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1682 - Huguenot hatmakers settle in Wandsworth
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Hatmaking in Wandsworth began in the middle ages. Now the Huguenot refugees bring trade secrets that turn it into an important manufacturing centre. They have the secret of felting hair from rabbits and beavers to make high quality beaver hats.

They also have the secret of a red dye that becomes famous as 'Wandsworth scarlet'. When they dye hats, the dye stays fast. Other red dyes run when it rains and stain the head of the wearer.

The Catholic cardinals in Rome wear red hats as the badge of their office. From now on, they have to have their hats made by refugee Huguenots in Wandsworth.

The River Wandle is important for this industry. It provides water for dying and for driving the mill that grinds up red Brazil wood from South America to make the dye. 



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