It was in Mary Clarke’s period as headmistress (1914-24) that school uniform and the four Clansystem were introduced, after an unsuccessful attempt by senior school pupils regarding uniform a few years earlier.
However, it is during Miss Tweedie’s time (1924-37) that we find the best description of school uniform: vest, liberty bodice, navy bloomers (for gym!), black stockings held up with suspenders or garters, a gym slip (seniors wore skirts), white blouse with tie and square necked blouses for gym and games.
A navy melton clothcoat or gabardine (both were obligatory) was worn on top with a velour hat or a navy woollen cap in cold weather. Brown leather gloves were always worn and black laced shoes; in a slipper bag were carried strapped house shoes, gym shoes, dancing pumps and games shoes or boots. Summer saw blazers and panamas with sprigged Tobralco (a fabric which washed well) dresses, pink, blue or green; gloves had to be worn in the summer too and were always worn in dancing class; the Juniors wore pinafores. At prizegivings and concerts, white dresses were worn with silk stockings and dancing pumps.
Miss Jennings (1946-66) loved to see ‘her girls’ in their summer dresses looking like a ‘lot of sweet peas’. She introduced prefects’ dresses which were self-coloured with a white collar and pulled in at the waist with a belt.
By the seventies these dresses were in a ‘shift’ style and came in a variety of colours. In 1952 a new tie and scarf were introduced with stripes of different widths. The Shield of the Merchant Company was proposed as the school badge, in full colour on the blazer and beret, and was also to be introduced on the school tie.
At the time of the Tercentenary in 1994, to mark Scotland’s oldest girls’ school, navy skirts were replaced by the kilt designed by Kinloch Anderson this was greeted with great enthusiasm.
Do you have that striking velour hat in your attic or any uniform you would like to donate to the Guild so that there is a tangible record? Would you be happy to lend an item/s to the school for pupils’ research into school uniform? – please get in touch.
Thank you for your donations to the Guild Archives this year and for all your continuing support.
Christine Collingwood, Guild Archives.