• Lee-ann Simpson

London Top Hat, In Outback Australia

My favourite part of the day is relaxing in the morning with a coffee and my friends, I go to work every day not knowing what will happen from one moment to the next.

As I was sitting enjoying my coffee, made from one of the best baristas in town, a customer walks through the door with a dilemma. It’s actually a thing that happens quite often and one in which I wish I could, but cant always, help. The problem was that this particular customer was helping her mother downsize and they had a garage sale, but unfortunately were left with a lot of stuff that they could not sell and had wanted me to come and have a look.

I was unsure, because sometimes you see after a garage sale is done, quite often all the collectable stuff has been picked through and bought and there is not much left. As a vintage and collectable wares business its not always a good option for me, but I like to help out where possible and in this instance I agreed to go and have a look.

We pull in to the drive way and enter the shed where the sale had been held, the first thing we see is furniture that is made from the 50-70’s era. Veneer, ply-board and chip-board, unfortunately these items don’t hold the monetary value like they use to, so I kindly let them know to call their local charity shops and ask for a pickup. I then go to the next aisle and there is the most amazing lounge in velvet green tones that looked a little like corduroy. It was so retro, but alas it had been sold. Oh well ‘them’s the breaks’.

So onto the smaller items, there was e.p.n.s silver ware, a basket, a cute little wobbly table, two cookie jars and a nice set of drinking glasses. I set all this aside and continue looking, I like to take my time looking and talking with the people. It’s hard downsizing and seeing your possessions being sold, growing old can be quite challenging and I like to respect the people that we deal with. She had a massive amount of jigsaw puzzles that I absolutely love, I’m a sucker for a good puzzle but I too already have a huge collection of them and sadly had to pass as they don’t sell well.

As I wander down looking through everything , off to one side I see a plastic bag with something black inside. As one that is curious and needs to know what everything is, I pick it up and oh my its a Top Hat. I laugh because I love this sort of stuff, I pull it out of it‘s bag and its in immaculate condition, it looks almost new. I love dress up so naturally I put it on my head and say ‘what do you think?’ The lady tells me that it was left behind on a farm and when they bought the place there it was.

Naturally I wanted the hat, it was cool, it had a logo on the inside and I could see it was from London. That was all I knew at that stage as I’m not an expert in any of this and I’m constantly researching and learning every day. So on the little table it goes with the other items. The last item we picked up was a single chair covered in vinyl another classic. We managed to buy some stuff and mingled for a little bit and hopefully helped the process of downsizing for them be a little less stressful, I left them with the name and contact with the charity shop and we said our goodbyes.

Back at the shop I cant wait tell the girls about the hat, its the first time I’ve ever owned a genuine Top Hat and I know that they are going to love it. Lily loves to research and gets the name and finds the info on the original store and finds its still operating today. Its the oldest Hat company in the world and the oldest business in London still trading and has been trading for over 350 years. OH MY GOD that’s amazing.

Lock & Co. Is the oldest hat shop in London. Our passion for hats is limitless and our knowledge unrivalled. For 345 years, Lock & Co. have worked with the best felts, tweeds, cloth, and cashmere fabrics sourced exclusively from around the world. Drawing from our unique British heritage and craftsmanship, we create both traditional and modern hat designs, with scrupulous attention to quality and fit. Our hat shop was established in 1676, making us the oldest hat shop in the world and the oldest shop in London. Every Lock & Co. hat purchased is carefully and expertly had-prepared in our London shop by one of our Hatters, before being whisked out of our famous green front door at No. 6, St James’s street. Two Royal Warrants attest to Lock’s commitment to hat quality that is trusted and respected; everything that you would come to expect from Lock & Co. - the of hats since 1676.

I’m in love with this hat, and more importantly how did it end up on this small farm in outback queensland. Someone once purchased this hat from the No. 1 hat company in the world and then left it behind. This hat is in such good condition that it looks like it has never been worn. Its immaculate.

Who was this person that purchased this hat? Were they buying it for themselves or for someone else? You would have thought that it would have be a prized possession, So how does this hat get left behind…..

This hat came from a very well renowned store with some past customers of this historic shop being the famous Charlie Chaplin and Oscar Wilde and Royals like The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh. You would believe that a hat with this kind of importance and history would have been passed down for generations.

Made from the finest silk and hand crafted, what is to become this hats new home. Will it be worn with pride as it should be, added to a collection with other fine hats, discarded in the back of someone’s wardrobe to gather dust, or to be put on show in a museum for all to enjoy?

What will be of the continuing journey of this London Top Hat, found in Out Back Australia?

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