WORKERS CLOTHING

WORK MEN

Title: People and Places
Date: [1930s)
Film-maker: Lance House

This film show men working at Ramsgate Harbour in the 1930s. The workmen on the boats wear cotton shirts, trousers and waistcoats with baker boy caps. The workman in the foreground on the boat wears overalls over the top to protect his clothing. As early as the nineteenth century, baker boy caps were worn by chimney sweeps and have become associated with the working classes.


Title: [Glimpses of Pre-war Worthing and Everyday Folk]
Date: [1938-1939)
Film-maker: Eric Sparks

The roof tiler in this clip wears a woollen jacket, loose dark trousers and calf-length boots. He wears a shirt, tie and an apron that falls past the knee. He also wears a flat cap.

A photograph at English Heritage National Monuments Record dating from 1926-1927 shows a roof tiler at work on the roof of an East Sussex house. See English Heritage (ID No. CC000566).


Title: [Glimpses of Pre-war Worthing and Everyday Folk]
Date: [1938-1939)
Film-maker: Eric Sparks

The film clip shows builders wearing different outfits. One builder wears a dark shirt, a dark sleeveless sweater with overalls over the top, boots and a tweed baker boy cap. The older man wears a white cotton shirt, tie and woollen trousers that are held up with braces. The trousers are secured with strings above the ankle to prevent dust being blown up the trouser legs.

Working men tended to wear loose-fitting clothes to enable movement, and these were made of fairly hardwearing fabrics such as wool or linen. Their clothing tended to be dark-coloured as this would not show the dirt. This is in contrast to white-collar workers who would have worn a suit with a lighter-coloured shirt.


WOMEN WORKERS

[Glimpses of Pre-War Worthing and Everyday Folk] (1938-1939)
Title: [Glimpses of Pre-war Worthing and Everyday Folk]
Date: [1938-1939)
Film-maker: Eric Sparks

The female bus conductor keeps warm in icy conditions in a dark-coloured coat, skirt, gloves and boots. She also wears a cap with a knitted hood beneath.

From 1916, women were hired to replace the male transport employees who joined the armed forces. During the First World War, the uniform was more formal. A photograph dated between 1916-1919 at the London Transport Museum (Item No. 2001/56599) shows a woman wearing a tailored jacket with pockets and piping, a skirt, boots and a round brimmed hat.

A London Transport Museum (Item No. 1998/35866) from 1941 shows a woman wearing a London bus conductor’s women’s summer uniform that has similarities to the one in the Worthing film from 1939.

After the First World War ended, women continued to work in the transport industry. With the outbreak of the Second World War, a radical shift in the uniforms takes place with trousers being introduced for women. A photograph at the London Transport Museum (Item No. (1998/66765) also dated 1941 indicates this change.