Scottish Boys' Garments: Footwear


Figure 1.--This postcard back portrait shows an unidentified brother and sister in what looks like summerwear. The girl wears white dress with a hairband, white abnle socks, and strap dhoes. Her younger brother wears a basic shirt, school tie, short pants, knee socks and canvas shoes, different looking than sneakers. The card is undated, but we would guess it was taken in the 1920s. The portrait was taken in Largs, a town along the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, near Glasgow. The studio backdrop even provides a view of the town.

Scottish footwear as best we can tell basically the same as English footwear. The only major difference we can see is economic and climate . Scotland was not as affluent as England as thus we see more barefoot children in Scotland during the 19th and early-20th century. And this was a problenm because Scotlsnd is the nost northerly part of Britain. The weather here iscooler than in England. Thus it is more important for the children to have shoes, especially durng the fall and winter. We notice both street children and children at school who are barefoot. A good example is the Queen Mary Street Public School in 1916. A French reader writes, "Quite strange to see barefoot children. That could shock people here in France. I think it is a cultural question. Even in the poor villages in France, the children in this case were wearing clogs." HBC is unsure how common clogs were in Scotland. We do not see them in the photographic record, but our Scottish archive is still limited. As in England, we mostly see boys wear shoes. The styles as far as we can tell were indistinguishable. We do not have much information on he 19th century, but by the turn-of the 20th century, high-top shoes were ery common, altgough not nearly universal as in America. We see some low-cut shoes which by he 1920s were beginning tonbecome sandard. Scottish boys like English boys beginning in the 1920s wore closed-toe sandals, both for school and for play. We see them being commonly worn at school. both the "T"-strap style and the double-strap style. They do not seem as common as in Englnd to the south, but e do see them. The popularity began to decline in the 1960s after sneakers began to become increasingly popular. Sandals were worn both with and without socks. The most popular style was the standard "T" bar strap. We also see plimsols and even more importantly trainers n the late-20th century. Scotland with all of its rain creates ideal conditions for the Wellington boot or 'wellies' as they are affectionately known in England and Scotland. We note quite a few images of barefoot Scottish children in the early 20th century. These children are working-class children.

Barefeet

Scottish footwear as best we can tell basically the same as English footwear. The only major difference we can see is economic and climate . Scotland was not as affluent as England as thus we see more barefoot children in Scotland during the 19th and early-20th century. And this was a problenm because Scotlsnd is the nost northerly part of Britain. The weather here iscooler than in England. Thus it is more important for the children to have shoes, especially durng the fall and winter. We notice both street children and children at school who are barefoot. A good example is the Queen Mary Street Public School in 1916. A French reader writes, "Quite strange to see barefoot children. That could shock people here in France. I think it is a cultural question. Even in the poor villages in France, the children in this case were wearing clogs." HBC is unsure how common clogs were in Scotland. We do not see them in the photographic record, but our Scottish archive is still limited.

Shoes

As in England, we mostly see boys wearing leather shoes. The brogue is a style associated with Irelans and Scotland, but it is not a style boys wore. The styles for boys shoes in Scotland and England as far as we can tell were indistinguishable. We do not have much information on the 19th century, but by the turn-of the 20th century, high-top shoes were ery common, altgough not nearly universal as in America. We see some low-cut shoes which by he 1920s were beginning to become sandard.

Sandals

Scottish boys like English boys beginning in the 1920s wore closed-toe sandals, both for school and for play. We see them being commonly worn at school. both the "T"-strap style and the double-strap style. They do not seem as common as in Englnd to the south, but e do see them. The popularity began to decline in the 1960s after sneakers began to become increasingly popular. Sandals were worn both with and without socks. The most popular style was the standard "T" bar strap.

Sneakers

Sneakers are another major footwear type. As in England, we also see plimsols in Scotland. Plimsols are the only snears we see until the 1960s. And we onlyb see low-cut styles. Working-class boys might only have plimsols to wear. Boys from more ffluent families might have plimsols for summerwear or for sporting activitties like the boy here (figure 1). The plimsols the bioy here is earing looklike a little more expensive type thn we commonly see being worn. And even more importantly trainers in the late-20th century.

Wellies

Scotland with all of its rain makes the Wellington boot or 'wellies' as they are affectionately known in England and Scotland a very practical form of footwear. We note quite a few images of barefoot Scottish children in the early 20th century. These children are working-class children.







HBC







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Created: 6:40 PM 12/7/2016
Last updated: 9:37 PM 7/8/2018