Cloth cap ‘class’.
Posted by Big John on March 16, 2007
To me the baseball cap always looks somehow out of place on the more mature Englishman (although, on occasion, I have been known to wear one), and looks completely ridiculous when worn at all angles on the heads of the ‘hip hop’ generation.
In my youth the flat cap was worn by many men and was still very much a symbol of the ‘working class’ in this country, as it had been in my father’s day when just about everyone wore one, including children, as shown in the picture of my uncle Alf (right) which was taken during the 1920s . Even my grandmother is said to have worn a man’s cap (with hatpin) in the early days of the last century.
My dad wore a flat cap for all of the fiftyone years that he worked as a railway carpenter, as you can see from the photographs of him taken during the 1930s. He is the one with the saw, and the one (top left) sitting in front of the two ‘dodgy’ looking characters, who I guess were his mates at the time.
Somehow I can’t see the old cloth cap coming back in a big way, although flat caps of a sort have been seen in recent years as fashion accessories worn by the likes of Madonna, Kate Moss and the movie star Samuel L. Jackson, although he looks almost as big a prat as our ‘clown prince’ as he insists on wearing his back to front ! … These caps are normally of the ‘cheese cutter’ design and are not to be confused with the ‘classic’ British working man’s cap of yesteryear, which had a rather large circular low crown with a stiff peak which was attached to the overlapping front of the soft crown by a press stud. The cap was made of woollen cloth or tweed and not some fancy soft fabric, tartan or leather.
In the past men had caps for work and ones that were for ‘Sunday best’ and holidays, but they were all made of the same thick material and hardly what you would call ideal beachwear; but this did not seem to bother my dad as he sat with my mother (dark dress) on the sands at Margate in 1927.
I have a rather smart tweed ‘Country Club’ cap,which is nothing like the cap worn by my father, but I’m sure that he wouldn’t object if I raised it now and then to the likes of him and his fellow working men of that …
… almost forgotten cloth cap era.