Chapter 2 - Handmade to Last
A well-liked and equally respected Station Master retired in the late 19th century. After a dedicated career spanning some 40 years, the train company commemorated his service by presenting him with an 18ct gold full-hunter pocket watch from James William Benson and a formal silk top hat from Herbert Johnson, finished in the finest plush complete with its leather case. Decades later, at Swaine Adeney Brigg, the bell sounded and in stepped the Station Master’s great-grandson. He introduced himself and began to tell his story.
The Gentleman inherited the pieces from his Father and felt that they required some expert attention and sought advice from the Shop Clerk. He spoke of how his Father often regaled and reminisced of his youth, listening to grand old tales of the retired Station Master, who would proudly present his ‘top-end topper’ alongside his original collapsible hat—made by none other than Johnson & Co.—and how he wore it on special occasions to meet important people arriving at his station.
Remarkably, the hat—that was one of the finest examples of the bygone silk era that the Shop Clerk had seen in many years—only required a delicate clean to restore it to its rare mirror shine. Silks and felts should be well maintained and kept dirt-free, ideally returning the hat to its box or case after use. The Clerk proposed a full clean, feed and rehydration of the Victorian leather with delicate re-stitching to the corners for the leather case. After hand-shaking and agreeing to the particulars, the Gentleman became a client and friend of the company. Later, the Client had his and his forefathers’ initials embossed onto the case lid to formally mark the journey thus far, ready for the next generation.