Not currently on display at the V&A


June 1953 (taken)
Place of origin

Black and white photograph showing a standing young boy wearing fancy dress of a Beefeater's Tudor State Dress (see B.1-2018)

Object details

Object type
Materials and techniques
Brief description
Photograph showing Michael Allnutt wearing beefeater fancy dress, England, 1953
Physical description
Black and white photograph showing a standing young boy wearing fancy dress of a Beefeater's Tudor State Dress (see B.1-2018)
Production typeUnique
Credit line
Given by Joanne Kennedy
Object history
This costume was handmade by the donor's parents, Peggy and Eddie Allnutt, for their son Michael Allnutt. Michael wore this costume at a party held in Southall Park in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and won first prize in a fancy dress competition. He was five years old at the time.

Michael Allnutt later recalled:
'I remember the time around the coronation; our street had a number of stands erected, raised sections festooned with Union Jacks. There was an air of excitement and expectation in the air. My most vivid memory of the Beefeater costume is, rather strangely, the feel of the rim of the hat pressing into my temples and forehead. I remember enduring several final fittings, as I would call them now; then it was just an annoying chore to put up with before I was allowed out into the street to play.

The fancy dress competition was in the park in Southall, I remember the lonely walk in front of the spectators and judges but not much about actually coming first! I know my mother was a stickler for detail, she would have researched the detail of that costume assidiously. She once contacted the Amateur Athletics Association to determine the colours that Roger Bannister wore when breaking the four minute mile in 1954. We won in that fancy dress competition as well!'
Historical context
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on 2nd June 1953, after a decade of national austerity brought about by the Second World War. It was day of national celebration, communities throughout the UK and Commonwealth devised huge parties and celebrations. The event is particularly well-remembered by children for its scale and conviviality.

Beefeaters, or Yeoman Warders, are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London and the crown jewels. Their uniforms are highly distinctive, particularly the red and gold ‘Tudor State Dress’ they are required to wear on state occasions or when the monarch visits the Tower. Beefeaters’ ranks consist of retired military personnel who served with the British or Commonwealth armed forces for at least twenty-two years. Beefeaters are popular with the British public and tourists alike, and are highly recognisable symbols of Britain, the Tower of London, and the British Royal Family.
Subject depicted
Accession number

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Record createdMay 11, 2018
Record URL
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