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" The Great British Hat Makers "

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Chepstow, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Richard Morgan

    Richard Morgan Practically Family

    All great hats, thanks. I'll be watching for progress on the rehab of the Lees
    steur likes this.
  2. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Karl, Jared, thanks. Not sure it could be called a Lord's hat, because they only lack the brim binding and are the same as homburgs in colour and ribbon. Whatever you'd call it, it's still a very cool hat though.
  3. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Richard, thanks. I can't wait for the Lees to come back from restoration, but it may take a while (so I've been told). I'll post it as soon as it makes its way back.
    Redfokker likes this.
  4. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Posted this one in the Homburg nation thread earlier, but it does belong here too. Woodrow (or J. Woodrow&Sons to be complete) homburg in grey, size 59. Brim at 6cm and crown 11cm at the pinch. Really wonderful felt. Woodrow was one of many Stockport hatters. The company didn't make it out of the decline in hat sales of the fifties and merged in the mid-fifties with Battersby. Early to mid-fifties for this one I think. Never handled one of their hats before but it really is a high quality hat. This one is lined up to be part of the next hat-exchange Holland-Italy with Daniele.

    woodrow_2.jpg woodrow_1.jpg woodrow_3.jpg woodrow_4.jpg woodrow_5.jpg woodrow_6.jpg woodrow_7.jpg woodrow_8.jpg woodrow_9.jpg 1920s-advertisement-for-woodrow-hat-makers-tailors-of-piccadilly-london-EAY9W1.jpg
    -30-, Lefty W., Bob Roberts and 2 others like this.
  5. -30- and steur like this.
  6. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Karl, thanks. I'm amazed that almost all of the English made hats I find of this era are of this very high quality. They really did know their stuff back then.
    -30- and KarlCrow like this.
  7. They were a very very wealthy nation back then, with few restrictive domestic economic practices compared to other European nations, and a class system then categorised by felt amongst other things. It's hilarious how they now yern for their weaknesses and forget their strength, but hey ho. The top is too wealthy and the bottom too poor, both to be educated.
    steur likes this.
  8. Bill Hughes

    Bill Hughes Practically Family

    Here is one I recently picked up. It's has "Gledhill's, Proprietor H. Watson, Westgate House, Wakefield" on the Liner and "The Wultilt Guaranteed All Fur" on the sweatband. The sweatband seam is taped and not sewn. I am thinking the age would be 1930s? The color number is listed as 8936 and is called the "N" word. I posted a picture of the tag but removed the word that could possibly cause offense. But it can be read on the actual tag. The size is 7 1/8 UK. The felt is nice and soft and the crease holds any form I put it in. There are a couple of insect tracks on the under side of the brim and I found one moth divot on the topside of the brim. All-n-all it's in really good shape.

    I have looked but have not been able to find any information on this fedora. Anybody know anything that could help in the search?

    IMG_3425.jpg IMG_3426.jpg IMG_3427.jpg IMG_3430.jpg IMG_3432.jpg IMG_3434.jpg IMG_3437a.jpg IMG_3433.jpg
  9. Sure is a nice looking hat. I'm eagerly awaiting some information as well. Cool one Bill.
    Bill Hughes likes this.
  10. Super find! I will see if I can find anything. Is there anything else on the size label at the rear of the sweatband or the paper label? Where did you find it?
  11. Bill Hughes

    Bill Hughes Practically Family

    Bought it from someone I know in North Carolina. He had it listed on eBay for many months. I finally talked him into accepting an offer I made several months ago.

    I had not seen this union label the first time I looked. The flash makes it brighter than it is. Really blended in with the sweatband.

    Large 54 beside the union label.

    Writing by the taped seam and size tag.

    Also found this four digit number stamped under the sweatband. I think it’s 9334 but can’t be sure.
    steur, RJR, BobHufford and 1 other person like this.
  12. Sorry for the late reply. I couldn't find anything specific. The following came up Westgate House, Wakefield.

    The Law Journal Volume 22 (Bankrupt List Feb. 12, 1887)


    Handbook to the provincial traders of Great Britain and Ireland. Drapers, hosiers & outfitters & milliners, 1871


    The London Gazette August 13, 1880


    Gledhill's, Proprietor H. Watson could be a trader / wholesaler / retailer. It's also possible they were a small hat company but I tend to doubt it. It appears the hat was made in England (Union Stamp) but there are no company marks on the paper label. Unfortunately we don't have much of database on the English Hat Industry. Stefan might see something that points to a specific hat company.
    steur and Bill Hughes like this.
  13. Bill Hughes

    Bill Hughes Practically Family

    Thanks for the information. Does the the union stamp help date the hat to a general timeframe? I don’t think it would be as old as the 1880s but maybe the 1930s?
  14. The info I posted has nothing to do with the hat itself. These are companies that I found that were located at West Gate House, Wakefield. This is all I could find and nothing came up on Gledhill's, Proprietor H. Watson.

