by Neil Summers.
Though it started off as the Maypole Hat Works back in 1881 it was early the following century when it’s more recognised name the New Failsworth Hat Manufacturing Company arrived. The name coming from the location of the factory premises at Claremont Street in Failsworth, Manchester with the slightly punchier title of ‘Failsworth Hats Limited’ being adopted later on in 1940. During which time due to the war, production of normal headwear was put on hold and Failsworth were actively employed making leather helmets for commando frogmen and RAF pilots as well as various parts for aircraft.
Once the war was over, the company picked up the pace by signing a major contract with the John B Stetson company in the USA to manufacture hats bearing the famous Stetson name. On the back of this success they continued to forge ahead with their own brand and by the 1950s Failsworth were making 5,000 dozen hats a week, several of which could be spotted on a myriad of famous heads including local legends the Busby Babes.
By the 1980’s Failsworth hats was an early leader in fabric development using micro fibre sporty types of materials as well as fleece to create pioneering warm, lightweight and waterproof products. A far cry from their early days of using fur felt although their traditional hat and cap styles saw a real resurgence with several versions made using Harris tweed, cashmere and lambswool being introduced during this luxury conscious decade.
Having celebrated their centenary in 2003, the brand still has a keen eye on the future and innovation whilst still being incredibly proud of the traditional values of quality, fine attention to details and supreme craftsmanship that they have kept too. Their incredible hats and caps are still made in Failsworth too, just down the road from their old premises where they started off making just 25 dozen hats per week. Failsworth, I take my hat off to you!