The Bullet-Proof Hat

On the anniversary of the Sidney Street Siege, we take a look at stylish, if impractical headgear.


The siege of Sidney Street was an infamous gun battle that took place in the East End of London in January 1911. It had been preceded by the Houndsditch Murders – December 1910 – in which two policemen were shot by robbers attempting to clean out a jewellery shop.


In January, a number of the robbers were reported to be holed up in Sidney Street in London’s East End. The police and the army surrounded the building, on the orders of the then Home Secretary, Winston Churchill.


Churchill attended the scene in his customary top hat…



… and that’s the man himself in the picture (above) close to the centre of the shot, leaning slightly out into the road to get a better view.


Such a hat would make an easy target and is hardly the wisest choice of headgear to be caught in when the bullets are whistling about one’s head.


Ten-out-of-ten for style, though!

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