Michelson’s Coatee, 1815-1820

Captain Thomas Michelson belonged to the 6th Battalion of the North Yorkshire Militia c.1815-1820. The 6th Battalion was based at Malton, North Yorkshire and formed initially in 1809. The militia was a domestic force raised in the event of an invasion or domestic unrest. As they acted as a police force they could not serve in their own county so would be posted away from home for many months during times of war. Colonel Dundas of the North York Regiment issued a statement on 29th March, 1803 describing the uniform his men should wear which bears a resemblance to this coatee.

The North Yorkshire Regiment wore facings of black, in this case black velvet cuffs, collar and lapels. Silver coloured buttons depicting a crown atop a Yorkshire Rose surrounded by the motto of the British monarchy “Honi soit qui mal y pense” or “Shame on Him Who Thinks This Evil”. These buttons decorate faux pockets on the tails of the coatee.

Seam orientation at the back of the coatee creates a narrow back, which is not natural to the wearer’s body shape. The placement of the back, shoulder and sleeve seam and their relationship to each other affects the shape of the coatee. The back measurement is a mere 5 inches while the placement of the shoulder seam descends to the back of the shoulder blade instead of across the top. The sleeve seam begins nearly half way up the natural shoulder. Positioning the seams like this creates the illusion of sloping shoulders and a distinctive ‘kite’ like shape on the back.

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