Escaped Prisoner – National Justice Museum

This was a great project – and a highly unusual one at that!

The museum was planning a new interpretation piece and needed costumes for the staff to wear. They had some evidence of a group of prisoners escaping in the early 19th century wearing yellow and black uniforms. Unsurprisingly most were apprehended quite quickly – they did rather stick out in a crowd!

No examples of these uniforms exist in the UK today but there is an example of one from their final destination, Australia. On contacting the curators of the museum it was held we were sent some detailed photographs of the original which we could base this one on. The hardest part was finding the yellow wool. Not something commonly used in uniforms of the past so not replicated now – plus it needed to be coarse as no prisoner was sent out in a finely tailored woollen garment!

The construction of the trousers was particularly interesting as they needed to be able to remove them whilst still in leg chains. So they are buttoned down the outside of the legs and across the top.