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I was chatting with an Edmonton man who runs a small military museum above his gun shop in the city. He also sells some army surplus stuff but may be scaling back that side of his operation.  One reason for this is that surplus military clothing doesn’t fit as much of the population as it used to. Clothing made in the 1950s and 60s, and to a lesser extent the 70s and 80s, is too small for the modern male. It’s not just that we’re getting taller, we’re getting a lot broader too. I’ve often wondered if the Scots are one of the few people who shrank as the centuries passed. More than half of the Gordon Highlanders in 1850 were at least 5’8” tall but forty years later less than a quarter were that tall. The period marked an acceleration in the movement of Scots from the countryside into the industrial slums of the Central Belt. The British Army was one few organisations that recorded the physical details of working class males in those days and I wonder if the decline in height seen in the Gordons’ recruits was reflected in the general population.

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