Connor Hat Factory, 65-67 Bute Street, Luton, Bedfordshire
The Connor Hat Factory on Bute Street. The back of the straw goods factory at 40 Guildford Street can be seen in the background. Both of the factories in this photograph made straw goods and hats. The making of straw hats and bonnets was already established in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire by the end of the 17th century. It was traditionally a cottage industry and girls and women who plaited the straw at home. In the later 19th and early 20th centuries most of the Luton hat industry was concentrated in factories in the Bute Street area. It was close to the railway station with its direct links to London. Straw hats called 'boaters' were popular in the Edwardian period. The Bedford Lemere daybook records that J & K Connor Limited commissioned this job.