Edward Bates Ltd have supplied stylish hats and caps to discerning gentlemen from their enchanting Jermyn Street shop in London since the turn of the century.
There was a scene in Are You Being Served where Captain Peacock showed up to work wearing a Homburg Hat and he was only allowed to wear a Bowler. This bit of silliness went on throughout the show, until the ancient Young Mr Grace wandered by and told Peacock he shouldn't wear a Bowler-he should wear a Homburg.
Bates Hats is the kind of London shop that Captain Peacock would have gone to get either a Bowler Hat or a Homburg Hat. Hats, of course, just aren't what they once were. All we have to do is look at old photos or watch a film from the 1950s and we can see that wearing a hat used to be required. Indian Jones is about the only hat wearing hero still around-and he is supposed to be a throwback to those glory days anyway.
I've heard that JFK killed the hat, as he didn't like to wear them and everyone wanted to be like him. Of course, The Beatles didn't wear a lot of hats either. Though John Lennon was found of a number of hats, they were not exactly formal hats. The 1960s changed everything-hats were just one more casualty along the way.
My own love affair with hats has followed a winding path from Cowboy hats to Greek Fisherman caps to my latest-a sort of Sandown cap. Mine is a Stetson Cuffley Cap Made in England. The kind of thing you might see in an old John Wayne movie. Bill Cosby wore one in a short lived Sit-Com based on One Foot in The Grave. Cosby was way too nice for the part.
At any rate, Bates Hats is one of the London spots that you can wander by and feel as if you have fallen through yet one more time warp. Hats-expensive quality hats-are what you'll find at Bates. So go in and have look-you never know when a hat might be just the thing you need.
Edward Bates Ltd, 21a Jermyn Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6HP
Opening Times - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9.30am - 4pm
Closed between 1pm and 2pm, Sat only.