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Discover more about Swaine London's new products and heritage history.

Article: Herbert Johnson - a Hatter, not a Milliner

Herbert Johnson - a Hatter, not a Milliner

 While a milliner creates decorative headwear with the intent to embellish and adorn, a hatter creates headwear that serves a purpose. At Herbert Johnson, we specialise in the latter.  We have been supplying royalty, nobility, and dignitaries with hats of office for over a century. We also work to supply historically accurate hats for film, theatre, and documentaries, notable examples being The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dad's Army. 



In the late 1800s, General Haig commissioned Herbert Johnson to design a service hat that was both comfortable and durable. The introduction of a floating bevel, made of English felt, set Herbert Johnson's hats apart as it established a sturdy hat structure with longevity. This allowed it to be used both in the field and on parade, regardless of the conditions. In a short period of time, this iconic hat would be referred to as the 'Jack Johnson' and was adopted by all major regiments and the Herbert Johnson method of construction would be adopted by hat makers worldwide.

We continue to honour the Herbert Johnson heritage: all of our hats are still made by hand in our London workshop to the original exacting standards. Supporting the British craft community is important to us and we exclusively source our materials from the United Kingdom.



Every aspect of a military hat has significance. Each regiment is identified by their colours and unique regimental cap badge. The presence of gold work on a peak denotes the rank of the person wearing the hat. Even details such as the angle of a peak serve a purpose. The peak of a Guard's hat sits at a much steeper angle than those of other regiments, covering their field of vision. This means that if a Guard is required to look someone in the eye they must raise their head, changing their posture to generate a more imposing presence. 




At Herbert Johnson, we are proud to support the ladies and gentlemen who serve to protect our liberties. Anyone embarking on a career within the armed forces or emergency services can be assured that Herbert Johnson will endeavour to support them with headwear requirements throughout all points of their career. As our workshop is located in Mayfair, conveniently close to regimental clubs, we can quickly address any aftercare requirements such as cleaning, re-blocking, and re-ranking.

We continue to uphold a Herbert Johnson tradition by supporting the commissioning officers at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, as well as at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth and the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell.

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Indiana Jones - Swaine

Indiana Jones

Swaine's very own distinguished historic hatters, Herbert Johnson, created the hat of one of popular cinema's most enduring iconic heroes.

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Herbert Johnson and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny - Swaine

Herbert Johnson and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

It is November 2018 and I’m in London at an intimate evening gathering listening to Deborah Nadoolman-Landis speak about her career as a costume designer. We are treated to a  couple of hours of w...

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