Follow the story of this costume over the next few pages.

When I was asked to obtain a vintage garment to study for the Costume History Course, I thought of my friend’s Dad, who seems to keep everything that most people find they wish they’d kept. Well, he came up trumps, and I have the privilege of studying a theatrical costume which was made for Mr. Woollett when he was a lad.

A Star is born
(this was when ‘Grandad’ was more like ‘Jim lad’. )

The year is 1933. The boys of Reay Central School, Brixton, were flush with the success of their performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado” the previous year. Even though they had managed to get the music director of the school changed, demands were being made upon them to do more G&S. Not wanting to displease their public, the boys set to work with a will, even sacrificing out of school hours in order to practice.

Jim Woollett was chosen to be in the choir, and was also an understudy for Douglas Diamond, the chap who played Sir Richard Cholmandeley, Lieutenant of the Tower. As this was such an awesome role, Aunt Gertrude offered assistance, and this is how our beloved costume was born, (sorry), sewn.

A scan of the programme and review of the performance can be seen if you click here.


For history and photos of the “Beefeater” or Yeoman Warder dress, follow this link.


Our costume or one of its twins.              

The Credo Players, performing
‘Tower of London’, 1957,
including Jim Woollett in the updated costume.

The tunic is all that is left of this happy occasion, but, it waited quietly in the wings until Mr. Woollett had occasion for the benefit of its services again when acting with an Amateur Dramatics Company called ‘The Credo Players’ 24 years later.

In March, 1957, they held their Eighth Annual Revue. One of the sketches before the Interval was ‘Tower of London’. It was here our costume was to become more widely known.

Please notice that the logo on the costume is H-R; Henry Rex. A King in past days of the realm. This information will be of interest later as we continue to follow the life of this costume.

The Programme from 22 March, 1957.wpeA.gif (70365 bytes)

This time our friend, (the costume) was joined by some likely pieces who had been chosen, nay rather, made for the part. This is where the hat, ruff, tights, belt and shoe buckles, and a set of keys joined the scene. Most of these accessories were made by Jim himself. Alas, we no longer have their partners, the fingerless gloves, and the false nose.