Posts Tagged ‘hat’

Top Hat

June 29, 2016

Here we have yet another item given to the museum this month. This one belonged to Tom Gye who died last year. It was one of his top hats. A part of the Gye business was undertaking funerals. We already had the frock coat and trousers Tom wore when on this job. We can now add the hat to the display on the upstairs settle in the museum.

The hat is in a rather careworn hat box.

Careworn hat box but it has served its purpose and kept the hat well.

Careworn hat box but it has served its purpose and kept the hat well.

The hat inside, however, is just fine.


Top hat belonging to Tom Gye

The hat carries the mark of Henry Heath – established in the reign of George 4th and by warrant to His Majesty the King. This must date the hat to the first half of the 20th century.

Henry Heath mark inside the hat

Henry Heath mark inside the hat

The Henry Heath name is also embossed on the hat lining.

Henry Heath embossed mark

Henry Heath embossed mark

The box carries an order and hat number.


That’s order number 5168 and hat number 8307.

Maybe an expert out there could fix the date of the hat from this.

A Straw Boater

December 23, 2013

It may be the bleak mid-winter – a time when we think more of wearing warm coats, scarfs and gloves, but we can look forward to better climes in the new year, or look back to those enjoyed in the past.

In this case we are looking back more than 100 years and perhaps we can imagine a trip out for a picnic and relaxing, on a warm summer’s day by a lake or a river. Or maybe we can imagine a smart young man, sitting near the boundary of a cricket ground and hoping to impress his young lady when it is his turn to bat. What we are looking at is a hat of the Edwardian era, although of a style which stayed in use for much longer. Our batsman will need to change headwear before heading for the crease, for the hat is a straw boater.


This hat dates from the Edwardian era and is a standard straw boater with an elegant black ribbon to set it off. It was made by Tress and Co. They were very well known hatters based in Southwark, London.

The hat belonged to the Gye family. It could well have been a hat worn by Tom Gye’s father. He would have been around 15 when the twentieth century began.

Hat Pins

October 4, 2013

The writer of this blog is male and that may explain lack of knowledge of hat pins. Do people still use them? Where can you buy them? Such questions I just can’t answer.

Our archivist recalls that her granny was always fussing with hat pins but added, ‘I’ve never used them myself’.

Here are some we have at Market Lavington Museum. Elegance, like beauty, is probably in the eye of the beholder, but these certainly have an elegant look.

1930s hat pins at Market Lavington Museum

1930s hat pins at Market Lavington Museum

Let’s straight away dismiss any idea that these are classy items. They are made of steel and probably come in at the cheaper end of the hat pin price range.

They date from the 1930s and were purchased from a Market Lavington shop. It is annoying that our records don’t specify the shop. It may well have been Walton’s or a successor.

The two pins with the oblique cylindrical heads have a definite art-deco look to them, as befits their age. Of the other two, this one


is described as ‘thistle head’.

This one


is in beehive style.

They are such delightful items it seems a shame if things like it aren’t much used any more.

A Mystery hat box

July 26, 2013

This could be a lesson in how not to run a museum – but at least we can show quite a classy hat box which is like a small suitcase and we think it dates from about the 1920s.

It is made of black leather, of a softish kind and is lined with silk. This is it.

A 1920s hat box at Market Lavington Museum

A 1920s hat box at Market Lavington Museum

It is clearly designed to protect its contents with those toughened edges and a double lock.

The hat box is like a small suitcase

The hat box is like a small suitcase

The interior is suitably simple and three sides of the case have T.C. in huge lettering.


The hat box was clearly owned by T. C. but who was that?

Well so far so good but now comes the problem. We have had it in the museum since 1988 and we don’t know who gave it to the museum. We know nothing, therefore, of the history or provenance of this case. Our records say it was given by an unknown Market Lavington donor.

It is not entirely unusual to find items left at the museum with no name of donor. These days we don’t accession them as museum items unless a donor can be traced who can tell us that the item really does connect with our parish.

So this is a rather late in time appeal for a donor to make themselves known. Maybe they could tell us who T.C. was for we don’t know that.

We already live in a world of jokers who suggest it might have been the cartoon character, ‘Top Cat’.  Well, probably not, but the 1926 electoral roll shows nobody with the initials T.C. in Market Lavington. Neither does the 1936 roll.

The lesson has to be, for us and all museums, get your information correct at the time of donation.