Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Bridport: Hat’s the way to do it!

BRIDPORT is to host the UK’s first ever Hat Festival.

Come to Bridport... We're having a Hat Festival

It could become the world’s biggest celebration of headwear and millinery, and it should provide an additional incentive for tourists to visit Dorset in the early autumn.

The plans are being backed by some of the industry’s biggest names.

The first Hatfest will run for three days from Friday, September 17 to Sunday, September 19. It will include themed talks, demonstrations, gigs, street theatre, workshops, exhibitions and competitions. There will also be a few surprises revealed nearer the time.

The festival will aim to teach us more about hats...

... and particularly to remind us how stylish they can be

The man behind the festival is Roger Snook whose West Street shop, T Snooks, attracts customers from around the globe, including many celebrities.

Roger said: “It is a project that I”ve been considering for a little while now. I think it’s something that would benefit the whole town.

“When I first started thinking about it I was convinced there must already be one already in existence somewhere in the UK ­ but there isn’t.

“Winchester has a hat festival but that’s for street entertainers, the only other ones are in France and Egypt.

“The Bridport Hat Festival is to be an annual event to remind people just how stylish wearing hats can be, and how stylish Bridport can be.

“This should be good for local traders, the town generally and the whole hat industry. There are so few hat shops left in the country, and it’s a real shame.

“I have hat aficionados coming to my shop from as far afield as Derby and Norwich. People that are serious about their hats go mad for them.

“And, apart from anything else, a hat festival would just be great fun. It will attract people to the town and be a great early autumn attraction.

Help fill in the details...

“If anyone has any more ideas than we’d love to hear from you.”

You can contact Roger at or by calling 01308 458224.

Roger Snook, in his South Street shop, wearing his own Colonial Panama trimmed white

6 Responses to “Bridport: Hat’s the way to do it!”

  1. The Red Bladder

    That is all well and good Mr Snook but I have noticed that the hats you sell come without any instructions. The socks you offer are exactly the same. Surely you owe it to your customers to supply a comprehensive instruction manual with the products that you offer?

  2. Dee

    Fantastic idea – can’t wait to visit & get some more hat ideas. I have however found Mr Snook to be very informative about the wearing of hats & his advice in selecting a special one was most appreciated, no manual needed as I can pull my own socks on!!!!

  3. The Red Bladder

    That may well be true of you, Dee, but there are those that do not share your obvious skills and need a little guidance in these matters. Why should they be denied one of their basic human rights? Few hats carry any indication of which is the front and which the back. This can lead to needless and completely avoidable embarrassment. Likewise with socks. Which one goes on which foot? Which way round should they be put on? These things are a positive minefield for many and a simple set of instructions would alleviate all of these problems. We would not buy a computer, a camera or a microwave oven, whatever that might be, without a set of instructions so why should we be expected to suffer shoddy service when it comes to hats and socks and, come to that, scarves, gloves and ties?

  4. Bill Stanley

    Perhaps, just for once, The Red Bladder is on to something here. I recently purchased a pair of socks from Mr Snooks’ extensive emporium and could not help but notice the complete absence of any European Safety Compliance certification. I thought the law stated that all products have to be rigorously tested for electrical and mechanical defects that may make them dangerous. The law is there for the protection of us all.

  5. Dee

    OH NO, Red Bladder & Bill, I do believe you guys are onto something here. The thought police have obviously been about in Bridport and have removed all the left / right foot instructions. We shall all have to gather on Bucky Doo Square and work out a way to right this wrong.

    Now that you come to mention it, I too noticed that none of the Deerstalkers came with a front & back note – what if they were tied wrong & that rendered the wearer incapable of seeing? Not the done thing at all ….

    Come to think of it, I did not see any obvious instructions on the gloves either. One could spend loads of time trying to work out left from right & you never know if you end up with two rights or two lefts?

    And the matter of ties? They really ought to note the number of times they can be knotted & perhaps even instructions on the knots – in these days of fast dressing, one needs to know how to do it properly so as not to be found to be …. wanting!

    Perhaps the HAT FESTIVAL should have a stand with learned folk who can instruct us in these matters ….

    If anyone is in touch with the Mad Hatter (I believe that is the appropriate title), could they bring this rather delicate matter to his most urgent attention & report back here ….
    With most grateful thanks D

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