A Cultural History of School Uniform
Subjects: British History
What's a djibbah, how long has the old school tie been around and do yellow petticoats really repel vermin? How have social and educational changes affected the appearance of schoolchildren? This book will provide answers to these questions and more, in an engaging foray into 500 years of British school uniform history from the charity schools of the sixteenth century through the Victorian public schools to the present day.
In this cross-disciplinary work, Kate Stephenson presents the first comprehensive academic study of school uniform development in Britain as well as offering an analysis of the social and institutional contexts in which this development occurred. With recent debates around the cost, necessity and religious implications of school uniform and its (re)introduction and increasingly formal appearance in many schools, this book is a timely reminder that modern ideas associated with school uniform are the result of a long history of communicating (and disguising) identity.
The history of school uniforms in Britain is inextricable from its history of gender, class and identity, as this book ably demonstrates. The wide-reaching study fills a significant gap in scholarship by exploring the ways educational institutions dressed young people, and how developments in uniforms embodied and envisaged ideas about their personhood.- Hilary Davidson, The University of Sydney
A fascinating social history of the school uniform which sheds light on many facets of British history from the seventeenth century to the present.- Jon Lawrence, Professor of Modern British History, University of Exeter
What a refreshing and fascinating narrative, charting its way through the under-researched territory of school uniforms from the earliest examples in 16thc charity schools to the modern day phenomena. Uniform is often the earliest memory of codified dress that we carry and it is a timely and absorbing exploration of this neglected topic.- Dr Kate Strasdin, Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies, Fashion and Textiles Institute, Falmouth University
Kate Stephenson is a cultural historian with diverse research interests within the fields of dress and social history. She is a Senior Editor for the Art Story and has consulted widely as a freelancer on education in heritage.