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Author Topic: A quick fashion question....what fashion item was this?  (Read 518 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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A quick fashion question....what fashion item was this?
« on: 23 July, 2015, 09:30:02 AM »
It became a popular and natty fashion invention and it is still worn today.

But its inventor was arrested for causing a major public disturbance.

When he debuted the new fashion walking down the Strand women fainted at the unusual sight, children screamed, dogs yelped and the young son of a passing cordwainer was so heavily knocked down by the panicking crowd which had collected that he had his right arm broken.

Worse was to follow.

The fashion item's inventor was promptly nicked on a charge of breach of the peace and inciting a riot and had to post a bond equivalent to a stonking 48,000 today.

More specifically, he was accused of appearing on the public highway wearing a fashion item in a manner calculated to frighten timid innocent citizens.

What was the scary fashion item?
« Last Edit: 23 July, 2015, 09:37:31 AM by P-Kasso2 »
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Offline siasl

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Re: A quick fashion question....what fashion item was this?
« Reply #1 on: 23 July, 2015, 09:55:56 AM »
Was this John Hetherington in 1797? He had the temerity to wear a silken top-hat, described in court as "appearing on the public highway wearing upon his head a tall structure having a shining lustre and calculated to frighten timid people."

Other clothing riot related incidents also listed here:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/27298/6-articles-clothing-caused-riots

Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: A quick fashion question....what fashion item was this?
« Reply #2 on: 23 July, 2015, 11:42:29 AM »

That was fast! I don't know how you do it, Siasl, honestly I don't. You'll have to tell us the secret of your amazing sleuthing success. You are of course absolutely right....the mystery fashion item was indeed the innocuous top hat.

What I can't understand is why its inventor, John Hetherington, was ordered to post a bond amounting to a staggering 48,000 in today's money. Even mass murderers seem to get off with far less than that in the courts today.

One small side issue...apparently there are people who say that the reprobate John Hetherington wasn't the inventor of inflammatory top hats at all...Wiki is currently spreading the rumour that it was a chap called George Dunnage, a hatter from Middlesex, in 1793.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_hat
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Offline siasl

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Re: A quick fashion question....what fashion item was this?
« Reply #3 on: 23 July, 2015, 11:59:31 AM »
The "wiki-rumour" comes from this link:
http://www.ascot-tophats.co.uk/News%20Release%20%20-%20The%20First%20Silk%20Top%20Hat.pdf
Which offers no references at all. A bit more hunting offers this link:
http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/time-travelers-alert-historical-history.html
which posits that it was actually invented by the Frenchies over a decade earlier. and this link:
https://chwolfenbloode.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/guide-to-buying-a-top-hat/
says that the Hetherington-riot was a myth (although my second link reckons it was written up in The Times!).
No-one offers much in the way of proper references - the French-origin story says there are pics of the pre-cursor to Dandies wearing them, but doesn't post dated images...