The University of Bath initially set off, in 1965, with the intention of having a very simple academic dress specification, having only four hoods, all of which would be science awards. Furthermore, it originally determined to have only one gown to share across bachelors’, masters’ and doctors’ undress. The University’s designs were not ground-breaking, being linked to those of the University of Oxford, having an Oxford simple hood [s1], an Oxford doctoral gown [d2] and the University of Cambridge bachelors’ gown [b2]. The colours were chosen to represent the city of Bath: old gold grosgrain (representing Bath stone) being present on all hoods. This colour was also adopted as the University’s official colour and remains so to this day. Through a chance request the University had distinct bachelors’ and masters’ gowns ([b7] and [m16]) for a short period of 1966–97 before becoming standardized, although not reverting back to the initial designs of one standard gown. The system has adapted well to additional degrees being awarded, and indeed some removed and consolidated, whilst firmly remaining in the spirit in which it was initially designed. The aim of this article is to set out the development of the academic dress of the University, how it has evolved over time and how it also maintains a strong connection to the past.

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