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Iain Dubh

Silk Sergeant's Lace for Royal Reg'ts

Hullo all,
Sorry for another off-topic question, but I know you guys now a lot more than just about the Rifles... so...
Pvtcannon and I have been bouncing around the question of white silk lace for Sgt's in Royal Regiments, and can find neither a good description of how it was made, nor (logically) any idea of where to purchase said lace. My take was that it was made like either woolen or metalic lace, but just made out of silk threads rather than wool or metal. The closest thing we could find over here was the lace braid used to restore Japanese swords, but Chris got a sample and it was far too thick... any ideas on that side of the pond?
Thanks,
Iain
John Waller

Lace

Iain,
       Can't help you with a source at present but I'll have a look-see.

What refs do you have for the use of silk lace for Sgts in Royal Regts?

I only ask as I want to see the look on our Sgts face if I can tell him the white worsted lace on his new coat needs replacing!

Cheers

John
privatecannon

"Brig. General Wynyard most respectfully informs HRH the Duke of Kent [Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot], that the Com'd in Chief has no objection to the Clothing of the Serjeants of the Royals being laced with Silk, agreeable to the HRH's desire.


 H Guards
   23rd May, 1805"



This order is obviously for the Royal Regiment (later the Royal Scots).  I believe other Regiments followed suit (or had already done this) individually, rather than it being an army order.


Chris McKay
Obadiah

John your an evil man. LOL. Spare a thought for the poor tailor stitching the lace on in the first place. Though I think he'll be all right unless another point is proven, which I'll bring up later. Still you've got to giggle haven't you?

Hi Iain, I'll ask the chap who we get our lace and braid from if he can help. I can only see one reference of the 42nd having silk rather than worsted lace and tht's in the 1802 regs {and we know how Inaccurate they are}. So was this actually adopted?

This does raise another point about Serjeant lace or braid. Whilst arguing the toss with the 33rd over their lace, Radford made a point about serjeants having 3/8" wide lace rather than 1/2". It would be great to find out where this has come from. I've attached an image from the SP collection of a 94th jacket with plain white thinner lace.


Dave
privatecannon

Dave,
 I did speak to Wydean some years ago about this, and they told me they only worked with rayon, not silk.  I don't know if that's who you were going to speak with, though.

 Regarding lace width, though I can't find the reference right now, I'm sure the Regimental History of the Royal Scots indicates that the lace of Serjeants could have been, maybe, possibly narrower than other ranks.  He doesn't have a source, naturally, but if it is a myth, it dates back at least as far as 1915 when that book was published.  I'll keep looking for his exact words.


Chris McKay
Obadiah

Hi Chris, I've spoken to my chap and he'll look into it.

Yes it would be great to clear the width myth up once and for all. I'm pretty sure it was Radford who told me about it, so hopefully he will pitch in.

Dave
Neibelungen

If I recall  I think  there's a vague mention  in  Strachan that notes  one  unit using 3/8" lace,  though this  is an  earlier period than here, and a couple  of extant militia uniforms  having narrow lace (Lancashire militia springs to mind) . i recall  reading  delivery notes  for  lace supplied to Canada which notes white lace alongside worsted.  I don't think Pearce gives any notes  or examples but  it might be worth checking as he losts sergeants  specifically with  differences  in some regiments compared to  O/R quantities.

As to  the weave of the lace  it can probably be  one  of three different types.  Petersham (grosgrain), twill or herringbone,  with the former two most likely to be the more common.  It's unlikely to be a rolled (fused and glued) lace as  it  simply wouldn't have the wear and wouldn't survive getting wet for long.
privatecannon

I have a selection of Pearce's pages photographed (not all, but many).  A number of them say something about Serjeant's coats, but that thing is 'Serg'ts coat same as Private' in every case.  It's interesting that he wrote that so often, as you would think that would be the default.
Anyway, no mention that I can see of lace differences.  Also, the first page in Pearse has all the Regiments in their post-1838 configurations with just white worsted lace.  It appears to be the standard size, but that doesn't really mean anything.

