Walker, Ashworth & Linney Ltd were originally a firm of silk and felt hat manufacturers based in Denton. The company was founded in 1867 by Thomas Walker, James and Samuel Ashworth and Joseph Linney. Hat manufacturing made Denton famous. During the 18th century, farmers began to supplement their income by making felt hats, as there were plenty of rabbits in the area. Gradually, this cottage industry developed and eventually there were some twenty hat factories which were established in various parts of the town.
You may well have heard the saying “if you want to get ahead, then get a hat.” This began in Denton and anyone attending a job interview not wearing a hat was shown the door. The term, “mad as a hatter” also originated in Denton because people who worked in these factories were exposed to daily trace amounts of mercury, which in turn led to mercury poisoning.
In 1912 the firm became a limited company and it was transferred to the four sons of the original partners. Walker, Ashworth & Linney eventually evolved to become Linney Headwear and it is still going strong today.
Linney Headwear is now made in Liverpool at Try & Lilly’s premises, but should you visit Denton today, you will see a tribute to the Hatting industry that was. A bronze Statue stands in Jubilee Square, Albert Street, Denton entitled ‘Tipping the Denton Linney‘. This bronze statue shows a man doffing his Linney hat, once manufactured in the town. The statue is dedicated to the workers of the Hatting Industry.
Today, the leisure headwear side of the business is a growth area for Try & Lilly and we offer a stock supported service branded as Linney Headwear as well as a made to order service.