Hat Industry and Headwear Collection

Luton has a long association with the hat industry, both in this country and around the world. As one of our significant collections we have over 700 hats and pieces of headwear alongside material and objects from the trade and retail sections of industry.

There are new hats that came directly from local companies and old hats that have been worn. We have men’s, women’s and children’s hats. Most are made from straw, but we also have fabric and felt hats.

We have hats from the 1700s and hats that were made recently. Many of the hats are fashion hats, but we have some interesting hats that were used for work or as part of a uniform.

In the Luton Life Gallery, you can only see a sample of what we have in the collection, but you can learn about the breadth of Luton’s industry and hear about the working life of people who made their living from hats.


If you would like to find out more about Luton and the straw industry click here