Coatee, 1854-1856

This coatee was acquired when the Army Clothing Factory at Pimlico closed in the 1930s. It was a pattern (1854-1856) from which the uniforms were created. This type of coatee would have been worn by other ranks, in this case a Private in the British Army. It would have been his fighting uniform as well as his dress uniform. Disease was rife during the Crimean War (1854-1856) and to prevent the spread of disease, soldiers burnt their uniforms before returning to Britain. As a result, only a few of these coatees survive to the present day.

The uniforms worn by other ranks were acquired off the peg and are therefore cut differently to officers’ uniforms. The sleeves in particular are cut wider and straighter, with no narrowing below the elbow. They were also made from coarser fabrics. The coatee is made from a woollen fabric which is so well woven that it does not need to be hemmed. Any raw edges have not frayed due to the quality of the fabric. Unusually, this coatee is hand stitched, likely because it was the pattern. The government had awarded a contract to Peter Tait to produce uniforms on sewing machines in 1854.

A soldier would have carried all the equipment displayed on this uniform as well as his weaponry. He carried an ammunition pouch and a water bottle, of the style used since Waterloo, on either hip. On his back he carried a knapsack painted with the regimental number 19 to aid in identification on active service.

Further information and technical detail (PDF)

More items in the uniform collection

Back to Uniform Collection page