Thank you Alf, I did appreciate your comments and a reply.
You are correct about the Bowler hat. I just mentioned it to attract attention by other Bowler researchers. Its just a story in my family. But for sure my Bowler family in Denton were in the Hatting industry. Becuase of this others feel they are related to the Bowlers of Lonodon, England.
The following is what others have sent me in the past. I repeat it for those Bowler researchers who might not have been aware of this history.
Below is the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for William Bowler. It is flawed in that the writer made the mistake of thinking that William and Thomas were father and son. While they were in fact uncle and nephew. William married a Nancy, whilst Thomas' mother Nancy(Williams
sister) was not married - hence the confusion.
William lost his wife Nancy and returned to live in Denton - whilst Thomas went on to greater things.
"Bowler, William (b. 1808), hatter and feltmaker, was born on 25 January 1808 in Denton, Lancashire, and baptized there on 20 March, one of nine children of William Bowler, hatter, and his wife, Esther, née Citlow, who had married in Manchester Cathedral in 1798. The family descended from a long line of hatters in the Manchester area, dating back to 1331, when land was registered in the name of a Thomas Bowler. William Bowler's son Thomas GBowler (1826-1893) was baptized on 10 December 1826 at Denton, his mother, who gave her name as Nancy Bowler, being present.
Having left strike-troubled Stockport, where the hat industry was in serious crisis, William, who had married Nancy Cook on 23 December 1832, and his son Thomas made their way south to seek work at one of the hatting factories in Southwark, London. William joined John Bowler & Son, and probably took over his cousin's premises at 1 Crescent, Southwark Bridge Road in 1853, trading under the name of William Bowler.
Thomas G. Bowler, having been released from his seven-year indenture with his widowed aunt Dinah Bowler of Denton, joined the business of a French hatter established in London. He became foreman and later took over the company, which prospered under its original name, Victor Jay, and later Jay Hats, managed by consecutive generations of Bowlers. On 3 September 1848 he married Elizabeth Park, daughter of a hatter, at St Mary's Church, Lambeth, London.
The hat which subsequently became known as a bowler was conceived north of the Thames at 6 St James Street, the premises of James Lock & Co., distinguished hatters to royalty and gentry since 1667, and still trading at the same address in the twenty-first century. According to meticulously kept handwritten ledgers, 'stiff round crowned hats' were very much in demand during the late 1840s. A new, more practical hat for young and active gentlemen was required during this period, which prompted the evolution of a round hard hat, which looked smart, was protective on the hunting field, and able to stand up to the smoke and soot of nineteenth-century railway journeys.
James Lock & Co. ledgers record an order placed by the Hon. Edward Coke, son of the first earl of Leicester, dated 25 August 1849, for a shooting hat, giving specific measurements of the brim. Consequent entries of orders by young gentlemen and friends of Edward Coke suggest that he might have started a new trend. The ledger refers to each order as 'a brown Coke hat', leading to the assumption that the first bowler was not black, but made of highly stiffened brown fur felt. To this day, Lock & Co. refer to the hat as a 'Coke hat', named after the first customer who ordered it.
According to the industrial legend recorded by Frank Whitbourn in his history of James Lock & Co., published in 1971, William Bowler was summoned from south London, given Edward Coke's requirements for a new hat, and set about work in his factory at Southwark. After the prototype was delivered to Locks, Edward Coke jumped on it, testing its hardness and durability, and, pleased with the result, ordered the new style of hat for the gamekeepers on his estate. Locks' supplier's book reveals, however, that the Bowler factories never supplied Lock & Co. with felt hats. The established manufacturer was J. Ellwood & Sons of Blackfriars Road, which happened to be very close to the Bowlers in Southwark. The link between the supplier, the manufacturer, and the Bowlers, whose name became synonymous with this style of hat, may lie in the secret recipe for the stiffening of the raw material, the felt hoods, from which the hats were made. The stiffening of the bowler hat, which is essential to its shape and silhouette, is the result of an arduous manual procedure. Shellac, a dark, treacle-like substance extracted from the secretion of an insect parasite living on trees in south-east Asia, is chipped, heated, and diluted in methylated spirit. The felt hoods are manually rolled in the mixture, with the spirit evaporating, leaving the shellac in the matted felt fibres. The recipe for felt stiffening, which Thomas G. Bowler used at his factory, is alleged to have come from a village in France. It is likely that a French migrant worker, possibly one working for Victor Jay, knew the recipe and that William and Thomas G. Bowler perfected it for the prolific production of bowler hats, thus making their immortal mark on the development of the English gentleman's dress. In 1890 Thomas G. Bowler headed a household of eleven, residing at 14 Highbury New Park. He served as upper warden of the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers of the City of London and was due to become master when he died of jaundice during a holiday in Guernsey on 5 September 1893, aged sixty-seven. The Bowler dynasty of hat makers continued to thrive at 34 Southwark Bridge Road, and managed a work force of 600 by 1939. Disaster struck in 1940, when the factory was destroyed by two consecutive German air raids during the blitz. The business moved to Great Marlborough Street,
London, and manufactured ladies' hats until 1962.
In the twentieth century the bowler hat took on many roles and became a British cultural icon. It became essential for Charlie Chaplin's satirical image, and personified the character John Steed, played by Patrick Mcgee, in the television series The Avengers in the 1960s, when it was a symbol not only of probity but also of swinging London. In the 1970s the hat became, on the head of John Cleese, in the television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus, a lightly satirical symbol of the British upper class. Worn by Alex (Malcolm McDowell) in Stanley Kubrick's film version of Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange (published 1962, filmed 1971), it became an attribute of gang violence and brutality.
My thanks again Alf,
All my best