Chris McKay
Neibelungen

There  is certainly enough  mention in Strachan  (up  to 1798) to  clearly  indicate they differentiate  O/R and sergeant's lace as  being seperate and different.

So in that respect  silk lace for  Royal  regiments may not be  implausable,  though  I would suspect by 1812 and the new uniform it would have reverted  to  white worsted as an economy,  given there's little mention of  it or changes  in subsequent  dress regs.
privatecannon

This discussion seems to be going in several directions, so a few  points:

I don't know if silk lace was ever generalized for all Royal Regiments, and it would not show up in general dress regulations, therefore.  Also, for the Royal Scots at least, economy didn't always play a part when the Duke of Kent was their colonel. After 1805 I have seen no reference to suggest that their lace returned to worsted.

Does Strachan offer a source for his different Serjeant's lace?  It's interesting that the 1802 regs are so precise in many ways, and even say that the O/R lace was to be half an inch, but does not specify for Serjeants.  Does this suggest that it was not universal?

I had a quick discussion with members of the Discriminating General (Robert Henderson and Peter Twist) on this topic last year.  Both agreed that silk ribbon was the most likely to be used as it would be the only thing strong enough.  They both suggested that grosgrain would be the most likely as it was commonly used, and strong.  I am interested to see that Neibelungen say that twill or herringbone are more common as I have rarely seen those two made in silk.  Were they widely available in the C19 like grosgrain was?

Grosgrain would be more readily available today, but twill or herringbone would more closely mimic O/R lace, I believe.  Are there sources for either or these two today?


Chris McKay[/u]
John Waller

http://www.wmboothdraper.com/stor...=product_info&products_id=761

Any good?
Neibelungen

Strachan  notes  inspection returns  giving  prices  paid  for  uniform and lace costs.   I'd have to  refer back  to  his book  tommorrow but memory thinks  it was  17th foot 1794  for one specific example.

Grossgrain would be the more common,  but  twill weaves were also  used as several  examples  of  ladies  silk  ribbon show  it and is seen on a couple of extant hat bindings.

(technical  note-- if the lace  has  a bobbled (with the weave going backwards and forwards  across the weft its) edge  it's Petersham,  if flat edge (with the warp going  densly over and under the heavy weft) the it's grossgrain.   The former  curves better as  grossgrain is generally stiffer and  doesn't slide round  curves easily)  A twill  weave has slightly more flex in that respect.  
Not a problem of strait loops but a definate trouble  on flowerpot loops.
Iain Dubh

All,
Thanks for the resposes; sorry I have not gotten back sooner but work sometimes rears it's ugly head and restricts the more important things in life.
I should have checked before implying that ALL Royal Regiments wore silk lace. I only "do" two of them (1st and 42nd) and since both are reported to have worn silk lace (Chris mentioned the source for the 1st, the source for the 42nd is Pearse; sergents jackets "the same except turn-backs laid on blue cloth and silk lace") and I guess I extrapolated it out to mean that all Royals did. I should not ask spur of the moment questions in those rare times when I am bored at the office!
As I said, Chris and I have been discussing this for a while now, and I have a problem getting my head around using a ribbon (at least as we know it today) when it would seem to be so different than the metalic Officer's and woolen OR's.
Thanks again (but I hope this does not end the discussion...)
Aye,
Iain
privatecannon

Iain,
 I think that if we look at the three styles of lace or ribbon mentioned by Neibelugen (and avoid satin ribbon) we'll find something very similar to O/R's lace.  Twill weave is the closest, I believe, and if you compare a normal Serjeant's worsted tape to a cotton twill, they look very similar.  Now, if we could find a silk twill ribbon or tape, that doesn't have a satiny shine, I would be very happy.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

Chris McKay

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