Our cap badge collection contains almost 400 badges, each one with a fascinating history.
As a student from the University of Leeds, I’ve been lucky enough to undertake my placement year with Leeds Museums & Galleries. It’s been a fantastic year and it has given me so many amazing opportunities that I would not otherwise have had. This is the first in a series of blog posts detailing the various things I have been involved in.
I’ve been cataloguing the collection of cap badges. There are almost 400 of them, ranging from obsolete badges which are no longer in use, to more up to date versions still seen on uniforms today.
Cataloguing includes taking photographs of objects and adding them to the database. Associated people and places must be added, as well as a description and how the object came into Leeds Museums & Galleries collection. This can be anything from a loan to a bequest. Each object is also assigned a category. Cap badges fit into two of the pre-existing categories on the system – costume and military. Some of them also fit into First World War and Second World War. This all means that when someone needs to find an object, they can search by lots of different things, from category to date and description.
However, this exclusivity did not last. Once the 1860s were over, the recruitment basis of the regiment broadened to include doctors, lawyers and other professions. Their recruitment remained more open, but they continued to attract those from the public schools and universities. During the First World War, Wilfred Owen was a member of the regiments Officer Training Corps.
By Laura Varley, First World War Project Placement Student