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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
What is England's national costume?

Scotland's National Dress | Wales' National Dress

Man wearing bowler hatEngland, unlike Wales and Scotland, has no official national dress.

Some people think men in England wear suits and bowler hats, but it is very unusual these days to see anyone wearing a bowler hat.

(The man in the photo was taking part in a birthday parade for one of the Queen's Guard regiments.)

An English National Costume group are trying to make England's national dress be the clothes worn by the Anglo Saxons during the 7th century. The Anglo-Saxons were warrior-farmers and came from north-western Europe. They began to invade Britain during 450 A.D.

A far better choice for an English national dress would be to choose from our many customs and traditions we have in England. There are a wide variety of costumes from the spectacular ceremonies associated with monarchy to the traditional costumes worn by morris dancers and others at English country fairs.

A Pearly Queen
Morris Dancer
Pearly Kings and Queens

The Pearly Kings were the leaders of the Victorian street sellers. They got their name because they wore 'pearl' buttons on their hats as a sign of authority. Later they began to wear clothes covered all over in buttons.
The title of Pearly King is passsed down in the family, and there are Pearly Queens, Princes and Princesses too. They now spend their free time collecting for charity.

Royal Guards

Queen's Guard
Foot Guard

Chelsea Pensioner

Yeomen of the Guard

Beefeaters and Yeomen of the Guard are very important because they look after our queen and her jewels. Some people say this is the nearest thing to our national costume.

Interesting Facts

Lots of the ordinary clothes we wear today have a long tradition. The very cold winters in the Crimea in the war of 1853-56 gave us the names of the cardigan and the balaclava. Lord Cardigan led the Light Brigade at the Battle of the Balaclava (1854) A "cardigan" is now a warm woollen short coat with buttons, and a "balaclava" is a woollen hat.

Another British soldier, Wellington, gave his name to a pair of boots. The have a shorter name today - " Wellies "

Other British National Costumes

What is the national dress of Scotland?

Man wearing a kilt


In Scotland the national dress is a kilt.

The kilt is worn around the waist.




What is the national costume of Wales?

The national costume of Wales is a long skirt, worn with a petticoat and topped with a shawl.

Further Research

British Culture- Clothes


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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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