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A VERY BRITISH TRADITION


aka... the good old Brolly or Parasol T


The Umbrella


he umbrella comes in many different shapes and sizes. There are small umbrellas that fit the average fashion bag


and conventional black umbrellas that double up as a walking aid for the well-turned-out suited and booted, who’ve mastered the art of swinging their brolly in a military style.


But just when - and where - did this most useful fashion


accessory first emerge? Early accounts describe their use some 4,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. The Chinese added a twist during the 11th century, creating intricate designs made from silk and paper with elaborate carvings on the handles. Very much a status symbol of the time. There was an upturn in their popularity during the late 16th and early 17th centuries and, in 1712, Jonas Hanway introduced a gentleman’s umbrella, which, after initial


32 County Life


rejection, eventually became popular with the gentry. Significant developments in the design of the humble


brolly began to emerge during the 20th century. In 1928, Hans Haupt is credited with creating a foldable, pocket- sized umbrella, and similar designs are still very popular today.


Defining examples include the characteristic transparent


umbrella often used by our monarch. And for those who enjoy a refined alcoholic tipple there are the tiny paper examples that decorate a range of cocktails. With the inclement British weather, I doubt that the humble umbrella will ever go out of fashion but will continue to evolve and reinvent itself as a much-appreciated accessory that is well embedded in the long list of great British traditions.


Ed. www.countylifemagazines.co.uk


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