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Heritage

Our History
  • More Than
    Two Centuries Of Great British Hat Making

    1748 – 2013

    Start timeline

1748 to 1797
  • 1748

    Miller Christy is born at Ormiston Lodge, Haddington, Scotland.

  • 1763

    Miller Christy commences his apprenticeship in the ‘Art and Mystery of Felt Making’ in Edinburgh.

  • 1773

    Miller Christy travels south to employ his hat making skills and on March 1st 1773, in partnership with fellow Quaker Joseph Storrs, they set up a hat manufacturers in Whitehart Court, London.

  • 1794

    Following the retirement of Joseph Storrs, Miller Christy's two sons - Thomas and William - join the firm.

  • 1797

    John Heatherington, a London haberdasher, is apprehended for causing a disturbance of the peace. He was one of the first men to wear a top hat.

1824 to 1894
  • 1824

    William Christy and three partners buy Underbank Hall and open The Stockport and East Cheshire Bank - now part of the National Westminster Bank.
    The Stockport felt and hat making works are taken over by the Christy family

  • 1847

    Christys' wins one of the first tenders for supplying hats to the newly formed (1929) Metropolitan Police

  • 1849

    The Bowler hat is invented by Lock & Co and The Bowler Brothers. Christys, from its factory in Bermondsey, London, becomes one of the largest manufacturers of this iconic British styles.

  • 1850

    Prince Albert wears a Christys' Top Hat - and popularises the style as an every-day essential for the British gentleman.

  • 1851

    The Christy establish a hat store at #1 Old Bond Street, at the corner of Piccadilly

  • 1876

    The Trade Mark Registration Act enables Britain's first trade mark protection. Amongst the first registrations, on 1st March, is the Christys' London trade mark with Royal Garter. It has remained unchanged ever since

  • 1886

    JB Stetson visits the Christys' Stockport factory and writes to enquire 'How Christys maintains such a productive workforce?. Stetson use Christys' design for the Ten Gallon hat - for which Christys received an on-going royalty.

  • 1894

    The Trilby Hat acquired mass appeal following its use as a prop in the London dramatisation of George du Maurier's novel - Trilby (the heroine of the play was called Trilby O'Farrell). It helped signal the gradual shift towards the more relaxed styles of dress of the Edwardian era after the strict dress codes of Victorian times. Christys makes its trilbies in the same way, to this day.

1914 to 1969
  • 1914

    Armed forces hats ranging from Police helmets and Naval Tricornes through to musician caps appeared alongside the Company’s everyday top hats and bowlers. The company were particularly proud of their association with the Dreadnought class of Destroyers in the Royal Navy. Christys employs over 3000 people in Stockport alone, making Christys the world’s largest hat manufacturer.

  • 1920

    The snap brim felt hat is introduced and popularised by the Prince of Wales. The style can be worn not only with lounge suits but also with sports clothes, replacing the cap on the golf course.

  • 1939

    Future sister company Compton Webb (J Compton Sons and Webb) establishes a military hat making factory in Witney Oxforshire.

  • 1950's

    With the gradual decline in hat wearing, consolidation in the hat industry commences. Christys acquire the famous hat brands of Henry Heath, Tress & Co. and Lincoln Bennett.

  • 1960

    Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother visits the Stockport factory, having commissioned Christys to make miniature hats for Queen Elizabeth II’s dolls house many years earlier.

  • 1960's

    With the popularisation of the scooter, the Compton Corker - a leather covered protective helmet - is the headgear of choice for both style and safety.

  • 1969

    The store at No1 Old Bond Street - opened in 1851 as a Christys store and then renamed as Scotts - after the manager of the store - but still owned by the Christy family, is sold to Lock and Co.

  • 1980's

    The Christy Beaufort range of riding and equestrian hats is launched to great acclaim. The Beaufort adorns many great riders and jockeys - including the 2000 Sydney Olympic GB equestrian team.

  • 1990's

    Christys closes its Stockport works and consoidates all operations in Witney Oxfordshire with sister company Compton Webb.

2000 to 2013
  • 2000

    The new millinenium blows fresh life into hat wearing as those at the forefront of fashion and music rediscover and reintegrate hats to the style world.

  • 2011

    Famous Department store Liberty acquire Christy & Co and Compton Webb - and help to introduce the brand to a new wave of style conscious hat wearers, including collaborations with great British brands such as Paul Smith and Margaret Howell.

  • 2013

    Christys celebrates 240 years since foundation - with a special edition fedora hat to be sold at Harrods department store.