Victorian square rig
Victorian square rig

The Bluejackets Rigs Victorian square rig

Victorian square rig

The iconic "sailor suit" that developed during the Victorian era

This uniform evolved into being based on what the sailors themselves wanted to wear, rather than being handed down from a committee at the Admiralty.

  • They needed something that they could repair themselves at sea.
  • It also needed to be easy to move around in when they were up in the rigging.
  • It needed to be warm, because it is always colder at sea.
  • However, it also needed to look good when they got back to shore.

All of the items that make up the square rig uniform reflect these requirements. When the Admiralty finally got around to regulating their sailor's uniform in 1859 they simply made a standard pattern for the kind of suit that the men were already wearing.

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Bell-Bottoms

loose legged trousers

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Boots

Black boots without toe caps

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Collar

Another iconic piece of a sailor's uniform, that was often touched for luck.

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Frock

the outermost garment with a wide sailor's collar

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Guernsey

A tightly knitted woollen pullover traditional to the Channel Islands

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Lanyard

A white cord lanyard used to hold the sailor's jackknife

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Red Badges

Trade and rank badges in red embroidery on a dark background

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Silk

A silk scarf worn under the collar

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Soft Cap

A sailor's cap without any stiffening

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Wool Flannel

Made from a warm wool fabric, this shirt was designed to be simple for sailors to maintain themselves. It had a square head hole trimmed with blue ribbon rather than any kind of collar and no buttons requiring the construction of fiddly button holes.

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Cap Tally

A band of material that wraps a sailor's cap showing the name of the ship of establishment that they belong to