Email Address

The National Fishing Hat Collection - 16/04/19

As Angling Heritage has grown, so has one of the more unusual and amusing aspects has grown which has often raised a smile – a selection of fishing hats which is jokingly referred to as the National Fishing Hat Collection.


This started many years ago when Angling Heritage’s founder and Trustee Sandy Armishaw attended one of Neil Feeman’s Angling Auctions in Chiswick.


There was a wide selection of Richard Walker memorabilia which his family were selling, and Sandy travelled especially to bid for the Richard Walker safari-style hat featured best on the fourth edition of ‘Still-Water Angling’. The other was a fedora he used at the launch of the Hardy Richard Walker Avon Fibalite rod, together with a photograph of him wearing it holding the rod. Sadly for her, a friend had the same idea but was telephone bidding, and the both bid the prices up against each other, but Sandy won the hat she wanted.  There was one other hat on display that day, a fedora used to promote the launch of the ‘Hardy Richard Walker Avon’ fibatube rod, which was later acquired.


A little while later she told our friend Fred J Taylor this tale and shortly afterwards the hat he wore on the front of ‘Country Hearts’ arrived in a padded envelop and was understandably squashed. After a little reshaping, it was added to the collection.


Fred Buller, another friend asked Sandy if she wanted to buy his 33lb cased pike that can be seen in his ‘Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike’. She did but said she would do it on one condition, that he included one of his fishing hats. Shortly afterwards, she collected the pike and took a picture of Fred in his hat.  A couple of years later he visited the shop ‘River Reads’ with his wife Margaret, where Sandy and I work. Margaret was chuckling and told us that Fred had left the hat he usually wears in the car because he jokingly said Sandy would have it off his head!


The next addition was when ‘Recollections II’ was being recorded with Prof. Barrie Rickards and Des Taylor. Sure enough, Sandy said they would get their deluxe edition for being kind enough to do the recording but please could she have one of their fishing hats. Des donated one he used when tarpon fishing in Florida, whereas Barrie donated one of his baseball cap style hats, both autographed.


The next one was unexpected. Derrick Davenport, one of the pioneers of adventure fishing who wrote ‘Fishing for Life’ had sadly passed away. His family brought some of his ephemera into the shop including his fishing hat which Sandy quickly added to the growing collection.


Ted Andrews, another close friend of Fred J Taylor had an old tatty hat that Fred had given him, and he sent it to be re-housed with the collection.


When River Reads held a book signing our Trustee Chris Yates could not say no to giving up his hat that is featured extensively featured in ‘The Deepening Pool’


The next victim to become hatless was Barrie Welham, the champion tournament caster and Managing Director of Garcia Mitchell in the UK. Barrie visited to record a piece for the archive about his life and times. Sandy purchased some books for the shop and - you guessed it- his hat was included as well.


Some people have now joined in the spirit of the collection; Mark Everard donated his hat after we had discussed it on a fishing trip and fishery scientist and author Phill Williams who has become Angling Heritage’s roving reporter donated his hat too.


So come on Bob Nudd, can we have a cap or a Scotthorne sun visor, there is a place in the collection for them. All other donations gratefully received.


The majority of the collection can now be seen with other ephemera at Torrington Museum. Please check their opening hours before travelling.