Waistcoat Wednesday

‘A Voluptuary Under the Horrors of Digestion’ by James Gillray, 1792
The Prince of Wales sporting his waistcoat of choice…..

Yesterday (11th July 2018) was a bit of an historic day. The England Men’s football team had made the semi’s of the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1990. 28 years ago. There was this strange feeling of hope, unity and positivity in the air. Whilst football fans were predicting the way the game might go, museums on the other hand were sparring over who might get to collect England manager, Gareth Southgate’s now famous waistcoat! Described as an item of cultural significance by the Daily Telegraph, the Museum of London and the National Football Museum, in Manchester, began a hilarious Twitter exchange over where the £65 M&S waistcoat should reside in future.

Beatrice Behlen, the Museum of London’s senior fashion curator said ‘Waistcoats were born in London in 1666, promoted by King Charles II. Now Watford-born Gareth Southgate is reviving that London tradition and bringing waistcoats home to the forefront of fashion.’ (The Daily Telegraph, 11/7/18)

Followed by the National Football Museum saying, ‘We’ve got quite a few quirkier items from football’s history, including Pele’s passport, and Southgate’s waistcoat would fit in perfectly.’ (The Daily Telegraph, 11/7/18)

There were suggestions of the museums having a game of football or a penalty shootout to decide!

#waistcoatwednesday became a trending hashtag with other museums giving examples of historical waistcoats in their collections, radio station Captital North East adding a waistcoat to the Angel of the North sculpture, and Star Wars UK pointing out Hans Solo as a fellow waistcoast lover. Plus the 1000s of fans sporting waistcoats to work in support of the England team.

Here at Brighton Museum we began the day with setting up an impromptu display showcasing some of the football memorabilia in the Collection, including a World Cup 1966 poster! We also put out a postbox where visitors could post their #footballmatters thoughts, memories and reminiscinces. Unsurprisingly, yesterday’s post was mainly shouts of encouragement for the evening game. People were definitely living in the moment, rather than looking back.

By Jody East, Creative Programme Curator, Brighton Museum

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