Prepare to Weigh Anchor!

The Blomidon Inn, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

The Blomidon Inn, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

As Johanna mentioned in an earlier post, things have been very busy here at Man the Capstan; she has been working nonstop, every day, stitching, tacking, sewing, serging, cutting, pressing and dressing. It’s more than a full time job, and she really deserves a medal for all this work. The good news, however, is that after Halloween there will be very little left to do, as 90-95% of all the costumes will be done. Behind the Uniform, Part II revealed that the Capstan crew would be heading out on the 31st of October for the first time together, in period dress. In attendance will be Shara, dressed in the English Rose, her husband Tim in his Royal Navy captain’s coat, Johanna of course, in Passage to India, her husband Steve, our Royal Marine, and myself in another Royal Navy captain’s coat. Our destination? A nice little place called the Blomidon Inn.

Cape Blomidon, Nova Scotia

Cape Blomidon, Nova Scotia

The Blomidon Inn resides in the university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Wolfville, originally known as Mud Creek (which was changed hastily in light of a possible Royal visit) is home to Acadia University, where I attend classes on a full-time basis. It’s a charming little town that grows alarmingly quiet in the summer, but is a bustle with activity during the cooler seasons. The Blomidon Inn rests a few kilometres down Main Street, towards the east. The Inn gets his name from Cape Blomidon, a very well-known geographical personality in the Annapolis Valley and particularly in Wolfville, where it is easily spotted. Blomidon sits quite prominently off the coast, an irregular landmass lying on the southeast shore of the Bay of Fundy. The Cape is home to a provincial park and the mighty Glooscap, a legendary Mi’kmaq (a local aboriginal tribe) god responsible for the creation of the Annapolis Valley and the islands within the Minas Basin.

Garden Bridge, Blomidon Inn

Garden Bridge, Blomidon Inn

The Blomidon Inn is described as an “old sea captain’s mansion”, hosting nearly thirty guest rooms, two dining rooms, a dining terrace, and the surrounding gardens. The history of the Blomidon Inn begins in 1881, when a gentleman (a merchant) named Rufus Burgess purchased the lot for a resounding $1,400. The house and lot served as his personal residence. Mister Burgess owned shares in ships, and quickly moved to manufacturing his own. Burgess funded the construction of many tall ships, one of them the Canada (the largest tall ship built in the Dominion at the time). When Georgie, Burgess’ wife, died in 1911 (Rufus preceded her by six years) the property sold at auction. For the next seventy years the property would slip from one owner to another, often experiencing hard financial times. Before it was an Inn, it was once known as the “Blomidon Lodge”, a popular place for travelling salesmen to congregate.

In 1980 it became known as the Blomidon Inn, and in 1988 the current owners, the Laceby family, began operating it. Since then the inn has gained international acclaim as a signature inn in Nova Scotia; residents may enjoy luxurious accommodations, fine dining and a charming atmosphere—the house is beautifully decorated and the surrounding gardens secret the building away into the time period of its birth.

To the King!

The Capstan Crew will be heading to the Blomidon Inn on Halloween, in period costume, for dinner. Hopefully we’ll be able to take some spectacular shots to show with you all. It will be the first time the entire crew will be in costume for a picture, so we’re all looking forward to the occasion. We plan to assume a role of sorts for the venture (I’m Captain William Marinus, RN) and have some fun to boot. I’ll have to do a bit of research on customary naval toasts (“To wives and sweethearts!”) and we’ll take a few turns at the table. At any rate, it should be a good evening spent. It also gets us in costume, and in public, which will be a first for us. Tall Ships 2009 will have us in the costumes for several hours at a time, so this outing (and hopefully more in the future) will prepare us for the eventual hangups that are bound to occur.

We’re in sore need of a “Costume Update” post, to get everyone up to speed on the current status of each project. Obviously, we’re nearing completion, but there are some critical areas we have yet to look at. I’ll leave that for another blog update, however! Also, be sure to check out Man the Capstan’s new Flickr Photostream! We’ll hopefully have it fleshed out and filled with albums and photos soon enough.

