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Victorian Hats

Information produced by the Thames Discovery Programme for a family event at the RSPB Rainham Marshes, June 2011

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VICTORIAN HATS
Hats were popular throughout the Victorian period.
They were worn much more than they are today. Both
children and adults wore a variety of hats and caps.

                     Hats were worn for all sorts of
                     occasions such as:
                     1) To indicate a person’s job or as part of
                     a uniform
                     2) For wearing when in town, or in the
                     country
                     3) To indicate the status or importance of
                     a person.
                     In Victorian times it was much easier than
                     today to tell from a person’s dress how
                     much they earned, what they did for a
                     living or where they came from.

                     Practical concerns did influence hat
                     design, however, in the later years, the
                     hats became a symbol of style statement
                     and authority. The kind of hats worn by
                     women and men were different.




      Images from http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/
Men’s Hats
                             The top hat (a tall silk hat)
                             was generally       worn   for
                             formal day and evening wear.
                             A light grey top hat was worn
                             in the 1860s for racing
                             parties. In the 1870s, there
                             was a rise in the number of
                             hats that were considered
                             appropriate     for   informal
                             wear. The wide-awake, a broad-
brimmed felt hat with a low crown was popular as a
countryman’s hat. Caps of firmly woven wool which were
close-fitting were also worn by the Victorian men.




            Isambard Kingdom Brunel
"Mad as a hatter"




The Hatter is a character in the story of Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland, written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll, who first appears
in Chapter 7 "A Mad Tea Party". The phrase "mad as a hatter" was
common at the time and had been in use since 1837. In 18th and
19th century England mercury was used in the production of
felt, which was used in the manufacturing of hats. People who
worked in these hat factories were exposed daily to trace
amounts of the metal, which accumulated within their bodies
over time, causing some workers to develop dementia caused by
mercury poisoning. So the phrase "Mad as a Hatter" became
popular as a way to refer to someone who was seen as insane.
http://www.exit109.com/~dnn/alice/rackham/rack8.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_as_a_hatter
Women’s Hats
In the 1860s, the main
headwear for women was
the bonnet. The sunbonnet
was made from different
fabrics       protected    a
woman’s face and neck.
Hats were also used by
young women and girls.
Most of the hats used were
trimmed      with    ribbons,
Feathers, flowers and at
times, veils.

Hats formed an essential
part of a woman’s apparel
and as a result, they would
always wear a hat when
they went out. The hats
were layered on a wire
base covered with straw
braids or twisted fabric and was made from velvet,
satin, cotton and tulle fabrics.

                         Birds were used as decorating
                         piece on the hats and this was a
                         fashion in the last half of the
                         19th century. The hats were
                         ornamented by bird parts like
                         their wings, breasts or at times
                         the whole bird was used. The
                         Brazilian blackbird was in
                         demand     for    becoming     a
                         showpiece on the hat.
                         http://www.victorian-era.org/victorian-era-
                         costume-hats.html

                         Images from
                       http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/
Links to the River Thames and Trade




      “Such feathers as those shown above, may well have a
   fascination for all womankind, from a duchess to a coster's
                          sweetheart”.

A good idea of the way in which ostrich feathers were
stored is gained from this view
of a room in the Cutler Street
Warehouses, which were the
property of the London and St.
Katherine's Docks Company. In
these     warehouses,    which
covered four acres and had a
floor area of 630,000 feet, tea,
silk, cochineal, carpets and
piece goods were stored in
addition to ostrich feathers of
great value. Cutler Street is in Houndsditch, within
easy access of London and St. Katherine's Docks.
http://www.victorianlondon.org/ql/queenslondon325.htm

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Victorian Hats

  • 1. VICTORIAN HATS Hats were popular throughout the Victorian period. They were worn much more than they are today. Both children and adults wore a variety of hats and caps. Hats were worn for all sorts of occasions such as: 1) To indicate a person’s job or as part of a uniform 2) For wearing when in town, or in the country 3) To indicate the status or importance of a person. In Victorian times it was much easier than today to tell from a person’s dress how much they earned, what they did for a living or where they came from. Practical concerns did influence hat design, however, in the later years, the hats became a symbol of style statement and authority. The kind of hats worn by women and men were different. Images from http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/
  • 2. Men’s Hats The top hat (a tall silk hat) was generally worn for formal day and evening wear. A light grey top hat was worn in the 1860s for racing parties. In the 1870s, there was a rise in the number of hats that were considered appropriate for informal wear. The wide-awake, a broad- brimmed felt hat with a low crown was popular as a countryman’s hat. Caps of firmly woven wool which were close-fitting were also worn by the Victorian men. Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • 3. "Mad as a hatter" The Hatter is a character in the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll, who first appears in Chapter 7 "A Mad Tea Party". The phrase "mad as a hatter" was common at the time and had been in use since 1837. In 18th and 19th century England mercury was used in the production of felt, which was used in the manufacturing of hats. People who worked in these hat factories were exposed daily to trace amounts of the metal, which accumulated within their bodies over time, causing some workers to develop dementia caused by mercury poisoning. So the phrase "Mad as a Hatter" became popular as a way to refer to someone who was seen as insane. http://www.exit109.com/~dnn/alice/rackham/rack8.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_as_a_hatter
  • 4. Women’s Hats In the 1860s, the main headwear for women was the bonnet. The sunbonnet was made from different fabrics protected a woman’s face and neck. Hats were also used by young women and girls. Most of the hats used were trimmed with ribbons, Feathers, flowers and at times, veils. Hats formed an essential part of a woman’s apparel and as a result, they would always wear a hat when they went out. The hats were layered on a wire base covered with straw braids or twisted fabric and was made from velvet, satin, cotton and tulle fabrics. Birds were used as decorating piece on the hats and this was a fashion in the last half of the 19th century. The hats were ornamented by bird parts like their wings, breasts or at times the whole bird was used. The Brazilian blackbird was in demand for becoming a showpiece on the hat. http://www.victorian-era.org/victorian-era- costume-hats.html Images from http://www.graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/
  • 5. Links to the River Thames and Trade “Such feathers as those shown above, may well have a fascination for all womankind, from a duchess to a coster's sweetheart”. A good idea of the way in which ostrich feathers were stored is gained from this view of a room in the Cutler Street Warehouses, which were the property of the London and St. Katherine's Docks Company. In these warehouses, which covered four acres and had a floor area of 630,000 feet, tea, silk, cochineal, carpets and piece goods were stored in addition to ostrich feathers of great value. Cutler Street is in Houndsditch, within easy access of London and St. Katherine's Docks. http://www.victorianlondon.org/ql/queenslondon325.htm