. With the exception of the kilt, Scottish boys have in the 19th and 20th century dressed much as English boys. There is in the 21st century virtually no difference between English and Scottish boys clothing.
Scotland today is a part of the United Kingdom along with England, Wales, and Ulster. Scotland was conquered by English armies several times in a long series of bloody wars, but the desire for an independent country was never totally irradicated as
was the case in Wales. Even after crushing defeats Scottish armies arose to maintain an indepencent monarchy. Scotland united with England by the Union of the
Crowns in 1603 where the Scottish King became King James I of England also. This was followed by the Act of Union and the union of the parliaments in 1707
which created the United Kingdom. King James moved to London. The British flag became the Union Jack flag, a fusion of the English and Scottish flags. The
history of Scotland's role in the U.K. is still unfolding. The Scottish Parliament was reformed in 2000 after a referendum to support it passed in 1999. And the
English finally returned the Stone of Scoon.
The British isles has over time time been populated by many different people. It has never until modern times been populated by by a single united people. Many different people have inhabited the northern part of Britain. The Romans called the northern area Caladonia and after failing to subdue the fierce norther tribes built Hadrians Wall to keep them out of their prosperous new province. Scotland in the modrn sence did not emerge until the Roman departure from Britain. It was an almallgum of native Picrs, Irish, Cektic Britons fleeing north from the Anglo-Saxon invaders, and others. Much of the rest of Scottish history is the struggle to remain independent from the more powerful English kingdom to the south. The Anglo -Saxons were unable to get a foothold north of Northumbria. This changed with the Advent of the Normans. Edward I conquered Wales and seem posed to quickly conquer Scotland. William Wallace made it a much more difficult proposition. Robert the Bruce firmly established Scottish indepedence. Scotland was swept by the Reformation. Scotland was joined in a personal union in the person of King James I. Scotland played a major role in launching the English Civil War. The personal union in the person of the monarchy was followed by the Act of Unionn under Queen Anne. Scotland played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. The final Highland effort to break with England was the Jacobin rising of 1745 led by Bobby Prince Charlry--the Stuart pretender. This led to the Higland enclosures and immigration, especially to America. While the Scotts failed to break away from England, the backwoods Scott-Irish played a major role in the American success during the Revolutionary War.
The economic history of Scotland begins with the arrival of neolithic humans after the last Ice Age (about 8,500 BC). Some idea can be pieced together from th the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age arifacts found by archeologists. Written accounts begin with the arrival of the Roman Empire (1st century AD). It is at this time modern Scotland began to form, the Romans called it Caledonia. Economic life began to differ between the Roman controlled areas and the area to the north beyond Roman control. Accounts are very limited. The traditional view is that the Picts and other northern tribes were primitive and unwilling or unable to adopt the modern technology brought by the Romans. Some historians argue that the ancient Scotts were more adaptable and advanced than has been thought. One fact is increasingly clear, sea trade was very important to the Scottish economy. This became kncreasingly important as naval technology improved. England which with the arrival of the Normans became increasingly hostile, blocked land links with REurope. But this is less significant than it may seem. Land transport into modern times was promitive. Trade was conducted by sea. An eastern Scotland faces the Norh sea which provided access to Sandanavia and more importantly the Baltic and the sctive Hanseatic League traders as well as the Low Countries which became the driving force of the late-Medevial economy. To the west, there was access to Ireland and France. After interminable dwstructive wars with England, the Act of Union joined the two countries (1707). Enormous changes followed. It led go the dereadful Higland Clearances and supression of the Clans. A significant outward migration followed.
This provuded access to the developing English empire as well as participation in the Industrial Revolution. As a result, of the industrial development and Scottish Enlightenment, formerly agricultural Scotland became one of the commercial, intellectual and industrial powerhouses of Europe. The driving force here was capitalism and it was a Scott, Adam Smith that provided the first clear explanation of capitalism, ironically in the same year the American Recolution broke out (1776). [Smoth] The reliance on smokehouse industries and the swing to sovialism led to an economic decline following World War II. This has significantly affected both Scotland and northern England. Income levels declined substantially below that of southern England. Scotland in recent years beginning with the Thatcher years has begun to develop a more modern economy leading to a cultural and economic renaissance. Important secgtirs emerging have been financial services sector resulting in large measure from North Sea oil and gas development. Adding to the economic changes has been a devolved parliament. The economic future of Scotland is an open question. Many Scotts like other Europeans have been influenced by an almost religious devotion to socialism. Britain as a whole is now having to adjust to consequences of Socialist Kenysian economics. It is unclear wht the futre holds.
