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Hoodata Introduction
Hoodata 1 (Spring 1974)
Hoodata 2 (Summer 1974)
Hoodata 3 (Autumn 1974)
Hoodata 4 (Winter 1974/75)
Hoodata 5 (Spring 1975)
Hoodata 6 (Summer 1975)
Hoodata 7 (Autumn 1975)
Hoodata 8 (Summer 1977)
Hoodata 9 (Autumn 1978)
Hoodata 2.1 (April 1980)
Hoodata 2.2 (November 1980)
Hoodata 2.3 (May 1981)
Hoodata 2.4 (December 1981)


An occasional newsletter on academic hoods

Volume--2---- Number--4------- December 1981

Editor---R.L.D. Rees, MPhil (Lond)

Address--[address removed]


Readers may recall that in Hoodata 2.2 I suggested that a new hoods reference book was needed. Since then, Prof. H.H. Smith has invited me to collaborate with him in a new edition of Academic Dress and Insignia of the World. It is likely that in the coming year or so I shall be very busy with this work and it is for this reason that I feel it necessary for me to resign as Editor of Hoodata. I have enjoyed producing and distributing four editions of Hoodata and have in the last couple of years made many new friends in the process.

On everyone's behalf, I should like to thank Squadron Leader A.E. Birt for his original idea of a hoods newsletter and for having produced the first nine issues. Hoodata was conceived primarily as a supplement to Haycraft 5, thus the need for such a newsletter will (it is hoped!) be diminished for a few years by the publication of the revised edition of ADAIOTW. In retrospect, the authors of Haycraft 5 set about their task two or three years too early: the hoods of many of the qualifications resulting from the expansion of higher education were still being designed. It seems a pity that a number of qualifications and their hoods will probably become obsolete following the cuts in higher education. However, one crumb of consolation is that any complete list of gowns and hoods compiled now is likely to remain so for some considerable time to come.

Notwithstanding the above, if there is amongst our readership a budding Editor, I should be delighted to hear from him / her. Similarly, I shall be very pleased to keep in touch on a personal basis with any Hoodata readers who care to write to me. May I take this opportunity to send you my very best wishes for


Christmas and the New Year.

Unless anyone wishes otherwise, I propose to retain the envelopes and the 30 pences that some of you have sent for subsequent editions. This will enable me or any new Editor to send you further hood information at some time in the future.


Durham:--MEng full Durham BSc shape, black stuff, lined palatinate silk, the cowl is faced to a depth of 3.5" with scarlet silk. MTh shape as MEng, black stuff, lined black silk, the cape and cowl are bound with palatinate silk 1" inside and outside. (This hood is very similar to AKC. Durham hoods have plain neckbands - Ed.)

Sheffield:--MPhil Cambridge shape dark green cloth, lined green (precise shade unspecified) silk.

Sussex College of Technology, Brantridge Forest School:--Bachelors Oxford simple shape, lined gold with a 2" faculty edging (?facing). Masters Cambridge shape, lined gold with a 1" maroon edging (? facing). On the lining there is a chevron of the faculty colour. Doctors American doctorate shape, lined gold with a 5" maroon edging (? facing). Chevron as for Masters. The faculty colours are rust for Science, white for Arts. (Presumably the shell of all hoods is black. These two establishments were featured in an article in THES on "the scandal of unrecognised qualifications" - Ed.)

Moray House College Edinburgh hoods are in the Edinburgh simple shape, of black silk or stuff, lined with saffron silk. The various faculties are differentiated by the colour of a 1.5" silk ribbon facing. (At any rate it was a facing in the one such hood that I have seen: the regulations refer to it as a "edging" - Ed.) Primary diploma blue; Technical subjects platinum; Music maroon; Physical Education green; Social Work royal blue. (It is unclear whether this is the same as the "blue" above - Ed.)

St. Stephen's House Oxford--Oxford simple shape in black stuff. Both edges of hood and neckband bound scarlet silk, 1" on inside and 0.25" on outside. (St. John's College Nottingham has only one edge bound

and a plain neckband - Ed.) [The St Stephen's hood is in fact Burgon, and the John's hood does have the upper edge of the neckband bound - NWG.]

Institute of Private Tuition (a teachers' organisation):--Affiliate claret stuff edged all round with white silk cord. Associate black stiff faced inside and out with scarlet watered silk and edged with white fur. Licentiate black stuff fully lined with scarlet watered silk, bound inside and outside with black watered silk and edged with white fur; neckband scarlet. Fellow scarlet stuff bound on outside with 2.5" black watered silk, half lined and edged with white fur; neckband scarlet. All hoods Cambridge shape.

St. Paul's Mobile Fellowship Society Cambridge shape in heavy black ribbed rayon, lined with black Italian; the cowl is bound with apple green satin 1" on inside and outside. The neckband is edged with the same colour on the top edge only. Unfortunately, despite two independent requests, the Society refuses outright either to confirm or deny the information - Ed.)


In the first part of this article (published in Hoodata 2.3), I stressed the need for a standard method of defining hoods and specifying colours. A reader has commented on the views of the other reader whose letter I published. He writes:
- "If one were to rely merely on the vaguely worded regulations to be found in university calendars, the academic dress situation would be even more chaotic than it is now. Any new institution, and for that matter its robemaker would find it quite impossible to avoid duplication with an existing design, even within the same country. If academic heraldry is to mean anything at all, then no two designs should be identical although, if an impossibly large number of colours is to be avoided, the difference between them will be quite subtle. Subtle differences require precise definitions."

Next, I gave my reasons for ascribing particular meanings to such words as facing, edging and binding.

It goes almost without saying that it


is insufficient to describe the hood merely as simple or full: one of the sub-categories of Oxford, Burgon or Edinburgh must be used for the former; or Cambridge, London, Oxford doctorate, Toronto doctorate, American doctorate or Aberdeen for the latter.

The definition should state whether or not the neckband is edged and, if so, to what depth and whether this applies to one or both edges. By the same token, it should be clear whether, for example, an edging is on the cape only, cowl only, or both cape and cowl.

Whilst it is one matter to argue the need for such definitions, it would be a truly Herculean task to persuade all univiversities to rewrite their regulations so as to adopt them. It would be more than a lifetime's work but I hope that the works of Shaw and Smith, and in a more humble way the publication of Hoodata, have made a start.


Senior undergraduates at Durham customarily wear a full shaped literate's hood on formal occasions.

Can anyone identify a full shaped hood with semi-circular base to cape in lilac silk, lined with white watered silk. Cape and cowl are edged (? bound - Ed.) with 1" fine black silk; neckband lilac, edged black.

It is reported that those who graduated form Oxford in 1980 will be the last automatically to qualify for the degree of MA. It is unknown whether the MA will in future become a degree by examination, or whether it and its illustrious hood will, in the fullness of time, fall into obscurity. [This never happened - NWG.]

I conclude with an extract from the Peterborough column of The Daily Telegraph, quoting from the University of Cambridge leaflet on procedure at degree ceremonies: "Among the hoods worn by graduands in the Senate House are: Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine: similar to the hood for Bachelor of Medicine but with more fur."

© R.L.D. Rees 1981