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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bowler Hat

The bowler is a low-crowned, stiff-brimmed felt hat. The first bowler hat was sold on December 17, 1849. It was designed by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler for Lock and Co of St James, London, and was ordered by the British soldier and politician Edward Coke for hunting. According to legend, when Coke arrived to pick up his hat he placed it on the floor and stood on it to test its strength. Satisfied, he paid his 12 shillings (60p).

Bowler hat, mid-20th century (PFF collection).

The Bowler hat was called billycock for a time, after William Coke.

General Gordon hardly spent anything on himself and he often wore shabby clothes. The general left China to head to England in his gunboat towing his new suit in the water to make it look old and crumpled to go with his bashed in bowler hat.


It was Queen Victoria's oldest son Prince Edward who popularized the bowler hat to wear in town

It became in the 20th century (and remained until the 1970s) the indispensable headgear for men working in the City. 

The bowler hat is familiar round the world as part of the costume of Charlie Chaplin.

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