Hat’s the way to do it! The story behind one Milngavie man’s impressive hat collection

Gordon Rutherford with his hats
Gordon Rutherford with his hats

His first hat was his school cap, which he wore as a pupil at Glasgow Academy. He was punished once for forgetting to wear it.

When he joined the army for National Service aged 18 he wore a beret and when he worked in a bank Gordon wore a bowler hat every day until the 1960s.

He inherited his father’s Naval Captain’s cap. William Rutherford was a Master Mar-iner who served in the Royal

Fleet Auxiliary after the war, returning to the Merchant Navy and finally serving as master on oil tankers for oil

company Esso. And his father-in-law’s opera topper, a top hat which

can be flattened to sit on in the theatre, is also part of his unusual collection of 60 hats which come from all over the world.

Some hats were a gift from his well travelled daughter Sally who gave him a Nepalese cap, a leather ‘Overlander’

from Australia in 1998 and an authentic red Fez, the kind that was worn by comedian Tommy Cooper, from her holiday in Egypt in 2008.

Gordon said: “I bought hats because I liked them and suited them. I also started losing my hair in my 30s so hats also kept my head warm. I very seldom get a cold.

“I moved on to various Trilby’s in the 1950s and 60s. There were lots of hat shops

in Glasgow and well known makers. I wore tweeds at the weekend and felt hats during the week.

“When my wife Pamela and I started going abroad I bought hats on various trips including Canada, America and Ukraine.

“We were upgraded on a flight once because I was wearing a smart white coat which I’d bought in Brussels with an American Fedora.

“I looked a bit like a gangster, so much so that one day a very large man stood up to give me his seat on a train!”

Gordon’s pillbox hats each have a story to tell - one is be-lieved to have been his grand-father’s smoking cap, and he bought a beautiful black one with red hummingbird design in an Inuit Indian shop in Gastown, Vancouver - it

was a chilly day and his head was cold!

The third one was bought during a cruise in Kiev on the Dneiper river in 2007.

His favourite is a Panama, made by Borsalino, which he bought in Rome for 150 euros.

He added: “True Panama hats come from Ecuador and are made from plaited leaves of a palm plant.”