Uniforms until 1883
The 1st Life Guards.
From the early 1870s to 1883, the 1st Life Guards wore a tunic which was edged all round with wide gold lace and fastened in front by hooks and eyes. A row of small buttons (similar to a mess waistcoat) was worn down the front. The cuffs were round, edged on top by a band of gold lace and, according to G.R. Lawn from his excellent book, “Music in State Clothing”, a row of Russia braid eyes were placed above the gold lace. The collar was edged top and bottom in the same gold lace with a single row of Russia braid eyes centred. The shoulder straps were blue edged gold with a lace “1” on the strap. The rear skirts had a three pointed flap on each side with a button at each point and two at the waist.
The 2nd Life Guards.
Photographs in the 1870s show a tunic edged in narrow gold lace with a distinctive cutaway on the front skirts. Gauntlet blue cuffs were edged at the top, bottom and rear with gold lace and gold Russia braid eyes inside the lace. The blue collar was also edged above and below with gold lace and a single row of eyes in the centre. Gold lace twisted shoulder cords were worn with trefoil ends. The rear skirts had three pointed flaps edged in thin gold lace and no buttons on the points. There were two buttons at the waist.
The Royal Horse Guards.
There is little photographic evidence of uniforms worn by the band of the Royal Horse Guards before 1883. It is possible that the uniform was similar to the 2nd Life Guards with no skirt cutaway.
Uniforms from 1884.
From 1884, all three bands wore essentially the same uniform with elements largely adopted from the 2nd Life Guards. In about 1885/6 the collar became deeper and the braided eyes appeared all round the inside.
The only badge worn on these uniforms were those of trumpeters. The Trumpet-Major (as he was later called) wore his badge below the elbow. It should be noted that trumpeters of all three regiments wore gauntlets on all mounted and dismounted parades where all ranks were doing so.
Photographs show the 2nd Life Guards band wearing large white pouches on their shoulder belts from 1895 to 1902. Small white pouches were once worn on the waist belt at the right from 1874 to 1880.