Scottish boys clothing has perhaps changed more over the years than boys clothing in most countries. Conventions for the kilt in particular have changed. Once mostly worn by poor rural boys, today the kilt is most worn by boys from afluent families--mostly when dressing up. Fashions over time have become increasingly similar to English fashions. Boys clothing in the Lowlands have been for centuries influenced by English clothing trends. In the 18th century English fashions began to also affect the Highlands. By the 19th century there was less and less difference betwen th way English andScottish boys dresed. While thekilt was more common in Sotland, in the 20th century it became worn to a much lesser extent. Many Most Scottish boys today do not own a kilt whch is now worn mostly on special occassions. There are today vurtually no differences between the clothes worn by Scottish and English boys.
Scottish boys participate in the same range of activities as do boys in other countries. Here there is a graet similarity with England. Scottish boys will dress simalrly with Englis boys for choir, church, dance, holiday celebrations, music, play, school, Scouts, sport, and a host of other activities. One difference would be the kilts that Scottish boys wear for Highland dancing at either Highland gatherings or other events. Some cottish boys also used to wear kilts for church, but this is now less common except for boys at private schools. Scottish Cubs tend to dress like English Cubs, bit some Scottish Scouts wear kilts when dressing up for special occassions.
Scottish boys now dress rather much like boys in England and the rest of the United Kingdom. The Highland kilt is the garment most associated with Scotland. The Scottish kilt as a child's garment is a relatively recent phenomenon. The modern kilt, in fact, dates from only from the 18th century. Highland boys once dressed quite differently commonly wearing kilts. Lowland boys began to adopted English garments much earlier than Highland boys. Today few Scottish boys wear kilts. Boys from affluent families often have kilts and wear them for church or other special occasions. The Scottish caps associated with the kilt were also worn, but we think various styles of flat vaps may have been more common. Another garment widely worn in Scotland, because of the climate, is the sweater. Scottish boys like English boys began wearing short trousers in the early 20th centurt. They were commonly worn by Scottish boys of all ages through the 1950s. Again because of the changeable climate the amoack was another popuar an utilitarian garment.
We notice several styles affecting Scottish fasions. the best know of course are the the ethnic fols syu;les primrily the kilt and other items making up Highland outfits. Another style is parents dressing their children dressing their children im identical or similar outfits. Our Scottish archive is not large emough to tell us how common this was, but we do notice some examples. An example is an unidentical Aberseen family with all the children wearing dresses.
We do not know a great deal about girls' clothing in Scotland. We do know that until after the mid-20th century Scottish girls like girls in other countries mostly wore dresses. as far as we know styles were identical to those worn in England. There were of course plaid dresses and skirts. Presumably they were more common in Scotland thsn Englasnd, but the photographic record does not show that either was particularly common. There does not seem to be anything comparble to boys Highland kilt outfits. This was one reason tht Aboyne outfits were created. There are two different styles, but this is a fairly modern creation and only worn for dance competitions. Unlike the similar dirdl fashion in Germany, it is not a style commonly worn even for folk ce;ebrations. We only see it bing worn by Higland dancers. We have begun to collect information on girls dresses, but at this time see no real difference between England and Scotland.
Clothing and textiles used to account for a mich more substantial share of economic activity than is the case today. Thus textiles have played an important historical role. A very useful website provides detailed information on Scottish textiles. The site has information and images on the history and development over the years of Scotland's textile industry. Information ranges from embroidery, textile art works, textile machinery, tweeds and tartans, haute couture garments, trade union banners to records and industry business records. Access is by a database search for key words or subjects.The website describes itself, "This groundbreaking pilot project aims to provide a one-stop shop for anyone wanting information about the richness and diversity of Scottish Textile heritage collections. Users will be able to browse through a database of some 4,000 descriptions of archive and museum collections and objects with supporting images. Led by Heriot-Watt University and funded by a Scottish Museums Council Strategic Change Award, the project is surveying and documenting important collections of material relating to Scottish textile heritage within the 6 partner museums and archives as well as providing links to significant collections held elsewhere in Scotland and the UK."
The Industrial Revolution began in England during the mid-18th century. Most of the early developments centered in the textile industry, primarily cotton textiles. The developments gradually spread to other countries, the first was Scotland. This was of coursr Scotland and England were joined in tghe United Kingdom. The common language and the fact that the English midlands where the Industrial Revolution began were relatively close to Scotland. The early Industrial Revolution centering on the textile industry centered on the Clyde Valley.
