Mess Kit pre-1880

It is difficult to determine the date of this mess jacket and waistcoat although they are pre-1880 because of the twisted shoulder cords. After 1880 the Dress Regulations call for 'shoulder straps and badges of rank as for tunic.' The jacket is identical to the one worn as a stable jacket by the Cornet 1857. It is also seen as a stable jacket in photos up to the end of the 19th century, if the change of shoulders is taken into consideration. The collar in 1857 was higher but in the 1870s collars were generally much lower and remained so for many years. The lace is distinctive and has one edge wavy. The Dress Regulations order it to be one inch wide. The 1891 Dress Regulations call for field officers to have one and a half inches. This would cover the collar completely in gold. No badges of rank were worn on the pre-1880 mess jacket. The facing colour is off-white and is cloth for the 2DG whereas the other dragoon guard regiments had velvet. There are no buttons on the jacket or the waistcoat, they fasten with hooks and eyes. The edges are decorated with 60 small gilt balls, although the number would vary according to the height of the officer.

Side view of Mess Jacket

The cuff is pointed and edged so that the wavy side of the gold lace is shown up against the cream coloured cuff. Two small gilt buttons can be seen at the back of the cuff just above the lace. The lace on the collar goes all the way around and the base of the collar has a line of gold gimp.

Back of Mess Jacket

The gold lace on the hem of the jacket forms two circles in the middle, with the facing colour inside.

Collar and Shoulder of Mess Jacket

The pattern of the gold lace is seen clearly here. It was also used by the King's Dragoon Guards and the 5th DG. The small button on the shoulder has a star device with either QDG in the middle or (after 1896) BAYS in old English script. The twisted shoulder strap is formed from gold gimp.

Mess Waistcoat

The complicated patterns on the front of the waistcoat are formed from gold Russia braid which goes all the way down to the waist. The more intricate design near the collar can only be seen when the jacket is taken off or left open at the neck. The gold edging is the more simple French lace which covers the front edge and the hem. It is difficult to imagine how much time would be spent on sewing this amount of braid on one waistcoat. And what would happen if wine were to be spilt on it?

Regimental details | Uniforms


Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames | Library | Search | TV & Film | Wargames |

by Stephen Luscombe