Tuesday, 26 January 2010

London's First Official Plaid




When I was young I always believed tartan had a history of heritage and/or family.

As the years have rolled by tartan, doing its best to keep up to date with fashion and a modern society, has widened its appeal to sport, music and other areas of Scottish culture.

Now it's London's turn. The above 'London tartan' was designed by a philosophy student from Dorset and was selected by judges including Robbie Coltrane and his compatriot, the poet Jackie Kay.

James Heafield, 22, explained his design. "I started with a prominent red background as I feel it is one of the most closely associated colours with the city of London, not least because of the traditional red London buses but also because it adds a regal nature to the tartan symbolising the capital's noble past as the centre of British life.

"The red also makes reference to the royal family who reside at Buckingham Palace as well as more general British institutions such as red phone boxes and red post boxes.

"I then added a black line to symbolise the famous London black cabs and added a white line to subtly suggest road markings as a representation of the many London streets that make up the capital.

"Next I inserted a green line hidden between the red, black and white to represent the great London parks, such as Hyde Park, Regent Park and Greenwich Par, that are hidden between the London streets. Lastly I added thin blue lines that run across the tartan like the River Thames runs across the city.

Congratulations to James. Moss Bros will already have their order in for a considerable amount of cloth I suspect as Scotland continues to be a popular wedding venue for those from south of the border and overseas. We'll be seeing quite a bit of the London tartan here no doubt - not that I mind because it's certainly quite pleasing to the eye.




29 comments:

Furor Teutonicus said...

Aye. No bad as a tartan.

But what the Hel do London want with it?

The Scottish Parliament should ban it from North of the border.

Remember Colloden ye wee southern sassenach basta's ye'!

Furor Teutonicus said...

Or even Culloden!

subrosa said...

It is actually not at all bad. Much better than bright green or some of the blues.

Tut tut Furor, that's past history. Dinnae forget, Culloden wis the Highlands against plenty Lowlanders tae.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Aye well, add to that, Londons pet bloody Irish Lacky, Wade, has got a lot to answer for, not just for Scotland in the 15, so causing one of the first waves of asylum seekers to flood into Potsdam/Brandenburg and Berlin, but going on to fight on Austrias side against we Prussians!

So not only have we motive, we have opportunity. See how THEY like getting banned from wearing the Plaid.:-))

Edgar said...

Tartan bowler hats and brollies? Dear Lord is absolutely nothing sacred?

I would just about swallow it if the Scots would come up with a similar compliment: how about wearing underpants beneath the kilt?

All Seeing Eye said...

Heritage always has a starting date, so now seems as good a time as any. I'm keen on the idea of things with historical significance evolving and staying alive rather than becoming frozen in time. If it wasn't for initiatives like this then the tradition of tartan would retreat north of the border and the only time those of us non-Scots would ever see it would be at Burns Night.

Come to think of it, with our extensive links to the Scottish regiments we should get a Gibraltar one. Hmm, thats an idea...

subrosa said...

Tartan bowler hats Edgar? The imagine is wonderful.

subrosa said...

I'm surprised you don't already have one ASE. The US has regions with their own tartans along with parts of Canada. Plenty other countries have 'honorary' tartans too.

Get a competition going and get in touch with the Tartan Society!

Clarinda said...

I notice that there is no Brown in the London tartan?

Strathturret said...

Tartans are all Victorian nonsense surely?

subrosa said...

Well observed Clarinda. The lad may have been tempted to use brown to signify the Thames perhaps but decided fairytale blue would be more acceptable, given the political climate there at present.

subrosa said...

Jings Strathurret, the history of tartan varies so much it's difficult to say really.

Perhaps John Brown made the kilt more a fashion statement, who knows.

It's a cloth which is closely associated with Scotland that's for sure these days, but the origins of it may not be based here. Depends who you believe.

scunnert said...

First we take Tower Hamlets - then we take the world!

Furor Teutonicus said...

Strathturret said...

Tartans are all Victorian nonsense surely?


Modern tartans deffinately. It was only with the new die industry in the industrial revolution that made the bright colours possible.

But before that tartans, or Plaid, was died using the plants that grew in the area. So there were regional differences, and as the Clans normaly controlled such regions, each Clans tartan was slightly different to another.But nothing like you can see today.

(Three bloody years wasted at the school of Scottish Ethnology at Edinburgh uni! Had to take three subjects and that was the only one that matched my major of Germanic/Wiking/German history. They made me take sociology in the third year. THAT was interesting. What do you get if you throw a 35 year old ex Military policeman and civvy (Liverpool) copper, from a family where the Grandfather was a German U-Boat commander in WWII, into a gang of fresh out of school wannabe social workers?

