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Shoulder-belt Plate - The 1st Royal Tower Hamlets Militia

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1971F2099
Collection:Social History - Gaunt Collection
Date:1831 c


Around the time of the American War of Independence, officers began wearing their sword belt over the right shoulder, a practice which was easier and quicker than the earlier one of fastening the belt around the waist, under the waistcoat and coat. The trend was taken up by other ranks shortly after.As a result of this development, the original waist-belt clasp was replaced by the ornamental shoulder-belt plate. Generally speaking, these increased in size and extent of ornamentation from the 1770s onwards. The earliest types were oval, oblong or elliptical. Later examples were larger oval-shaped or rectangular with rounded corners, and eventually, by 1825, with squared corners. Typically of extremely high quality craftsmanship, they displayed the various battle honours awarded to a regiment for its distinguished service in a specific campaign, as well as other elements relating to the history of the regiment. They were abolished in 1855.

Bequeathed by Alderman C F Gaunt, 1951.

Further Information

Production Period:18th century or 19th century
Medium:Rolled plate with cast design elements.
Material(s):White metal

Associated Organisations


Height:83 mm
Width:63 mm