Until the 1790s many children who were learning to walk wore protective hats known as ‘puddings’ or ‘black puddings’.
The ‘pudding’ hat pictured consists of a horseshoe-shaped roll of glazed pink cotton with four lightly padded triangular flaps attached at regular intervals. The hat is worn by tying the hat’s black ‘Petersham’ ribbons horizontally around the head and above the ears.
Many pudding hats designed for everyday use were made of a dark fabric to disguise the dirt. There were also some very grand pudding hats: in 1766 Lord Fitzmaurice, aged one and a half, wore a pudding hat made from the same fabric as his rose-coloured damask coat, trimmed with black and white feathers.
The nickname of ‘pudding’ comes from the padded roll’s similarity in shape and size to a type of sausage named ‘pudding’, as in ‘black pudding’, a popular food still enjoyed today.