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Behind the Uniform, Part III

Poster advertising the 18th Century Costume BallIt has been a few weeks since my last update, and I regret that very much. Classes have tied up my free time for the large part (I attend Acadia University in Wolfville), which leaves little opportunity for recreational writing! Progress on the Man the Capstan projects, however, has proceeded undeterred.

Two of our projects are finalized—Passage to India, a lady’s gown which Johanna has been working on (read about it here, and here!) and the Royal Marine’s uniform. There is still so much to add regarding the Marine’s uniform, but we’re going to save that for another update until we have a few more pictures. Johanna and Steve recently bought a digital SLR (the Canon Rebel XSI, I believe), and it is rocking—we’ll have plenty of opportunities to take some really phenomenal shots, and we’ll be sure to get some rapid updates here with some brand new photos.

Johanna and Steve also recently procured two tickets for an event in Halifax, which falls under the year-long Democracy 250 celebration. It was two-hundred and fifty years ago that democracy was first practiced in Halifax, and one of the many events to commemorate this is an authentic 18th Century Costume Ball. Well, how convenient for us that we started these “costumes” a few months ago! Johanna put in some extra time to get the Marine’s uniform ready to go, as well as some significant final touches on the Passage to India. As of right now, they should be finishing their meal and getting ready to dance (the event was tonight). Expect pictures in the next few days!

This post, however, was intended to bring to a close the Behind the Uniform series, touching on the few remaining accessories necessary to bring a Royal Navy uniform to life. I believe that in the conclusion of my last post I mentioned the sword, hat and boots. Let’s start there!

Replica of Lord Nelson's sword, reputed to have been used at TrafalgarAs it turns out, these three items (along with the lace) would account for some of the most expensive purchases here at Man the Capstan. The sword was the most difficult—there are hundreds of options to choose from, and frankly, nearly all of them are way out of budget. We quickly determined that a functional sword was unnecessary (we figured that the chance the need may arise for cold, naval steel, would be decidedly low, albeit incredibly cool). There are many online shops you can order weapons from—axes, mauls, maces, swords, daggers, bows, muskets and event flintlock pistols. Functional, full-tang, replica, etcetera—it was all available, and usually far overpriced. Pictured right is a replica of Lord Nelson’s sword obtained from Military Heritage, in the 1827 pattern (issue replica), reputed to have been worn at Trafalgar. Check out this, and more, at MilitaryHeritage.com!

The temptation to buy the 1805 replica of Lord Nelson’s sword (with accompanying sword knot) did present itself, but wisdom and the almighty budget prevailed.

Our sword, not as glamorous, certainly, but adequete!Eventually, we found something (pictured left). We bought an excellent officer’s sabre (in gold), that cost (with shipping from California, blargh) about $80.00. It was worth it, however—it was the cheapest, and finest-quality sword for the price we could find. Alongside the sword, we ordered an authentic R.N. sword knot, the same variety that’s used in the present-day Royal Navy.

The sword comes with scabbard rings as well, so when a sword-belt is purchased, she’ll hang comfortably from the hip with hangers, as it should.

We still need to buy two more swords for the Marine and the other R.N. uniform (the Marine is using my gold one tonight for the Ball), but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.Naval cocked hat, c. 1748, taken from NMM.ac.uk

