Leeds nostalgia: The era when hats were de rigueur

Two pictures from the first half of the last century grace this page today, both of which perhaps show just how much we have changed.

Both show groups of people outside Leeds pubs but whether they were just corralled for the purposes of the picture or were about to embark on some kind of trip, remains unknown.

The first picture dates from 1911 and was taken outside the Albert Inn, Morley.

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It shows 14 men and a dog (in addition to someone having a ‘nosey’ through one of the windows). All but three are wearing hats, including one man at the end, who, according to the YEP at the time “looked a bit of a card”.

The second image shows a much larger group of women, hatted, posing for their picture outside the Malt and Sho vel, Kirkstall.

The accompanying article reads: “Kirkstall used to be another area with a proliferation of pubs and this one was the Malt SHovel in Kirkstall Road, opposite the old tram sheds.”

Mrs A Reynolds, of Ganners Walk, Bramley, who supplied the picture, said: “The year was 1928 and my mother, Mrs Mabel Appleyard, who died in February [1985], aged 94, is sitting behind the lady with the bottle on her knee.

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“Next to my mother is her mother, my grandmother, Mrs Kendal. The pub was run by a Mrs Smithson, who is standing in the doorway.”

As can be seen from both pictures, hats were de rigueur in both 1911 and 1928. It was part of an Edwardian ‘art nouveau’ trend.

But there was also another more practical purpose of wearing a hat, in that it made the wearer appear taller than they actually were.

And for the men, the fashion accessory had the distinct advantage of covering up their bald patches.

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