Ward, Paul (2015) Icons of Englishness: The Beefeaters at the Tower of London, 1826-1901. In: De la crise à la critique : tension, évolution, révolution en Europe aux 19ème et 20ème siècles. Cahiers de Centre de Recherche sur les Identités Culturelles Comparées des Sociétes Europénnes et Occidentales (25). L’Harmattan, Paris, pp. 19-44.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a new icon was added to the imagery of Englishness, alongside the established symbols of national identity such as Britannia and John Bull.1 By 1858, the Beefeaters at the Tower of London were established enough as national symbols to cause controversy when it was suggested that as well as their ceremonial red and gold uniforms, they should have a work-a-day (and less expensive) uniform for all but state duties. Within a few years, this new uniform had also taken its place in the national gallery of images and representations of the nation. This essay examines the Victorian period as an epoch of crisis and the response by the monarchy in creating a visual image of historical continuity based on loyalty to the Crown and constitution. By the end of the nineteenth century, the distinctive Tudor costume of the Yeoman Warders and their highly visible role at the Tower of London made them iconic symbols of national identity in Britain.

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