Last night, I found an email from the young son of a German friend, who is doing a project on school uniforms, and he asked me how I felt as an English boy who he suspected as having been forced to wear a uniform at school, so I sent him the note below, along with the two pictures.
Hello again Luca,
I will tell you my feelings about the school uniform that I had to wear, but it was a long time ago - between about 1958 and 1968.
I went to what was known as a ‘Secondary Modern’ school, and the uniform for that was dark trousers, dark ‘blazer’ jacket, a school ‘cap’ type hat and a neck-tie with the school colours on it, in stripes. On the jacket of the blazer was a badge of the Surrey coat-of arms, which was the leaves and nuts of an oak-tree.
All of these had to be bought and payed for by our parents, and because my parents were quite poor, I used to be given my older brother’s uniform trousers, after he had finished with them. This meant that the trousers were always too small for me, even though he was bigger than me. I was very tall (almost 2 metres), so to have trousers which were about 30 mm too short was very bad for a boy of 14 - especially when the girls laughed at me!
I hated the uniform, and the cloth that the trousers was made from was a type of plastic - like Nylon, which made it even worse.
When I reached about 13, I refused to wear the school cap, as this seemed to be designed for little boys, so I went out and bought myself a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ hat and wore it to school. All the girls (and the teachers) laughed at me even more, so I stopped wearing any hat at all.
After school, the first thing that all the boys did was to take off their tie - but we were only allowed to do this when we had left the school gates.
Below is a picture of the sort of hat that I wore (once!) to school, and also a picture of the uniform for ‘Eton’ the famous school at Windsor, where the Queen’s castle is. They still wear this uniform today, but you have to be very rich to go to Eton - our Prime Minister went there!
I hope this helps, but if you need any more, please ask.