The caricature of an Englishman used to include an umbrella, a brief-case, and a bowler hat.
Although this is an outdated image, it still recalls a class system that defines the British character.
The first bowler was designed in the mid-1800s by London hatters James and George Lock as a protective riding hat for Thomas William Coke.
The headgear became synonymous with property owners and consequently the gentry or well-to-do.
The hat got its name from Thomas and William Bowler, the hat-makers who produced Coke’s prototype.
Americans call this hat a derby, probably because it was so prevalent within the wealthy compound at major horse races.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was one of the last of his generation to make the bowler high fashion.
London’s trademark black high-roofed taxicabs were designed so that gentlemen wouldn’t have to remove their bowlers.