Report - - Wislon and stafford Hat Factory | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Wislon and stafford Hat Factory


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28DL Full Member
Done this a while back,done a few times now thought i would share

Atherstone has been a centre for hatmaking since Tudor times.

In the 17th century when the wearing of felt hats instead of caps became increasingly common, Atherstone became the West Midlands centre for the manufacture low cost hats.
Hatting in Atherstone (Warwickshire Libraries)

Hatting in Atherstone

Hats from Atherstone were sent all over Britain and further afield, around the world to British colonies.

One of the largest markets for the Atherstone hatting industry was to equip black slaves in the West Indies and America. Slaves wore a hat called a billycock, which was similar to the kind of hat that was worn by the British army.

It was production of these hats that helped keep the Atherstone hat trade buoyant. They were easy and cheap to make in large quantities and could be worn in all weathers. Another advantage was that they could be made by men who were not yet fully skilled.

When the emancipation of slaves took place at the beginning of the 19th century it had a major impact on the Atherstone hat trade.
Hatting in Atherstone (Warwickshire Libraries)

Hatting in Atherstone

Owners of West Indian and African slaves had been required to provide them with hats, so purchased large amounts of the cheapest felt hats available.

When this lucrative market dried up it left a significant dent in the sales figures of Atherstone hat manufacturers.

"I do believe that the Atherstone hat trade suffered a major impact from the abolition of slavery" says local historian and author Judy Vero. "One only has to look at the records for 1833-4, especially the Vestry Minutes for Poor Relief to see the hardship of the time."

Despite the end of the slave trade, the Atherstone hat industry did remain reasonably healthy throughout the 19th century, mainly on account of the large amounts of wars and conflicts that required cheap headwear for soldiers.

Indeed, the initial impact of the the end of the slave trade was offset by the major 19th century conflicts such as the Napoleonic and Crimean wars.

The real decline did not set in until the aftermath of the Second World War. Despite booms and troughs caused by fashion, the market remained on a downward trend. In the 1970s only three hat factories remained in Atherstone - Denham & Hargrave, Vero & Everitt and Wilson & Stafford.

In the 1980s as the market contracted further, Wilson & Stafford bought out the other two firms, but could not continue much longer. The Wilson & Stafford factory survived for another decade and was the last to close in 1999.

cant find info regarding the actual site and building as such

pics to follow

Read more: http://www.****************.co.uk/industrial/1177-wilson-stafford-hat-factory.html#ixzz1KA2g45IQ
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slides these went from top to bottom




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