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  1. #1
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    Government No. 1 vs 1A

    I've been a member of this forum for years now but have rarely posted. Life, you know?

    My interest in kilts was recently re-ignited concurrently with gaining some better understanding of my family's genealogy.

    Reading here, I learned that Grant Hunting is the same as Black Watch, or Government No. 1, due to Grants forming one company of the original Black Watch. It's a fairly ubiquitous tartan, I like the way it looks, and I have a family connection. There were other tartans I could claim a connection to, but I decided to choose this to be my one tartan for my one kilt (having read on this board that it's more common in the highlands to stick with just one family tartan).

    With this in mind, I made my way to eBay, where I was pleased to discover several relatively reasonably priced military surplus kilts that fit my measurements. I read on this forum that these kilts are generally well made, if not quite as well made as in decades past. I thought I had hit the jackpot where quality, price, and correct tartan intersect. So I bought one.

    Then I hit a snag. While waiting for the kilt to arrive, I did some more reading, and learned that these new kilts, overstock meant for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, are actually in a different tartan than I thought--Government No. 1A. It's the lighter shade of Black Watch previously worn by officers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, pre-amalgamation.

    Tartans bearing the same name, I am reliably informed, often come off the loom in different shades. And 1 and 1A might not actually be all that different--even the names suggest that they are variations on a theme. But I really have no desire to step on anyone's toes or claim colors that I don't have a right to.

    I am left to wonder:

    1. Can I still wear this tartan with recourse to my Grant roots?
    2. If the answer is no, that this tartan is only for the RRS, is there anything I can do to dye it to be darker, like a traditional Black Watch?
    3. Or should I just sell the kilt on?
    Last edited by Artigas; 27th September 19 at 01:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I wouldn't be concerned. Color isn't the same as hue.
    Last edited by Bad Monkey; 27th September 19 at 03:30 PM.

  3. The Following 5 Users say 'Aye' to Bad Monkey For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
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    [QUOTE=Artigas;1378969]

    Reading here, I learned that Grant Hunting is the same as Black Watch, or Government No. 1, due to Grants forming one company of the original Black Watch.[/QUOTE

    As has been mentioned, colour and hue (or shade, or tone) are not the same thing. Government No.1 described a military shade of the Government tartan worn by the Black Watch in the 20th century before they was amalgamated into the RRS. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders wore Government No.1A.

    The Cockburn Collection (1810-15) included four specimens of the same tartan in the same shades, and named; Sutherland, Campbell Argyll, Munro, and Grant of Grant.

    Tartans bearing the same name, I am reliably informed, often come off the loom in different shades. And 1 and 1A might not actually be all that different--even the names suggest that they are variations on a theme. But I really have no desire to step on anyone's toes or claim colors that I don't have a right to.
    There is no such thing as an 'entitlement' to wear a particular tartan and as shades, as opposed to colours, weren't standardised until the 20th century it really doesn't matter. It's the same tartan, it you like the shades, then wear it.

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  6. #4
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    Thank you for answering my question.

  7. #5
    Join Date
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    and...just to muddy the waters a bit

    I have to agree with the previous posts (to which I added my own "aye") and advise you to wear it! Just to muddy the waters a bit I will advise that at least one of the major purveyors of cloth in Scotland these days (Lochcarron) is doing a rather brisk business in selling a "weathered" version of the fabled "Black Watch" tartan....which is pretty much the same as the one the I am wearing in my avatar photo (Weathered Lamont) sans the white stripe.
    Last edited by Digger1; 30th October 19 at 06:34 AM.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    To make the pre-RRS situation more complex, the Black Watch and the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders each had two different versions of their tartan.

    I'm more familiar with the Argylls uniform, and in the Argylls one sort of tartan was worn by the Other Ranks and a different sort by Officers and senior Sergeants.

    It was the Officers and senior Sergeants tartan, with the pale green, that was adopted by the RRS.

    In the Black Watch, photos suggest that the tartan worn by Officers was rather darker than that worn by Other Ranks.

    One book I have says that the Other Ranks of the BW and the A&SH wore the same tartan. Other people have said that no, the Other Ranks tartan of the two regiments were different. This would mean four different tartans for the two regiments. Of course BW and A&SH kilts were pleated differently regardless of the tartan situation.

    Some photos!

    The Pipe Major of the Argylls in the 2000s. Note the green is pale but the blue is dark.



    A piper of the Argylls. Note the drone-ribbon is made from the fabric with the light green, but his bag-cover and kilt look more like ordinary Black Watch tartan.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 29th October 19 at 07:29 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  9. #7
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    Btw..

    Forgot to add as a general comment that there is another interesting source of surplus government issue kilts and other “bits and bobs” of Scottish militaria out there at

    www.onlinemilitaria.net

    Last I checked this company (called “What Price Glory”) was selling Gordon, Seaforth, and BW kilts for just under $200. U.S., and seemed to have pretty good customer reviews for same.
    David

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  11. #8
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger1 View Post
    this company (called “What Price Glory”) was selling Gordon, Seaforth, and BW kilts...
    Just be aware that the WPG kilts aren't genuine ex-army kilts, nor are they made in the traditional way, nor are they made of proper kilting fabric.

    They are made in Pakistan and/or India out of cloth that has a strange flimsy insubstantial waxy feel to it, quite unlike any UK, Irish, or North American wool I've ever felt.

    Perhaps the good reviews are from people who don't have much experience with genuine vintage military kilts?
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  12. #9
    Join Date
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    Thanks, Richard!

    For the sage counsel....my only experience with this company was having seen a local pipe band here in Iowa that kitted themselves out in the repro WWI uniforms of a regimental band of the BEF that looked reasonably good, but I never really examined their kilt materials closely. Just recall the pipers being elated at the prices.

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