The Newsboy Cap we sell at Peaky Blinders is a derivation of the Flat Cap, and its origins appear to be a combination of the 14th Century Italian/Scots ‘Bonnet’ style, and the Irish Flat Cap worn by Irish Farmers and working men of 14th Century Ireland.
In 1571 Queen Elizabeth I sought to stimulate trade in the Irish and English wool trade, by passing an act obliging males over six years of age (except for nobility and persons of degree) to wear caps of wool manufacture on force of a fine (3/4d per day). This law further established the flat cap as a staple of Irish/English working class clothing culture. Even though the law was repealed 26 years later the convention was established.
Fast forward 300 years, and mass Irish emigration to the United States of America brought with it an inevitable influence on American cap fashions of the 19th Century and early 20th Centuries. The 8 piece flat cap style now often known as a Cabbie Cap, Paddy Cap, Newsboy Cap and Bakerboy, became, like the imigrants that brought it with them, totally assimilated into the fabric of classic 20th Century Americana.
Back in Europe, the style was further adopted in the early 20th century by those from higher social orders such as the English upper classes. Seen as an ideal accessory to the new leisure pursuits of the new century, the 8 piece style was now being made from more fashionable tweeds and woven fabrics and became known for a time as a ‘Golf Hat’.
The eight piece style was equally popular with enthusiasts of the new open topped motor cars and became ubiquitous with the early touring cars and their drivers.
Back on the land where it all started, the style became a staple of the landed classes in England and Ireland and their employees, being equally favoured by both the land owner attending Cheltenham Races and his stable boy. The classic 8 piece style cast the flat cap as an iconic fashion silhouette of the early 20th Century and beyond. Continuing to this day including the range of styles that we sell at Peaky Blinders.