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Worshipful Company of Feltmakers, London

Master Feltmaker Jeremy Brassington
Coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers, London
The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers is today the Livery Company of the hatters. The first reference to Feltmakers is in London in 1180. In 1269 the Cappers became officially established. Hurers made shaggy caps and in 1311 the Hatters were active. The Hurers and Cappers amalgamated with the Hatters and then merged with the powerful Haberdashers in 1502. Many feltmakers were already members of the Haberdashers and, as the Haberdashers controlled the retail outlets and the raw materials, this unification seemed sensible. In 1583 the Feltmakers petitioned Queen Elizabeth I for their own Charter but it was not granted until 1604, when King James I came to the throne. In 1667, King Charles II granted an expanded Charter extending their powers.The Company was granted Livery in 1733, number 63 in order of precedence.

In 1870 - 1874 many famous politicians joined the Feltmakers. Between them four had been Chancellor, two First Lord of the Admiralty, two President of the Board of trade and two Foreign Secretary.

The hatting trade flourished in the early part of the 20th. century. Twenty-seven Mayors were elected in 1914 - 1918. In 1927 there were 9 Knights on the Feltmakers´ Court. During the second half of the 20th. century, the trade declined. There are now some 170 Feltmakers drawn from the higher ranks of many professions, businesses and trades as well as the hatting industry. The Feltmakers have produced two Lord Mayors and are flourishing again.