Now, the hat presented a real problem. For months, ever since the project started, we scoured the Internet looking for appropriate hats. The problem here is twofold. First, choosing the right hat was difficult, depending on the time period. Cocked hats were losing popularity towards the end of the 18th century (see attached picture of an older cocked hat, taken from NMM.ac.uk). Older admirals and distinguished Captains often held to the old style they were accustomed to. Younger naval officers, however, took quickly to the new fashion that had been appearing in London, in response to a trend that was taking quick hold across the channel in France. The chapeau de bras was a cocked hat of sorts, worn in the fore-and-aft fashion, that could be folded and tucked neatly beneath the arm when not in use. At the turn of the 19th century, the chapeau bras saw widespread use in the Royal Navy. The Hornblower series illustrates this transition nicely, in fact (and I’m not sure if it was accidental or not). Our intrepid hero, Horatio, wears a cocked hat (the older style) in the beginning of the series. Episode 5, on the deck of the HMS Renown, Hornblower has taken to the chapeau bras, and wears it alongside his fellow lieutenants. The insane Captain Sawyer—an old friend of Nelson, and a distinguished naval officer of many years—still wears the older cocked hat.

Velvet-felt chapeau de bras, from the Sutlers Stores — this is a beautiful hat, and the Sutlers have some incredible productEventually, we opted for the chapeau bras. It looked cool, and it fit into our time period more accurately (we’re figuring around ~1805 or so).

Secondly, finding an affordable chapeau bras was turning out to be an impossible task. Most sutlery and reenactment sites were charging over $200.00 in some cases (and in others, far far more), and that was far beyond the Capstan budget. Granted, these hats are beautiful hats (the pictured let comes from the Sutlers Stores, a gorgeous selection of hats, belts, and other accessories). I contacted a number of milliners, and while they were exceedingly helpful, and directed me to lovely choices, all of those hats were very expensive. As much as I’d love to have a fully trimmed, velvet-felted hat, it just wasn’t feasible. We began to lose hope in finding a decent chapeau bras (and we even were looking to see if we could make our own, a scary thought) until we found Hatcrafters.

Our wool-felt chapeau bras, in the midst of being trimmed — notice our tailor's choice of clamps?These guys were awesome. Within sixty seconds of finding their site, I had navigated to the catalogue and found the hat we needed. Right there, in front of us. The chapeau bras, wool-felt hat, in black. And the best part? It was $80.00! Shipping would bring that up, naturally, but the goal we set was a hat for under $100, and we found it. We immediately ordered two, in the right size, and when they arrived they were perfect. Well-lined, with a quality leather sweatband, with nary a defect. There were a few wrinkles in the shape of the hat, but a bit of steam above a kettle fixed that pretty quick. The third hat just arrived a few days ago, and right now we’re all set as far as hats are concerned. The Marine had has been fully trimmed, with silver gilt wire and a black cockade. In fact, Steve (our Marine) should be wearing it tonight at the Ball (I can’t wait for the pictures). Pictured right is our Marine’s hat in construction!

Captain Aubrey and his black "Hessians"The last problem presented would be footwear. This is one of those “blurry” lines in the whole debacle. Taking a look at older uniforms (and particularly in paintings and portraits), officers often wore different footwear, depending on a number of conditions such as style, the occasion, and personal taste. Taking a look at pop culture and mainstream media, for a moment, the intrepid Captain Jack Aubrey of Master and Commander wears white breeches with black leather Hessian boots. It makes for quite the swashbuckling appearance (especially with the white ruffled shirt). Hornblower takes to a number of styles, from long navy breeches with buckled shoes, to white breeches, stockings and shoes. Some officers use black boots with navy breeches as well. You can see an example of Aubrey’s black ‘hessian’ boots, with the white breeches.

Personally, I liked the look of the longer navy breeches (down to the ankle); the former blog posts show that’s the direction we took. With this style, you can’t have stockings, though you could wear buckled shoes. Instead, I opted for black leather boots. I like Aubrey’s look, and wanted to try to incorporate that into the uniform.

The problem? Leather is expensive. There are polyurethane alternatives, but honestly this takes us back to the “costume” debate; you can spot plastic and polyurethane miles away, and we want to avoid that. The trick was finding a decent pair of boots that looked good, and were a decent price.

