GENERAL MOURNING – TEN SHILLINGS EXTRA!

Sam-collings-1789

‘General mourning’ was decreed for persons of importance, and although it became increasingly popular as the nineteeth century progressed (by the 1840’s there were several ‘Mourning Warehouses”, such as Jay’s, in Regent Street alone), even in 1786 it could mean a sudden rush of trade for tailors. The journeyman tailors were paid a higher rate during mourning times,(double pay after 1795), though they had to work longer hours, so there was a need for the master tailor to add an additional charge to cover the cost.  For example, from the 2nd until the 24th November  1786, most of the frocks, coats etc., ordered from Louis by the Prince had a line saying “Extra for making Now General Mourning”, with a surcharge of 10/- on a coat and 5/- on a waistcoat.  This mourning period was very probably for Princess  Amelia, the King’s sister, who died on 31st October of that year.  If Louis had to employ extra staff to handle the rush orders for mourning dress it suggests that the Prince was not his only customer, though the amount of clothing he himself ordered must have been more than enough to keep the Bazalgette manufactory working at full capacity.

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