Nicholas Groves


As it is well known, and greatly to the annoyance of Charles Franklyn, the robes used for holders of the BMus degree at London fly in the face of the otherwise totally logical (and, as Franklyn often said, symmetrical) scheme. In place of a black hood, they wear a light blue one, and until its abolition in 1997, they wore a light blue gown also. The hood is trimmed with white watered silk. But what is the origin of this, and how did it come to influence other universities? The original 1840 scheme of dress did not make provision for the BMus—it covered just six degrees: BA, MA, LLB, LLD, MB, and MD. It was not until the revisions of 1861–62 that provision was made for music degrees—and even that was somewhat premature, as they were not, at that date, awarded.

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