Pleaser's Maverick knee-high leather bootsThe Internet, once again, proved invaluable. A few listings on eBay were tempting. We avoided them all mainly due to size concerns. Large calves run in the family, and as honest as many eBayers tend to be, we cannot afford to order boots that won’t fit, and must be sent back (or resold). Amazon.com has a marketplace, and on it we found a listing for a pair of boots manufactured by a company called Pleaser (they do a large assortment of footwear), called the Maverick. (I wonder if this link will still work, if not a quick google search of “amazon.com maverick boot knee” should return some results).

For about $100.00 (with tax and shipping), we had a great pair of boots that not only fit great, but look great. The cuff can be turned down, as shown, or unfolded for a taller boot. I like the flexibility of the pig leather, and the authentic look. We may have to look at getting some extra soles added for extra walking. I have a feeling the rubber will just not cut it. You can see the boot to the right.

There are a number of other accessories the uniform will feature, small things sucha a pocket-watch with a gold anchor fob, looking glass, boatswain whistle, etcetera—for the most part, however, the first Royal Navy costume is complete. We are still waiting on about ten metres of bias and stand trim for the front lapels (which is why we’ve avoided posting more pictures here, like an artist hesitant to show an unfinished painting). We’re hoping that the lace will arrive soon, and we can finish this project. October 31st is coming up fast, and come Halloween the Capstan Crew will be out in force for a night out.

I noticed a steady increase in traffic these past few weeks; I encourage any interested parties to leave a comment, or pose a question! Stay tuned, we’ve many more updates coming!

Behind the Uniform, Part II

Wolfville's historic Blomidon InnIt’s fantastic to see so many of our contributors authoring posts here at Man the Capstan! Things are really picking up, and we have some exciting events coming up on the horizon.

Before I get into more detail on the uniform construction process (and in this part I’ll be looking at the materials used for the coat, as well as some detail on a few accessories), I did want to mention that Man the Capstan had its first “gathering” of sorts—a briefing, if you will. We came together on September 9th for nearly three hours, and discussed the project, its present status, and where we hope to be in the near future. We also made some arrangements for an upcoming event for the Capstan Crew—as most of the costumes will be nearing completion by October 31st, Man the Capstan may be ready to debut the reproductions in public very shortly, and to a great location.

I won’t get into too much detail on what we have planned, as that’s for another blog post!

Back to the uniform, now (in case you missed it, here’s Part I). We started gathering supplies for the first R.N. reproduction in high summer. After we had received the patterns for the coats, we needed to find an appropriate material that would best reflect what was used historically. Back then, of course, the most accessible material (and the most practical) for military use was wool. Wool varied in quality, depending on how wealthy a given officer was, but the most common was broadcloth—contemporary broadcloth can be made out of nylon or polyester, but in England in our time period, it was made of heavy strands of wool. When I say “heavy”, mind you, I really do mean heavy. You put on a full dress coat, sans lace, you’re looking at eight to twelve pounds of cloth!

Close up of the gabardine, and the watch!

Ever in the pursuit of historical consistency, we took to the Internet and attempted to find some wool goods, specifically a broadcloth or coatweight wool. Unfortunately, not only is this material largely inaccessible for what we need, it’s also exceedingly expensive. For the yardage we needed, broadcloth was out of the picture. We took a trip to a fabric store in the city, hoping to find something cheaper, and happened upon gabardine—even more important, we found it in the precise colours we needed. Navy, off-white (an ivory kind of colour), and scarlet (for our intrepid Marine). Gabardine was far more affordable as well, and we could easily line the coats in order to capture the proper weight of broadcloth. A coat of this manner has to hang properly, and we thought we could achieve such an effect. You can see an example of the gabardine in the pocket-watch picture, to the right.

Before any serious cutting could commence, it seems fate struck and we hit jackpot. Our seamstress, on an outing to another fabric store, happened upon a heavy wool-nylon blend (80/20). It was navy, it was heavy, and it was perfect. It had the texture, appearance, and weight of a heavy-woven wool cloth. Thankfully, there was enough left (it was a clearance item) to sew one R.N. coat.

