Hat Labels

Have you had the experience of leaving your umbrella or cap in a public space only to find on leaving that the item has disappeared? It is obvious that this was a common problem for the Welsh people during the 18th and 19th century when they would take off their hats on entering public buildings.

The Welsh hat was a costly item with prices varying from 8 – 16 shillings in Morris and Son’s shop in Barmouth between 1860 – 1861. To address the issue, some hat owners would have personalised labels printed to stick inside the hat. On the label, they would note their name and would add a verse to ward off any potential thieves.

Storiel have two examples of these labels.

The first label is titled ‘Revenge’ and was printed by David Hughes, Llansantffraid. It suggests that thorns have been inserted into the hat’s band. Anyone wearing the hat would be stung and his or her heads would left spinning!

The second label notes the owner to be D. Evans. This label has a more aggressive tone to it. If caught wearing the hat, the owner threatens that it would result in the thief having a ‘headache, pain in his forehead and shame on his face’.

I wonder if the owners managed to hang on to their hats?!