Iconic Bowler hat gets new life as logo of British banjo manufacturer, The Great British Banjo Company

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The Bowler hat, for generations an icon of British national character, has been adopted as the symbol of The Great British Banjo Company, the UK banjo business which is manufacturing banjos in Great Britain for the first time in decades.

The Great British Banjo Company logo on a T-shirt, designed by Matt Copland

The Great British Banjo Company logo on a T-shirt, designed by Matt Copland

The Bowler hat actually originates in the county of Norfolk where we are based.

The Bowler hat, for generations an icon of British national character, has been adopted as the symbol of The Great British Banjo Company, the UK banjo business which is manufacturing banjos in Great Britain for the first time in decades.

The Great British Banjo Company, which was launched last month and is the only production level British banjo manufacturer, has now released the first images of its new visual identity, which features the Bowler hat bearing a five stripe hatband representing the five strings of a banjo.

"We chose the Bowler hat as our logo for several reasons. First of course because it is so evocative of Britishness and second because the Bowler hat actually originates in the county of Norfolk where we are based," explained founder and Managing Director, Simon Middleton.

"The Bowler was actually designed in 1849 by Edward Coke, younger brother of the Earl of Leicester. Coke wanted a hat which would be practical for his gamekeepers and estate staff, giving some protection when working in woodland. The hat was commissioned from Lock & Co. the society hatters, who in turn contracted the job out to the Bowler Brothers."

"The new style of hat was an immediate hit. Practical and protective it quickly spread across the USA with railway workers and is said to have been more popular the wild west in the second half of the nineteenth century than the cowboy hat," Middleton added.

"Finally, the Bowler also has a strong association with early banjo playing, particularly in the minstrel and jazz traditions of the deep south. That tradition was personified more than a century later by the late great John Hartford, the southern banjoist who had a distinctive 'riverboat gambler' style which always included a Bowler hat."

"Our new logo also features a Union Jack of course, to indicate instantly that we are all about manufacturing banjos in Britain," Middleton added.

The new logo was designed by Norfolk-based designer Matt Copland, who also created the logos for Banjos Direct and Islander Banjos, which are both divisions of The Great British Banjo Company Ltd.

The company launched the British-made Islander Ash Leaf banjo last year and it has been highly acclaimed by players including British bluegrass legend Leon Hunt, American clawhammer master Dan Levenson, and top Nashville banjoist Bob Minner who plays for country mega-star Tim McGraw.

The Norfolk-based business will continue to operate as a retailer of imported instruments under the Banjos Direct name, but will expand its British manufacturing activity over the next five years, beginning with the launch of an all-new British-made instrument.

A new dedicated website for The Great British Banjo Company will be launched in July.

COMPANY INFORMATION:

The Great British Banjo Company and Banjos Direct are based in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

The privately owned business was founded by brand adviser, business author and musician Simon Middleton and has grown rapidly to become the UK's best known banjo specialist retailer.

The Islander Ash Leaf was designed by Simon Middleton with the acclaimed banjo craftsman Malcolm McLeod, who is head of production for The Great British Banjo Company.

For further information visit: http://www.banjosdirect.co.uk.

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