Mid-Victorian Barbering

For general discussions on the British Army of the Victorian era or specific regiments.

Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Judy O'Grady » 28 Aug 2015 05:39

I am amazed by all the fascinating responses to my query about haircuts a few weeks back. Thank you to all who have taken the time to share photos, stories, and suggested reading. VWF members have such a wealth of knowedge and are so generous in sharing it.
All the best,
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby tabony » 28 Aug 2015 18:12

GrantRCanada wrote:Again, not India .... but two contemporary photographs exist showing men having their hair cut during the 1885 North-West Rebellion in Canada. Aside from the North-West Mounted Police and some local Provisional levies, the troops involved in this campaign were all mobilized Militia from Eastern Canada, some of them being "full-time" soldiers in Canada's very small "Permanent Militia" force, however.

This first photograph is one of many taken during the campaign by Captain James Peters of 'A' Battery, Regiment of Canadian Artillery (part of the Permanent Militia), who was a keen photographer. (A portion of another thread here on VWF deals with Capt. Peters - http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=150&start=45 ....)

Peters had a penchant for assigning somewhat tongue-in-cheek captions to his photographs, this one having been labelled "Scalping" -
Image

Detail .... it seems evident from the broad dark stripe on the trousers and the lack of white piping on the tunics that these are artillerymen from Peters' own unit -
Image

The other photograph is one of a series taken during the campaign by a professional photographer Oliver B Buell ("Prof. Buell") of Montreal (formerly New York) -
Image

Detail .... I am unsure why this officer is wearing his cap during the haircut: perhaps it is merely a "trim" -
Image

What's under your hat's your own! :)

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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Frogsmile » 28 Aug 2015 19:08

What ho Martin! I was just going to say exactly the same thing when I saw your post. It is certainly a very old Army saying that what's under your hat is your own and everything outside is the Queen's. I've lost track of the number of times that was said in my earshot. The old one's are always the best ;-)
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby GaryD » 28 Aug 2015 19:28

perhaps he is just getting a shave?
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Frogsmile » 28 Aug 2015 21:13

GaryD wrote:perhaps he is just getting a shave?


Yes, I think that you are probably right Gary, the positioning of the white towel is classic for that purpose.
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby GrantRCanada » 29 Aug 2015 03:17

Never thought of that .... perhaps because the barber's hands are positioned so far up .... but that would certainly explain it! :roll:
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby jf42 » 06 Sep 2015 12:15

HLI Chronicle October 1912 (p.293)



FIFTY YEARS AGO

(Extract from the Army and Navy Gazette February 8, 1862)

71st Highlanders- ON the 18th the 71st were paraded for inspection, at the conclusion of which Sir Hugh Rose made them a highly complimentary speech, telling them, in allusion to the fact of the men being clean shaved, that he was glad to see that they kept up the old custom of the Regiment by not wearing either beard or whiskers, which was an old characteristic of the corps…
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby susancammas » 05 Mar 2016 11:19

Good morning

I have just come across this post and have the following to offer, which might be of interest:

From the Queen’s Regulations 1868


358. The following directions in regard to the growth of hair are to be strictly observed by all ranks. The hair is to be neatly cut, and kept short. Moustaches are to be worn, and the chin is to be shaved (except by pioneers, who will wear beards also). Whiskers, when worn, are to be of moderate length. On active service in the field beards may, however, be worn at the discretion of the General Officer commanding.

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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby jf42 » 05 Mar 2016 14:03

Susan, that is very interesting. I wonder if that was the first apperance of such stipulations in regulations or whether they had already appaered in earlier editions.

Funnily enough I was just about post a question regarding bearded pioneers, which appears not to have been raised on VWF. Today we see the Pioneer Sergeant of many infantry regiments ('many' being a relative term in the post 2006-Infantry) who sports a full set of whiskers, a tradition which has produced much nonsense by way of explanation. I wonder how early in the period we find bearded pioneers and, dare I ask, what credible* explanations have been recorded to explain the custom.

I shall cross post to start a new thread.
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Frogsmile » 02 Nov 2016 13:35

jf42 wrote:Susan, that is very interesting. I wonder if that was the first apperance of such stipulations in regulations or whether they had already appaered in earlier editions.

Funnily enough I was just about post a question regarding bearded pioneers, which appears not to have been raised on VWF. Today we see the Pioneer Sergeant of many infantry regiments ('many' being a relative term in the post 2006-Infantry) who sports a full set of whiskers, a tradition which has produced much nonsense by way of explanation. I wonder how early in the period we find bearded pioneers and, dare I ask, what credible* explanations have been recorded to explain the custom.

I shall cross post to start a new thread.


I believe it appeared in QR's before 1868 as it was introduced quite early on in Queen Victoria's reign as her express wish. I suspect it may have had something to do with the fact that Albert favoured facial hair, as did most Germans at that time.
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby jf42 » 02 Nov 2016 23:13

It is interesting, Frogsmile; we have reference to orders regulating the practice of wearing facial hair in the 1830s - promulgated by the hyperactive William 'Sailor BIlly' IV ( see- Peter's post here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=11526) in order to check within the army the 'un-English' fashion that grew up in the aftermath of the Napoleonic war- the result, I suppose, of the French in particular having embraced a style originating with Germans and nations to the east; Poles, Hungarians, and Russians (etc). By the 1830s it seems the practice of wearing moustachios was not merely a cavary practice.

Then, 22 years later we have the relaxing of regulations relating to facial hair with regard to the Black Sea expeditionary force in 1854, which was a prelude to the heavily beared veterans of the Crimea and Indian Mutiny- all of which related to the practicalities of campaigning, and may have developed into a general fashion directly relating to the enhanced reputation of British soldiery in the aftermath of those campaigns.