The wool-nylon blend, cut and ready to go

So the first coat was made out of the wool-nylon blend (you can see it being cut out, to the left) . The interior of the coat is lined with an ivory satin and ivory gabardine (the arms and torso are in the satin, while the tails are lined in the gabardine). The pants were a polyester blend (which is nice as far as wrinkles and creasing are concerned), and are also navy in colour. The waistcoat is gabardine (also lined in satin), and all told, every piece came together perfectly. More than anything we were increasingly impressed with the look and feel of the wool-nylon blend. It was sturdy and really fit the part.

Textiles aside, one of the most important part to the R.N. uniform is the gold and glitter. Of all the components for the R.N. uniform, the cloth and the lace were some of the most expensive. Lace is tricky—you can’t afford to be cheap (no pun intended, there) with the lace. It is such an iconic part of the uniform; the difference between a costume and a uniform, we soon found out, was the difference between cheap, fabric-store gold lace, and authentic metallic military lace.

Gilt wire lace, the expensive stuff

We had a few choices here, as well. The Royal Navy used a variety of laces. In the late 18th century (ending sometime in 90s) the Navy used bias-and-stand gold lace—a gold metallic tape with a very unique pattern (of which the lace is known for). Towards the 19th century the Navy adopted a gilt wire lace (shown right). The bias-and-stand feels more to be threaded metal, whereas the gilt wire feels like woven wire. It’s sturdier, more difficult to work with, and very very expensive. We found some gilt wire for $22.00 CDN a metre, and we needed fourteen metres! That would be $310.00 for lace per uniform, which works out to about a grand on lace alone for the uniforms. That really wasn’t feasible.

The bias and stand lace on the left, with buttons

So we opted for the bias-and-stand. It was still historically accurate, though perhaps a few years behind our intended period. The bias-and-stand proved to be easier to work with than the gilt wire (we actually procured some silver gilt wire for the Marine, but I won’t get into that right now) and has a certain charm of its own. The bias-and-stand was ordered from Military Heritage, a fantastic site that has a host of great supplies for reenactors and history enthusiasts. They’ve created uniforms and accessories for movie projects, documentaries as well as heritage work for the Government of Canada.

Royal Navy Buttons, ca. 1950

One of the greatest tools, we’ve found, has been eBay. The buttons for the coat (and the waistcoat) concerned us—many online sutlery and reenactment sites listed buttons as being quite expensive. When you need over thirty buttons per uniform, that can add up to be quite the unnecessary expense. Fortunately, eBay proved to be an invaluable resource. For our R.N. reproduction, we fount a lot of actual Royal Navy gold-tone buttons (featuring the King’s Crown)—we believe they date to the 50s, when Great Britain had a King. This was a relatively small expense, and we ordered enough buttons to cover both Royal Navy uniforms.

With the cloth, lace and buttons covered, I’ll save Part III for the sword, hat and boots! Stay tuned for more Captsan Updates here at Man the Capstan!

Behind the Uniform, Part I

The silver epaulettes and crowns of the MarinesWe’ve had a surge of activity recently, and there are a few reasons for that!

It seems that the Capstan Crew gets excited whenever new materials or accessories arrive, and that’s quite understandable. Over the past few weeks quite a few new additions have been delivered for the Royal Marine Uniform. As a result, a lot of research, reading, sewing and planning has been done on that particular reproduction. You’ve read about, and have seen a few sneak peeks at that particular project (you’ll note the picture our talented seamstress posted featuring our sewn redcoat, as well as the updated profile picture on the Crew page).

I’ll abstain from going into detail on the Marine coat, as that is not my place. Suffice to say, as more work is done on the uniform, you’ll see quite a few pictures and editorials. Much fun to be had!