The two principal regions of Scotland are the Highlands and Lowlands. The Highlands are the more traditional norther area of Scotland. The Highland tribes were the center of resistance to English domination. The Lowlands is the southern area. The Lowlands became heavily Anglicized and often cooperated with the English in the pacifuication of the Highlands. This regional split was reflected in the culture of the two areas. English became widely spoken in the Lowlands before thevHighlands and Lowlanders adopted English fashions while Highlanders continued to war traditional garments like the kilt. The offshore islands are another region of Scotland. In modern times there has been a rivalry between Glasgow and Eduinburgh. Edinburgh and Glasgow have recently been trying to patch over their traditional rivalries so that they can co-operate in marketing both cities - and Scotland in general. But quite what Edinburgh will make of a new masterplan by Glasgow City Council to improve the city's image and presence in Europe by promoting Glasgow as "Scotland's international capital" is anyone's guess. A City Council spokesman pointed out that Glasgow is Scotland's largest city (factually correct) and is its largest provider of jobs and production. It also provides service, retail, educational, cultural, leisure and entertainment facilities on a national scale. He went on to say that it is no idle boast to claim Glasgow is Scotland's international capital. Hopefully, Edinburgh will haughtily disdain such upstart comments, safe in the knowledge that it has been Scotland's capital city and seat of government for centuries.
We have very limited information on hair styling trends in Scotland as our Scottish archive is still fairly limited. Our basic assessment at this time is that Scottish boys' hair styles were essentially the same as styles in England to the south. We see the same styles we note in England in our Scottish archive. We do not know if the popularity or time line varied to any degree. We hope to refine our assessment as more informtion becomes available on Scotland. Hopefully our Scottish readers will provide us some insights here.
There is a historic tradition of face painting in Scotland. The American film "Braveheart" helped spawn the modern reappearance of face painting in Scotland. It does go back to the early Scot, but it would be more decorative and only put on for battle and so not for boys. The blue and white come from the Scottish flag. People have it done for football matches and unlike the original Scottish face pinting, it is especially popular with boys.
HBC has received from readers or noted a few indivisual accounts about growing up in Scotland and boyhood clothing. We also have old photographic images of Scottish boys phs. The accounts run the gammit from growing up on a council estate to experiences on a country estate. Readers from both state and private schools have contributed accounts. We hope to add more such accounts to provide a fuller picture of Scottish boys clothing. These personal accounts have provided, for example, some insights on wearing kilts in Scotland. It once was quite common, but buy the 1960s had declined significantly. We are unsure, however, with the revival od Scottish natioanlism to what extent the kilt is worn today. Hopefully our Scottish readers will provide some insights.
We have just begun to build a page on Scottish families. We do not yet have much information. These family sections are helpful because they not only illustrate boys clothing, but the clothing worn by other members of the family, girls and adults. And since various members of the family are in these portraits, they are time capsules showing what types of clothing was worn at any given time.
Scotland has experienced significant outgoing migration. Not as significant as Ireland, but still substantial. The first wave was voluntary, Lowlanders who formed the bulk of the colonists in the Protestant Plantations of Ulsrer. A century later, alienated by the Crown and lanlords, these people became the Scotts-Irish in America. The substantial emigration began with the Highland Clearances after Culloden (1746). The Higlanders were burned and otherwise forced off their land and the clans supressed. This was a forced migration, desperte people deprived of their livlihood. The first wave were largely Gaelic-speaking Higlanders from Western Scotland and the Islands, many of whom were still Catholic. They were followed by a more diverse group of mostly Presbeterians, including many Lowlanders in much larger numbers. There are now Scottish communitie all over the world, primarily America and British Empire countries. We are preparing Scotting immigration pages on America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Scotland was not involved in the early research on photography. After the announcements by Daguerre in France and Talbot in England (1839), Scotts immediately began to take an interest. James Howie held a daguerreotype exhibition on Princes Street (1839). Pioneering work was done by Hill and Adamson (early-1840s). David Octavius was a painter working on a large commemorative work on the people involved in forming the Free Church of Scotland (1843). He used photography to help capture images of the church elders that he could then paint. .Shortly after the dawn of photography, the unlikely partnership between the respected painter Hill worked with a young engineer, Robert Adamson and together they produced some of the earliest photographic images of Scotland. They concentrated on the calotype process and produced several thousand imahes at their studio at Rock House, As in England, Daugerreotypes are relatively rate, but in the 1860s we begin to see large numbers of CDVs. A rare early female photographer was Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79). Her photiography began in middle age when her daughter gave her a camera. She photographed celebrities as well as producing experimental images with Arthurian and other legendary themes.
There is a great deal of fashion information in literature. As it is literature and not actual history, the comments on clothing have to be taken with caution. Authors vary as to how accurately they write about fashion and other historical cultural matters used to flesh out their plots and characters. Of course the most reliable fashion references are those in contemprary works. There are various types of literature of interest to HBC. We note
useful information in both novels and children literature. Of special interest to HBC is the large number of boy characters in British literature. Of course one helpful aspect of many books are the often fascinating literature.
Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations (1776).
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing kilt pages:
[Main kilt page]
[Kilt suits] [Scottish kilts] [Scottish school uniform] [Highland dance] [Pipeband]
[Irish kilts] [Irish boys clothing] [Irish step dancing]