Hats and History

In my last post, I mentioned my brother Wulf.  He is a rather more regular blogger than me, with almost daily posts, and on his blog this morning he posted an interesting video he’d found.  Rather than repost the video here, I’ll leave you to visit Wulf’s blog if you want to see it.

The video is two short films of London shown side by side.  They both follow the same route round the city but one of them dates from 1927 while the other was shot last year (presumably with the express intention of comparing it to the older film; I suppose whoever made it didn’t have access to any good footage from 1913 and didn’t want to wait until 2027 to make his film).

It is an interesting comparison with, as Wulf points out, some features remaining the same and others being radically different.

One thing that struck me in particular was how in 1927 the vast majority of people are wearing hats and only a few are bareheaded, while in 2013 the opposite is true.  This is particularly noticeable in a scene showing the market at Petticoat Lane (although, to be fair, the modern version of that scene actually has more hats than most of the rest of the film).

In this respect, though certainly not in the relative formality of the clothes otherwise, I would actually fit in better to the London of 87 years ago than the present day, as I almost always wear some kind of hat when I’m outside.  In fact, it feels slightly strange to me to be outside with my head uncovered!

I have a reasonably large collection of different hats and I wear them for practical reasons (such as keeping my head warm in winter, and protecting my hair and eyes from sun, rain and seagulls) and, I suppose, largely out of habit rather than as a fashion (or anti-fashion) statement.

In the unlikely event that I should ever fulfill my dream of being a time traveller, I suspect that I’d find 1920s London a strange and not particularly comfortable place to be.  At least, though, I wouldn’t have to worry about adjusting to wearing a hat in order to fit in!

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