A terrible example of your typical Napoleonic-era costume.For now, however, I’d like to write about the first reproduction the Capstan Crew focused on, namely the Royal Navy Captain’s uniform. It was the first step our tailor has taken as far as uniform reproduction is concerned, and a lot of work precipitated any actual labour. One does not simply pick up a needle and thread and start sewing.

I cannot convey accurately how difficult it is to develop a “costume” like this. I put costume in quotations because I really hate using that term to describe what we’re doing here—these reproductions have gone far beyond that. It would be an honest insult to Johanna’s handiwork to call them costumes. They are uniforms. I digress, however; these uniforms are difficult to develop, and I’ll go into detail as to why. Pictured right is a terrible example of your typical Napoleonic-era costume.

First off, when one is searching for a Napoleonic Era costume or uniform on the Internet, or at a costume shop, they would be hard pressed to find one—uniforms of this era demanded a certain style and accuracy, a practice many costumers seem to shy from. Most costumes from this era tend to favour the late 17th or early 18th century, before naval uniform regulations came into effect—this naturally allowed a fair bit of leeway in custom creations. This era, of course, is far before the chaos of the Napoleonic period, and even before the tumultuous French Revolution. The uniform of the Royal Navy was quite varied and dependent on the income of the officer at this time, and it was only until the 1750s when it became truly regulated.

Beautiful gold-tone buttons and trimEven with such regulations in place, our contemporary definition of a uniform was quite different from a British officer’s! When we envision a solider in his uniform, one might understandably assume that his compatriot’s uniform will look identical to his own, and this would be true. With the terrible convenience of mass produced cloth goods and manufactured clothing, it’s incredibly easy to churn out a thousand uniforms that are nigh indistinguishable from one another. In the 18th century, however, there weren’t any mass produced uniforms. Each officer went to his own tailor, or a recommended tailor, where the finished production was dependent on the tailor’s skill and the income of the officer. Even with regulations in effect, a rich Captain could afford real gold buttons and silver buckles, while a poorer Captain may have to suffer with brass buttons and pinch-back buckles.

So you can imagine the difficulty we had in deciding what type of uniform to create. They were all different! There wasn’t a step-by-step process we could take in developing something that demanded accuracy. To deviate from the uniform’s intended appearance would be a grave mistake—these reproductions are not swashbuckling outfits or thrown-together seafarer costumes. They represent a proud history of servicemen, and to capture such a dignified history demanded a certain attention to detail.

Russel Crowe as the heroic Jack Aubrey, R.N.Eventually we ended up relying heavily on a number of sources. It was easy to use the crutch of Hollywood and popular mainstream media—blockbuster hits like Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (the protagonist, Russel Crowe as Jack Aubrey, is pictured right) and the Horatio Hornblower made-for-T.V. series. While these uniforms are excellent, and in many cases quite accurate, we ended up using a more academic source. Early on in the project I stumbled across the National Maritime Museum website, a wonderful institution located in Greenwich, England. We used the NMM site for two reasons. For one, it was a bonafide source. This is as close to the horse’s mouth we could get. Two, it had some pretty spectacular high-resolution shots. When you’re working from generic patterns, and you have to improvise in order to capture a certain look, you can’t use shoddy low-resolution gifs on Google. You need quality, and NMM provided.

R.N. Captain's CoatI welcome you to browse through the NMM’s uniform collection. The Capstan Crew used this particular uniform for the coat, as it seemed to encompass the rough time period we were looking for, and it looked cool. Our seamstress worked diligently to capture the rough appearance of the above coat, and the result turned out to be spectacular. With some careful improvisation to some generic costume patterns she procured, a fairly accurate reproduction of that ca. 1810 coat was cut. It has since been sewn, lined and trimmed. The cut of a coat, however, is only part and parcel of the larger picture. The necessary accoutrements is what truly makes the uniform worth working on (it also turned out to be the most expensive part of the ordeal).

