Movember with the Empress Rainbow Follies

2 November 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Men in formal dress with large moustaches

Detail showing some of the fine moustaches sported by the Empress Rainbow Follies. Archive reference PR/652

Every year we mark Movember, the charity moustache growing month, with our gallery of maritime men with impressive facial hair found in the collections of the Maritime Archives and Library.

Moustaches from the past is a selection of elegantly turned out men who embraced the moustache and wore it with pride – and could shave at sea in a gale. Hopefully these will inspire and encourage Movember participants in their efforts to grow their own moustaches.

This year’s two new additions to the gallery of  are the nattily dressed members of the Empress Rainbow Follies. 

The Follies were an entertainment group who were all crew members on the Canadian Pacific vessel Empress of Britain I. These photographs were taken around 1913 and show the group in costume and in their normal working uniforms, although one member seems to have forgotten to remove his comedy wig in the full version of the photograph above, which you can see in the Moustaches from the past gallery on the website.

group photo of men wearing clown costumes

The Empress Rainbow Follies in costume. Archive reference PR/652

The photographs were kindly donated to the Maritime Archives and Library by the descendants of John Walker. He is on the right of the back row of the photograph of the Follies in costume. He doesn’t have a moustache, but we won’t hold that against him as some of his fellow Follies are sporting fine examples.

You can see many more great moustaches in our Moustaches from the past gallery.


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