So here it is…my favorite hat in the exhibition. It feels a little sacrilegious to say this as this hat is actually on loan from the Hereford Museum and Learning Resource Centre (If I could do a second blog on the incredible costume collection housed there I would; Over 8000 items!). I do happen to have another firm favorite from the Snowshill collection but today I wanted to put the spotlight on this showstopper. Also, if I ever decide to renounce a career in heritage and open a lovely pub somewhere then I have to acknowledge that this hat has given me the inspiration for the name of my future establishment; the Bird & Pearl…keep an eye out for it tucked among the eateries in Mumbles, Swansea in a decades time 😉
What makes this hat even more special is that it tells a significant tale. When I asked Costume Curator, Althea Mackenzie, what information she had on this particular hat she responded that it was the fashion for killing birds for the purpose of adorning hats and clothes in the late 19th century that led to the creation of the RSPB. A reminder of the sobering and silent narratives woven into historical garments, no matter how spectacular or beautiful they may be.