Camp nightwear

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Little is said about clothing worn at night. The following concerns the years up to 1950.

That some clothing was worn in bed, at least on camp, is assumed. It was part of the overall warmth of the bedding, at home as well as at camp, and summer weight and winter weight versions were often used. In winter a vest or a sweater might also be added. Houses were not centrally heated and most bedrooms were not heated at any time of the year unless someone was bedbound or ill.

Local kit lists start in the 1930’s and stated ‘pyjamas’, or once, for no clear reason, ‘pyjamas if possible’. Nightgowns had largely fallen out of fashion and if we can hypothesize that they were less likely to gather the dew in the early morning they may have been less readily managed in a blanket roll. The kit lists make no mention of cotton sheets and the first local mention of sleeping bags, in use for many years but generally a luxury or specialist item, is 1945.

A 1943 list states ‘sleeping wear’ which may be appreciation of the difficulty of getting coupons for pyjamas, if indeed pyjamas were available in the shops. See General History/ Equipment/ Scout Kit list.

The photograph of 1918 Flax picking camp at which most went down with ‘flu’ , see WW1 and WW2/ The Great War/ District camps of 1917 and 1918, shows largely pyjamas with one set of bare legs which might suggest a nightgown.

Ken North recalled a camp of the 1920’s ‘I remember Herbert Mudge each morning walking past our tent wearing an overcoat over a night shirt (we all wore pyjamas) with a “good morning chaps” on his way to the bog.’ 

This, from the 1930’s, is all pyjamas.

JWR Archivist Aug 2021