    My guess is that the hat is from the WWII era based on construction (materials, methods). I think there is some information on the Union stamp if you search but I believe this style was used up to WWII.
    steur, Redfokker and Bill Hughes like this.
  15. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    That's a great looking hat, Bill. Almost certainly pre-war judging by the liner. Gledhill's nor H. Watson were listed as a manufacturer. Most of the English hat manufacturers were based around Manchester (Stockport or Denton) and there were some in London. Because neither name is listed on the 1902 and 1945 lists of English fur felt manufacturers there is very little to go on I'm afraid. The 1902 list names 89 hat manufacturers (it was down to 55 in 1945), any of which could be the maker of this hat (well, not any, but most). I own several English made hats and most use the same type of label inside the sweat. This one I have not seen before.
    The English union was based in Denton, but the union label was not changed for a long time, so that does not give any more clues. Untill we find a similar hat we might as well stick with Gledhill's.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
    -30- and Bill Hughes like this.
  16. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I posted this one earlier in the new hats thread, but it belongs here too. Battersby Superior homburg in black, size 58. Quite a wide brim for a homburg at 6,5cm, crown at 11cm at the pinch. Lovely felt and well done finishing. The creases in the ribbon will come out after a little more TLC. The way the bow and ribbon are done make me think it might be even older that the late forties to early fifties I think it's from.

    Attached Files:

  17. John1988

    John1988 New in Town

    Hi I was just wondering if you could tell me more about this hat please. What type of hat is it, it’s age. All I know is that it’s from ga dun & co London Piccadilly Circus many thanks

    Attached Files:

    steur likes this.
  18. As posted a couple back by Stefan, here is my take on this Battersby "Superior" Homburg came in a package from the Netherlands. This homburg will be a daily driver, suits or t-shirts, this one just feels right. Stefan thinks this one is from the 1940s to early 50s. Super soft felt for a homburg, nice finish. Classic styling drew me to this one, and I needed a British Homburg for my international collection. Size is a 7 1/8 English, which is a 58cm. With a little nudge, fits just right. This one will get a bunch of casual wear.

    16Jan18 Battersby Homburg crown 2.jpg battersby homburg side.jpg battersby homburg front.jpg Battersby hat factory 600x.jpg Always_be_Hatted_by_Battersby 600x.jpg
  19. steur

    steur My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Another one I found yesterday. You don't find that many English made hats and this is my first Lock&co hat (in my size that is. Bought one some time ago in a larger size but that needs some fixing. Lock&Co of St. James's pride themselves of being the oldest hat shop in the world (since 1765), which is something to be indeed proud of. The hat I found is an older one of theirs, mid-fifties to mid-sixties and it gives me the opportunity to finally compare their hats with those of other English makers. Lock&Co was never a manufacturer, which is to say they never made their own felts. Lock do begin at a disadvantage with me, I must confess, because I did visit the shop once. I didn't intend to buy a hat there, but I thought a nice souvenir would be nice to have: a hat-brush. They charged me fifty (!) pounds for it without batting an eyelid. I was too stunned to make anything of it then, but I guess having a shop in St James's does come at a price. It's a nice enough brush, but come on! Look them up on youtube and you'll find several little videos where they stress again and again that they are the oldest hat shop and there is a fair bit of snobbery involved about them having made Lord Nelsons hat and them having invented the bowler hat. I have serious doubts about that latter story but that's for another time.
    Here's the hat. Lock&Co fedora (they would probably call it a trilby) in black, size 57. Raw edge brim at 5cm and crown at 10,5 cm at the pinch. lined with an onionskin/oilskin covering of the crown patch. Sold through Ernst of Köln, Germany.

    lock_2.jpg lock_1.jpg lock_3.jpg lock_4.jpg lock_5.jpg lock_6.jpg lock_7.jpg lock_8.jpg lock_9.jpg

    So how does it compare? Well, not too fabourably I must say. I will not comment on the shape (it's a bit of a stingy). The felt is not bad, but on the stiff side and I've seen better from virtually all the other Englsih makers (especially from Denton and Stockport). The only one that really is worse is Christys' (but those were modern make Christys' hats, which are just one nudge up from a cardboard box). Lees, Moores, Woodrow, Dunn, Battersby, Chestergate are all far better. I'd say it's on par with Wilson and Sutton, the lower tier of English hatters. The ribbon and bow work is not that great. From a hatter with that lineage I would expect much neater and sharper work. Their reputation, prices and attitude are not matched by this hats at least. There, I've said it.
  20. Wow Stefan, tell us what you really think! ;) I can see what you are saying though, not touching this hat, the images of the finish don't show a stellar smooth finish. It is nonetheless a nice hat, just not quite what you would expect from the legacy of the branding.
    AbbaDatDeHat, -30- and steur like this.

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