Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Short Meditation on the Acoustic Properties of a Wide Brimmed Hat

D.C Editor Adam writes… 

As we bumble along on my London Walks, I often ask my London Walkers if they have any questions.

I have now lost count of the number of times than my London Walkers have responded with: "Where did you get your hat?"

I love my hats and get almost all of them from Hornets of Kensington, a wonderful little gents outfitter along the route of my Kensington walk on a Thursday afternoon.

Bill Hornets, the proprietor, trades under the slogan: Not Fashion… Style. In fact, he lives by it.

His pet hate is the beanie hat and he attempts to keep this sartorial aberration at bay with his range of classic headgear. Here's a little film that Bill made…

Here I am on Denmark Street leading the Rock'n'Roll London Walk wearing a wide brimmed number from Hornets…

The other day my London Walks colleague Kim blogged that a hat was a much more useful piece of guiding kit than an umbrella because a hat will keep the London Walks guide dry but will not obscure the view of the London Walker.

Another advantage to the hat-wearing guide is acoustics. With a wide brimmed hat, the guide has a great sounding board. Believe it or not, the brim provides amplification so that the guide can hear himself clearly and can thus pitch his voice perfectly for his group.

I first noticed this a couple of years ago when, after a long winter of wide-brimmed hat wearing, I ditched my fedora and went bare-headed in the springtime sun. The first thing I noticed was the strain on my throat because my sounding board had been taken away and suddenly I couldn't hear myself.

Luckily Bill Hornets sells Panama hats, too!


A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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