Young boy's sailor suit

About this object

Emily Tinne had seven children, although one died as a baby: a reminder that in those days childhood illnesses could bring tragedy to rich and poor alike. Her other children: Elspeth, Ernest, Bertha, Helen, Alexine and Pip, all grew up to adulthood and the Tinnes seem to have been a close and happy family.

Emily and Philip Tinne's first son, Ernest, wore this striped cotton sailor suit when he was about five. After Queen Victoria's son, Prince Edward had his portrait painted wearing one in 1846, sailor suits for both boys and girls were never out of fashion, well into the twentieth century. They have a timeless appeal and were very practical for small children. At the time that little Ernest was wearing his, sailor suits were riding a wave of popularity, reflecting national pride in Britain's navy after the First World War.

This sailor suit came from George Henry Lee's, which was one of Emily's favourite shops in Liverpool, now known to us as John Lewis. In fact, in contrast to her spending on her own wardrobe, she was very thrifty with the children's clothes. She made a lot of them herself and often handed down garments from the older children to the younger ones.
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