80%+ in the first exam, and told there was no need to attend classes "if is REALLY did not WANT to (HINT!)"

Strathturret said...

My history teacher told me that the clans used cap badges to distinguish friend or foe not tartans.

The whole tartan stuff was kicked off by Walter Scott. In my opinion real Scots don't take kilts and tartan seriously.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Bonnet badges. But aye. That and sporran badges.

But Clans going into battle would wear, say Oak, or ash or some other tree local to their area as Identification as well. Mc Millans wore Holly, if I recall.

A habit that was used by the Germanen, Prussians and Germans as well, right up until the first world war.

Demetrius said...

Around forty or so years ago somebody designed a "Scouser" tartan. I think the design basis was more Jackson Pollock than traditional. It didn't catch on, largely because in the Scotland Road area of Liverpool it was unwise for a chap to wear a kilt.

subrosa said...

I wouldn't take Towe Hamlets as my first choice scunnert, but then it takes all sorts!

subrosa said...

Furor, I can see it was a very educational 4 years spent doing erm education.

Pity they didn't have that available, at taxpayers expense, in the early 60s or I could not be q retired scientist (always my intense interest).

Never mind, as I've said before yes I agree Victorian times perhaps brought tartan into fashionable society. But then, I expect many were becoming sick of wearing black and the introduction of John Brown and his subtle tones may have been regarded as de rigeur.

subrosa said...

Don't know about the cap badge suggestion Strathturret, but I would admit to one of the Scots who doesn't take tartans seriously these days. Mind you my ancestors may have a different opinion.

subrosa said...

Being acquaint with Scotland Road from the 60s QM I can well imagine their dissent about wearing a kilt. I've never heard of a Scouse wedding from the Road ever having welcomed a kilt wearer either, but then it's some years since I had association with the area.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Ahem. So the fact that they weren't taken seriously was why you could be transported for wearing "highland garb"?

The earliest examples of cloth with a tartan type pattern discovered in Scotland go back to approximately 900ad although such patterns are not unique to Scotland.

I don't quite understand the entire concept. London wants a tartan why? But I suppose if it really makes them happy. *shrug*

Furor Teutonicus said...

subrosa said...

Furor, I can see it was a very educational 4 years spent doing erm education.

Pity they didn't have that available, at taxpayers expense, in the early 60s or I could not be q retired scientist (always my intense interest).


The tax payer did not pay a penny. two thirds came from my Grandparents and the rest from my catch money whilst at sea during the holidays.

AND, it was not only the fact I have three degrees that got me the job I am doing now, but because of WHAT the degrees are in.

So NONE of it was, as you Brits, terrified of a bit of education always think, "useless learning for learnings sake".

subrosa said...

It's rather a pleasant tartan thought Jeanne, don't you think.

subrosa said...

Furor, you were the person who stated your 3 years at the school of Scottish Ethnology was wasted, not me.

My comment is tongue in cheek and perhaps I should clarify it. I was referring to today when students are partly-funded by taxpayers, because of course that wasn't so in the 60s.

I have no problem with education I assure you or anyone improving themselves using the formal education system for that end.

You were perhaps more fortunate than many to have grandparents willing and able to fund your further education.

You really can't mean your last sentence when you yourself said "Three bloody years wasted...".

Learning is only useless if the receiver of the information it provides has little or no interest in the subject.

Furor Teutonicus said...

THAT part was wasted. It was a "fill in" because they did not have three possibilitys in my major, which was Germanic/Prussian/German history. So Scottish ethnology was loaded in to make up.

In that it taught "ethnological investigation" it helped with the Germanic history", but if one were to tke it as a major, then yes, it is a waste because except for Haggis and kilts, there is no bloody difference between Scotland and Northern England. And even Northern England had Haggis. EVERY civilisation had SOME form of it. It is how sausage got invented.

Kilts as well. The Sachsen (Saxons) had similar.

So it really depends on what you class as "education".

Some courses are education, others are "get out of having to work for four years" cards.

subrosa said...

I wouldn't be surprised Furor, if you look at today's over 60s, most will have acquired their further education in their own time and at their own expense over years, during which they worked full-time.

"Get out of work for four years" is a modern phenomena. In the 50s it was mainly the wealthy who managed to go directly from school to university, with of course those who were fortunate to gain scholarships.

How did we get onto this when the post was about the pleasant new London tartan? :)

Furor Teutonicus said...

Evolution.

subrosa said...

Evolution Goldsmith style :) I'm watching Lord Goldsmith's slick performance at the Iraq Inquiry right now.

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