The next installment of Behind the Uniform will focus more on the raw materials and accessories used. We’ll try to be as detailed as possible, but feel free to ask any questions! We’re more than happy to field them.

Costume Updates

One of the purposes of Man The Capstan is to chronicle our journey as we get ready to go to the Tall Ships Festival in Halifax in July of 2009. I know this seems like an awfully long time in advance, so why must we work so far ahead you may well ask? Well…we have a plan, a plan to dress in complete period costuming when we attend, and of course such preparations take time.

1790's Reproduction Day Gown

Cotton Chintz Gown

These costumes will include two full dress Royal Navy Officer’s Uniforms and one full dress Royal Marine Officer’s Uniform. It will be the 250th year anniversary of the opening of the Royal Navy dockyard in Halifax as well which coincides with the Tall Ships, so these uniforms should be quite appropriate for this.

There will also be two Ladies gowns with accessories and lastly a costume for an infant. The time frame we are aiming for will include a period from approximately 1790 to about 1815. Neither Shara nor myself really wanted a regency period style gown, we went instead to a time just a few years before the first regency style gowns appeared in about 1796. I’m not sure at what time these diaphanous gowns came to be worn in the colonies, as style from Europe didn’t always make it across the sea for several years after their original emergence on the continent. Even today it can still sometimes take a number of years for fashion trends in Europe to become popular in North America, so there is no reason to believe that it was very much different back then.

At the moment there are three costumes in production. The first is the  Royal Navy Officer, Post Captain’s Dress Uniform, the second, the Cotton Chintz Ladies Day Gown, called “The Passage to India”, and the third a Royal Marine Officer, Major’s Dress Uniform.  These are in various stages of completion, as we are slowly acquiring the accoutrements with which to finish them. It is a time consuming, (since I am the only seamstress on site) and often expensive project, which sometimes proceeds at a snail’s pace.

R.N Post Captain

R.N Post Captain

From the very beginning we decided that authenticity was important to us, as was the quality, so therefore we have literally searched the world over for the materials and accessories required. Thanks to the Internet we have been able to order items from all over North  America, England, China and even Pakistan, from the West literally to the East. I think our mail delivery guy is really starting to wonder what we’re up to in this house at the end of the long, long, laneway!

Still to be started is another Royal Navy Officer, Post Captain’s Uniform with slight variances from the first, another Ladies Day Gown which shall be called “An English Rose”, and also period wear for an infant as we are soon expecting an addition to the family.

We have made reservations at a very old Inn near the waterfront, (see our links) a place where the Royal Navy officers, who were posted at the garrison, often danced the night away with the finest Ladies of Halifax. The old house was built in 1860 and was reputed to be one of the finest homes in Halifax at the time.

Royal Marine, Officer

Royal Marine, Officer

Today, (as for at least the past 125 years) it operates as a fine Inn. We have recently found that the wife of the original owner was a second or third cousin to one of my husband’s own ancestors, so that’s keeping it all in the family I would say, and makes the whole thing even more fun! The ambiance and setting of this place will be just perfect for our costumes! We are looking forward to staying there and perhaps rubbing elbows with a few past residents/guests…🙂

I’m just hoping that the weather won’t be too warm!  The breezes that  blow off the Atlantic ocean are generally very cooling though, so I imagine it won’t be too bad on the shore. The uphill hike from the pier on the waterfront to the Inn will be another matter altogether…

Please keep in mind that the photographs on this blog are of costumes and uniforms under construction.  There is still much to be done and they are a work in progress.

We welcome your comments and/or questions.

Man the Capstan Launches!

After some difficulty deciding how we’ll set this blog up, we’re finally live and ready to go.

Clicking on the History link to the right will offer a brief summary of Man the Capstan and its intended purpose; to highlight naval and other historical reproductions. Blog posts will be categorized according to that particular project.

There are two people presently working on Man the Capstan, and hopefully both will be providing content to share.

That’s all for now, but here’s a painting of the historic HMS Victory at sea.