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Battersby's Hat Works as it appeared in 2009.
Battersby Hat Works, Offerton, after the fire in 1906.
Battersby Hat Works, Offerton, c. 1910.
Battersby Hats window display in Waterford, Ireland, 1928.

Battersby Hats was the trading name of Battersby & Co, a hat manufacturer of Stockport, England. The firm once had a capacity of 12,000 hats per week but it declined in the second half of the twentieth century and merged with other hat manufacturers in 1966 before hat production ceased altogether in 1997.

19th centuryEdit

Battersby's Hat Factory in Offerton, Stockport, first appeared on Ordnance Survey maps in 1895.[1] At one time, Battersby employed over 1,000 people.[1]

20th centuryEdit

In May 1906, a fire gutted their factory at Offerton.[2] The fire started on the evening of the 22nd and burned all night destroying the warehouse and "enormous stocks" of straw and felt hats and part of the working area. The cost of the damage was estimated at about £50,000.[3]

In 1907, they bought a second factory in Conty, near Arras in the north of France.[4] William John Battersby's son, Edgar died there in the 1917 Battle of Arras, and his son Ernest, who managed the factory died on 1 October 1918 at Yvetot, near Rouen from tuberculosis.[4]

At one time, the firm was one of the largest hat manufacturers in Britain with an international trade. For an Australian court case of 1935, James Johnson Battersby sent evidence that his company had the capacity to produce 12,000 hats per week.[5] They had London offices in Nicholl Square, EC1, and later at 5 Roseberry Avenue, London, EC1.[6]

In 1966, Battersby merged with four other felt hat manufacturers, Christy & Co Ltd and T. & W. Lees Ltd, both of Stockport, and J. Moores & Sons Ltd, and Joseph Wilson & Sons Ltd, both of Denton, to form Associated British Hat Manufacturers.[7]


After a gradual decline, hat production at Associated British Hat Manufacturers eventually ceased in 1997.[8] The factory was used as the first Hat Works museum before the exhibitions were moved to the newly renovated Wellington Mill on the A6 in 2000.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "OFFERTON INDUSTRIAL ESTATE". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Hat Factory Gutted by Fire" in Edinburgh Evening News, 23 May 1906. British Newspaper Archive. Retrieved 8 December 2015. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Hat Factory On Fire" in The Evening Telegraph and Post, Dundee, 23 May 1906, p. 4. British Newspaper Archive. Retrieved 8 December 2015. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Ernest Battersby's Edwardian abundance". maryevans. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Purchase of a Hat leads to claim for damages". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 December 1935. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Battersby and Co". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  7. ^ Associated British Hat Manufacturers. Grace's Guide. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  8. ^ Denton and the Archaeology of the Felt Hatting Industry by Michael Nevell, Brian Grimsditch and Ivan Hradil. ISBN 1-871324-36X

External linksEdit

  Media related to Battersby Hats at Wikimedia Commons