Thursday, 10 January 2013

Get ahead - get a hat


This photo was taken from an 'information' board attached to the new pavement works being carried out in the area around the Guildhall, Bath (where the council meets) at a cost of £2.5 million, and not the £1 million that they told us it was costing - but that's another story.

The photo was taken in 1910, and shows crowds gathered to listen to a Royal Proclamation to do with Queen Mary, the monarch who used to turn up uninvited to various country houses with a retinue of about 30, and bankrupt her reluctant hosts by overstaying her welcome by about a month.

There are two things that strike me about this picture, and the first is that crowds of this magnitude have only been seen at an event that was associated with a member of the royal family once since, and that was for the funeral of Princess Diana. Prince Charles arrives at the Guildhall at least once a year to conduct the AGM of the Duchy of Cornwall, whose lands stretch from Bath right down to the Duchy itself, but the only notice that people take of him is as a result of a handful of bored motorcycle police, who while away the time during the meeting by playing with the sirens on their bikes - just because they can.

The other thing about this picture is that EVERYONE is wearing a hat. Up until the late 1940s, nobody left the house without a hat unless they belonged to the criminal underclass, and even they usually wore hats of varying quality, when their children would often go without shoes.

Bring back hats, is what I say.

11 comments:

  1. Here here!
    I always have one on
    Btw I have just seen a photo of JACOBS LADDER on Bath's cathedral.....lovely

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    1. The elderly old git that carved the replacement has only just shuffled off the coil, I believe. I had the job of moving all the Victorian plaster-casts of the 16th century original to their basement once - very interesting to see how they weathered over the years.

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  2. Dear Tom,
    I remember my grandfather always wearing a hat when outside (he was the one who thought it unmanly to push a perambulator).
    I own (and wear) a large collection of hats - adore them - and put a few of them in an older post on 'You are Witty and Pretty'. Husband wears a hat in winter, Son too (which adds to their height, both being slim, but tall). So: I do what I can to fulfill your wish - and you? Are you wearing a hat? Your family?

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    1. You really want to? Oh go on then - put on a steel helmet with a spike on top. Just that.

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    2. Sorry, but ever since I found out that you were from 'minor nobility', I keep thinking of 'The Grand Illusion'.

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  3. Bring back hats? Perhaps. I'm all for bringing back wigs, a la GF Handel, myself. We could at wear floppy silk hats in the evenings. And banyans. And shoe buckles. Seriously.

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    1. Yes - I would go along with that, but I do not have the legs (or knees) for silk stockings. Honest. Ask John if you don't believe me.

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    2. Never a truer word uttered

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  4. The expression 'If you want to get ahead, get a hat' wasn't coined in vain. Hat manufacturers must have become as wealthy as bankers.

    Mine rarely leaves its rightful position.

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    1. Remember when we shared that room in Moor Park one night? I think you kept your hat on all night then, as well.

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