It seems we have yet to establish, in our discussions on VWF, at what point between, say, 1857 and 1868 - when the order posted by Susan was published stating that 'moustaches will be worn', it was first ordered that moustaches were to be obligatory and the chin once again would be shaved. One factor to consider might be the bearded soldiers of the British forces in New Zealand. These were evidently justified in part by campaign convenience as well as reflecting the fashion started in the mid- 1850s. Were the beards seen in NZ during the mid-1860s worn in contravention of regulations but winked temporarily by lenient Major generals and CO'ss? ( as would be the case in many mid- to late Victorian campaigns). Or does the 1868 order referred to above represent the end of official broad-mindedness with regards to facial hair and the establishment of the military 'look' which would predominate in the second half of the C19th and first half of the C20th ?

The reference to Pioneers' beards is also interesting. This was a military fashion apparently borrowed from the French Army in the late C18th century. The chin is to be shaved (except by pioneers, who will wear beards also) suggests that by 1868 it was a required practice.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7332&p=31678&hilit=moustache#p31678
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Nov 2016 12:29

jf42 wrote:It is interesting, Frogsmile; we have reference to orders regulating the practice of wearing facial hair in the 1830s - promulgated by the hyperactive William 'Sailor BIlly' IV ( see- Peter's post here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=11526) in order to check within the army the 'un-English' fashion that grew up in the aftermath of the Napoleonic war- the result, I suppose, of the French in particular having embraced a style originating with Germans and nations to the east; Poles, Hungarians, and Russians (etc). By the 1830s it seems the practice of wearing moustachios was not merely a cavary practice.

Then, 22 years later we have the relaxing of regulations relating to facial hair with regard to the Black Sea expeditionary force in 1854, which was a prelude to the heavily beared veterans of the Crimea and Indian Mutiny- all of which related to the practicalities of campaigning, and may have developed into a general fashion directly relating to the enhanced reputation of British soldiery in the aftermath of those campaigns.

It seems we have yet to establish, in our discussions on VWF, at what point between, say, 1857 and 1868 - when the order posted by Susan was published stating that 'moustaches will be worn', it was first ordered that moustaches were to be obligatory and the chin once again would be shaved. One factor to consider might be the bearded soldiers of the British forces in New Zealand. These were evidently justified in part by campaign convenience as well as reflecting the fashion started in the mid- 1850s. Were the beards seen in NZ during the mid-1860s worn in contravention of regulations but winked temporarily by lenient Major generals and CO'ss? ( as would be the case in many mid- to late Victorian campaigns). Or does the 1868 order referred to above represent the end of official broad-mindedness with regards to facial hair and the establishment of the military 'look' which would predominate in the second half of the C19th and first half of the C20th ?

The reference to Pioneers' beards is also interesting. This was a military fashion apparently borrowed from the French Army in the late C18th century. The chin is to be shaved (except by pioneers, who will wear beards also) suggests that by 1868 it was a required practice.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7332&p=31678&hilit=moustache#p31678


I note all that you say and am familiar with some of it JF. My strong suspicion (gut feeling) is that Victoria made the change relatively soon after her succession and long before the Crimean war. To prove the matter, one way or another, we need a copy of Queen's Regulations for the Army from around 1840.
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Peter » 04 Nov 2016 03:16

Frogsmile,

"we need a copy of Queen's Regulations for the Army from around 1840" .....

I'll see you:

The Queen's regulations and orders for the army, 1844.
http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002028573; http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015073454913.

and raise you three questions.

I've come across references to

Queen's regulations & Orders for the Army, 1859

and

King's regulations & Orders for the Army, 1837; &

General regulations and orders for the Army, 1822 .... which I presume are the 1822 "KRs".

i) Were there any QRs between 1844 and 1859?

ii) Were there any KRs between 1822 and 1844 ..... besides 1837?

iii) Does anyone have copies / access to any of these KRs / QRs between 1822 and 1859?

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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Nov 2016 11:11

Thank you Peter. Page 129, Paragraph 58, reads as follows with no mention of moustaches:

"The Hair of the Troops is, constantly and habitually, to be cut short, both at the top and sides of the head, according to the Orders of the Sovereign, and the fashion of the day is not to be permitted to influence the practice of the Army in a particular which is considered alike essential to the health, the cleanliness, and the military appearance of the soldier".

It seems then that the change took place later than the 1840s and perhaps the Crimea was indeed the catalyst as JF42 has suggested.
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Re: Mid-Victorian Barbering

Postby Tony Barton » 05 Nov 2016 11:38

I have no specialist knowledge of the regulations on this fascinating topic, beyond observing that the " fashion of the day "must have exerted a great deal of pressure.
In civil fashion, the 1830s and 1840s display whiskers, but not moustaches : they are still a bit " foreign", exotic and perhaps confined to the French/Hussar tendency. The military reflect this , as a look at Daniel Cunliffe's paintings confirms.
The 1850s are a different matter, and sidewhiskers start their tendency to run riot across the upper lip and under the chin , which reaches its apogee in the 1860s with the heavily bearded look: Just look at any collection of US Civil War generals . The 1860s and 1870s show all styles, often with quite long hair as well .
Hair shortens markedly after the Prussian victory of 1871, then whiskers start to recede to the moustache alone by the 1880s, in which decade it flourishes to its largest size,especially in the military.

Young men joining the military must have wanted to look sharp and fashionable : they always do, and I might speculate that the explosion of hair on the Crimean expedition may have been as much the result of fashion pressure from young officers as the result of the privations of campaigning.
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