The Peaky Blinders Hat: What Is It?

If certain styles in our new Herdy Country hats range seem familiar to you, it may be as a result of the hit TV series Peaky Blinders. Since then the Peaky Blinders hat worn in the TV series has become increasing fashionable, albeit without the accompanying razor blade accessory!

Peaky Blinders is a British period crime drama set in Birmingham, England, after the end of the First World War, in 1919. The Peaky Blinders were an urban street gang from Birmingham that existed towards the end of the 19th century up to the early 1900s. The gang was involved in lots of unsavoury practices, from robbery and racketeering to illegal bookmaking.

Members of this gang dressed in a particular fashion: tailored jackets, waistcoats, overcoats, and topped with a signature flat cap. The name “Peaky Blinders” was the nickname given to the gang because they stitched razor blades into the peaks of their caps to be used as a weapon in fights with competing gangs.

What is the Peaky Blinders hat called?

Herdy Country hat, made with Herdwick wool

Throughout the series the main cast are shown wearing predominantly two types of headwear that were popular at the time: the flat cap and the baker boy, or newsboy, cap.

People often call baker boy or newsboy caps a flat cap, but they are in fact a derivative of the flat cap. You can learn all kinds of wonderful facts and history about the flat cap here on Herdy World.

There are a few key differences between the flat cap and the baker boy/newsboy cap.

To start, baker boy/newsboy caps are looser in fit and have more volume resulting in a baggier look, and whereas the flat cap features a single piece of material from the peak to the back, baker boy caps are typically made from eight triangle panels of material that join at a central point at the top of the head. This join is also normally covered by a button finished in cloth or leather.

The differences in construction between a flat cap and a baker boy/newsboy cap results in a different fit on the head. Baker boy caps sit more loosely and on top of the head, whereas a flat cap fully wraps and hugs the cranium.

Why are they called baker boy or newsboy caps?

Herdy Country hat, made with Herdwick wool

Whilst it is true that many baker boys and newspaper boys wore this style of flat cap during the early 1900s, it was not worn only by boys.

The newsboy or baker boy goes by other names too, especially in the USA, such as a “newsie” cap, a Cabbie Cap, and a Paddy Cap. These, too, are names that draw associations between the hats and the jobs their wearers worked in. Newspaper boys, like a lot of working class boys and men, commonly wore this style of cap in the late 1800s/early 1900s, as did dockworkers, high steel workers, farmers, and tradesman of all kinds.

Their introduction in the USA likely came from working class Irish immigrants. Irish people had been arriving at America’s shores long before the 1900s, but the Great Famine of 1845–1849 saw a peak of Irish people seeking a better life away from British colonial rule by emigrating to the USA, where they took their customs and clothing styles with them.

This style of headwear was adopted by the English “upper” classes in the early 20th century and became associated with country sportsmen, ‘motor car’ drivers, and wealthy golfers.

The new Herdy Country Hat range

Herdy Country hat, made with Herdwick wool

Evocative of times gone by, our range of Herdy Country hats are entirely handmade in Britain by skilled artisans. Which style will you choose?

Check out our new Herdy Country hats range!

Are you a fan of Peaky Blinders? Let's have a natter in the comments below, or you can join the flock on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (you can email us, too).