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Abstract

Academical dress enthusiasts have observed—with a mixture of sadness and consternation—the decline of academical costume during the last several decades. There can be little doubt that academical dress is now absent from such settings as grammar schools and university lecture theatres, where it was once regarded as the norm. For many, academical costume is regarded simply as an historical curiosity, the somewhat bizarre attire that garnishes the graduation day with the quintessential trappings of medieval English ceremonial. Despite this, special interest groups have emerged with the intention of promoting the wearing of academical costume over and above its use in graduation ceremonial, both on a national and local basis. These groups, whilst not necessarily promoting the rigorous scholarly engagement with the history, design and practice of academical dress that characterizes the mission of the Burgon Society, nevertheless attest to a perceived need actively to encourage the preservation of academical costume. [Excerpt].

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