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Top hat, London, England, 1831-1920

During the 1800s the physician’s job became more defined and their social standing improved – signified by this high quality top hat. It is covered with cloth, has a leather interior and was made by a milliner (hat maker) called Cuthbertson. Physicians became a unified professional class to rival the clergy and lawyers. The British Medical Association was founded in 1832 to “promote the medical and allied sciences and to maintain the honour and interests of the medical profession”. Physicians were in a competitive market with a whole range of other practitioners, including chemists, homeopaths and herbalists.

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Glossary: hat

Shaped coverings for the head having a brim and crown, or one of the two.