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    School Boaters 1908 and 1950

    At one time straw boaters were considered to be an essential part of public school summer clothing, and these rare survivors illustrate that Warwick School was no exception in encouraging pupils to wear them. Originating in the Bedfordshire town of Luton, the boater was distinguished by its particular manufacture; namely, plaited straw coiled into a mass from which the hat was made. They are believed to derive from the flat-topped caps of French sailors and were first adopted as children’s wear in the middle of the nineteenth century.  British schools began adopting them as part of their uniforms in the 1880s. Their use at Warwick declined during the 1960s, no doubt as a consequence of the anti-elitist feelings of the time.

     

     

    The 1908 example (on the right) shows the school badge in use in the Edwardian era, whereas the emblem of the bear and ragged staff has been rather crudely sewn onto the 1950 boater on the left.

    1. Boaters