Peter Riis, proprietor of The New Companion and a “shameless and hardened belletrist,” noticed the recent renaissance of hat-related posts here and sent me a link to a glorious advertisement he had posted a couple of years ago:

“P ray observe me,” quoth Brummel, while sipping his wine,
“E ver banish that horrible skullcap of thine.
R eform altogether that villainous Tile,
R esembling a bread-pan in fashion and style.
I must cut ye, egad! tho’ feel hurt and all that–
N ever know any man in an infamous hat,
G et a chapeau of PERRING and place on thy sconce,
S uch a hat as can rivet my friendship at once.

“H e alone can supply, since old Dolman is dead,
A covering fit for a gentleman’s head.”
T hen repair to the Strand, only PERRING can show
S uch perfection of fashion, with prices so low.

8 to one are long odds, but I’ll bet it that I
5 hundred new shapes can from PERRING supply.

S uiting contour and feature, complexion and height,
T he young and adult, the stout and the slight,
R emember his Hats, though resisting the weather,
A re as light as the Plume of an eider-down feather,
N o where else can ONE GUINEA such Beavers command,
D on’t forget, PERRING’s HATS, then, of 85, STRAND.

–From Leigh Hunt’s London Journal, July 2, 1834.

Next time I am in London, I shall make sure to visit number 85, Strand, to acquire a chapeau for my sconce. If I am to be a Regency buck, I must endeavour to look the part.


  1. Photos or pictures please! I haven’t the foggiest notion of what a Perring is.
    Speaking of fog, where did Foghat get their band’s name?
    I remember my days as a salesman for Lew Weinburg at 100 South Main Street in Memphis, where Kangols were the rage. I understand they are still on the market, and still have a following.

  2. “My brother and I, long before I was in music, were playing this word game, kind of like Scrabble. . . . We were making up silly words, and foghat was one of them. We thought it was hilarious. We used to laugh about this sort of nonsensical word. Years later, we tried to use it in one of the early blues bands I was in. We tried to get the singer . . . to change his name to Luther Foghat, and he wouldn’t do that. Then, when we formed the band [that would become] Foghat . . . we were going to be called Brandywine, which is a horrible name for a band. At the last minute, I suggested the name Foghat. I did a drawing of a guy in a hat with fog coming out of it . . . . The label said, ‘All right, that’s fine,’ and the band agreed to it and said, ‘At least we’ve got a logo.’ So that’s it – no real deep meaning to it. . . . We liked it because it had no meaning really, it was just a name, and it didn’t tie the band to anything. . . .”
    —Lonseome Dave Peverett, quoted in Rock Names: From ABBA to ZZ Top: How Rock Bands Got Their Names by Adam Dolgins (Citadel Press, 1993)

  3. Investigation reveals that since my pioneering post Baldwin Hamey at London Street Views has put up a detailed article on “John Perring, hat maker” with images of the actual shop as well as various ads (including this poem, at the bottom of the page), and considerable historical information. He also includes the magnificent passage from Carlyle I quoted in this 2009 post, and I learn thereby that it was Perring who constructed the giant hat!

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