In 1863, Stockport warehouseman William John Battersby refused to change the date of his wedding, a decision that ultimately cost him his job. He could never have guessed that this would be a pivotal moment, not just in his life, but ultimately in the history of the British hat industry. Starting his own business in a rented building with just twenty-one employees, within twenty years he had a purpose-built factory bearing his name, which was to endure for over a century and export to every continent.
A proud and industrious workforce helped the business prosper over generations and through two world wars, until the latter half of the twentieth century saw the once-great industry decline and finally fade away.
Using a wonderful collection of contemporary, largely unseen photographs, accounts and documents, Battersby Hats: An Illustrated History shows the progress of the firm and also the private triumphs and tragedies of the family who ran it. This is a fascinating celebration of the efforts and dreams of the founder, his descendants, and the employees who sustained this world-famous firm throughout its existence.
Rupert Battersby is the great grandson of the founder of Battersby Hats, and son of the last Managing Director. A Manchester University languages graduate, he served in Cheshire Constabulary for twenty-eight years. Married with two grown up children, he divides his time between his dogs, horses and family history research.