News & Events
The Brigade of Guards
Victoria and George Cross Winners
The 2017 Exhibition
In this exhibition we have displayed the uniforms worn by the 1st or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards from its beginnings in 1656 to 1980 in miniature form.
The other four regiments wore roughly the same uniforms in their time but with various regimental distinctions.
The museum is most grateful to the Mansell family for gifting these miniatures to us.
No museum in this country can display all the uniforms it has worn throughout its history, either through lack of space or they just donít exist. The uniforms worn by the Guards have been many and varied and in many cases and having the distinction of being Royal Household Guards did not followed those worn by Line Regiments.
Officers uniforms tend to survive in greater numbers than other ranks. This is because officers purchased their own uniforms and when they retired they took them with them and put them in the family lofts, they were forgotten about sometime for centuries, they were also made of a much superior quality materials or metals. Whilst other ranks were owned by the State and when they started to wear out, the jackets were turned into waistcoats etc. and when they wore out turned into rags and all the metal parts melted down and reused. This practice continued right up to the 1990s.
Much information on uniform detail has been lost in the mists of time or have just faded out of fashion with no written account of it doing so. Those that do exist can be vague, like a new button was introduced, but no detail of its design or a new jacket was authorised.
Original watercolours, oil paintings and prints of men in uniforms do exist but there are many gaps in our knowledge in what was worn. Before the days of the camera, artists such as Edward Dayes, 1790s, C Hamilton-Smith c1815, Dubois Drahonet 1830s, Simkins 1880-90s, Harry Payne 1890s, and later on Charles Stadden, Chris Collins and Alex Baker to name a few give us a glimpse into some of the uniforms worn when they were around. Many of these groups of prints can be seen in this museum
One should also remember that just because a new jacket, headdress or piece of equipment had been authorised that it took time for them to filter through the system and be handed out to the troops.
It is thought that the bearskin cap authorised in 1815 did not become evident in the whole of the 1st or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards until 1820.