Welsh costume abroad

Large numbers of people left Wales during the 19th century to begin new lives in Patagonia, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Welsh organisations were established in these countries and many still exist. Some organised Eisteddfodau and St David’s day events.

There are a few photographs, mostly 20th century, of people in these countries wearing Welsh costume, but it is thought that most of the garments are not of Welsh origin. It is unlikely that the clothes that the emigrants wore on their journey to their new homes and until they were well established, would have survived.

There is a Welsh hat in a Canadian Museum; a photograph of a group of women in Welsh hats (probably home-made) on a Cambrian Society float in New Zealand in 1937, and a few photographs of American women taking tea.


Elizabeth Morgan on her 91st Birthday, on the 9th July, 1944, probably taken in America. She is wearing a Welsh hat, paisley-type shawl and long plain skirt.






A Welsh Hat in the Canadian Museum of History, Québec was worn in Wales by Miss Evans mother’s aunt, at the beginning the 1860s or 70s. The hat was brought to Canada by Miss Evans’ mother either in 1912 when the family emigrated, or in 1923 when one of the family estates in Wales was dispersed. It was used in Canada at Welsh music festivals and St David’s Day banquets by the girl usher who dresses traditionally. This hat was the only original in the Toronto Welsh community, so it was used as a pattern for other replicas. Such hats are not seen now at the festivals, but St David’s Day banquet the head table guests are still escorted by girls wearing the hats. The hats are worn with a lace cap. Miss Evans has asked a woman in Toronto to make a cap to go with our hat. The quilted hat band suggests that was made by Carver and Co., Bristol

I would be most interested to hear of any costume and hats in these countries which are thought to have originated in Wales during the 19th century.