Fillers Fifty years ago

Academic dress

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 10 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1007

In your issue of June 12 (Supplement, p. 165) it was announced that no hoods were to be worn during the Cambridge Meeting because the Chancellor would not be present. perhaps as an expert on academical dress, and the author of a work of 220,000 words on this little-known subject, I may be permitted to say:

  1. The Meeting in Cambridge this year is a B.M.A. Meeting and not a university function. That Cambridge happens to be a university town is an accident. and the Association is absolutely free to do as it likes in regard to dress.

  2. The wearing of hoods has nothing whatsoever to do with the Chancellor, who resides in South Africa, and is unlikely to be in England more than one week in 156. Are we to believe that all hoods are to remain in cold store for 155 weeks out of 156? In the absence of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor presides and deputizes for him, and acts as head of the university. Therefore, if the wearing of hoods depended upon the head being present, the Vice-Chancellor fulfils this requisite condition. (Actually it doesn't depend on it.)

  3. The only university function is that before the Vice-Chancellor on Tuesday, June 29.

  4. At B.M.A. Annual Meetings, when academical dress is prescribed, full dress should be worn. Those who do not hold a doctorate (M.D., D.Sc., ph.D., etc.) can only be in full dress provided they wear gowns, hood, bands, and cap. Doctors are in full dress when they wear scarlet gowns or ph.D. Cambridge or London gowns, with or without hood. Oxford doctors never wear a hood with the scarlet festal gown.—I am, etc., Sussex, Charles Franklyn. (BMJ 1948;ii:27(suppl))

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