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Winner Profile: Betsy Hatter Millinery

This month we’re meeting another of our Vintage Norwich Awards winners, Betsy Hatter Millinery.

Betsy Hatter produces custom hats, accessories and fascinators and has long been a Vintage Norwich favourite as her designs are so heavily inspired by the past. She has shown hats on the catwalk at Norwich Fashion Week and recently at the Rockabilly Rave.

With wedding season underway and it being prime hat season, we thought it was timely to catch up with Siofra, pictured below collecting her award earlier this year.

We asked her about what the award meant to her, and the future for Betsy Hatter.


What has winning Best Vintage Style Designer at the Vintage Norwich Awards meant to you?

I was over the moon. Knowing that people took the time to vote for me has really helped build my confidence in my work.

Tell me a bit about Betsy Hatter Millinery and what you do.

I make bespoke hats and hair accessories. My designs are usually inspired by styles from the 1940’s and 50’s, but most of my work is commission based, so I tailor everything to exactly what each client wants.

Can you tell me about how you got started?

I started making little fascinators for myself to go with outfits for nights out. People then started asking me to make them hair accessories to go with their outfits. I started selling them on a little stall at Clutter City under the name Sugar & Hatter with my friend Melanie (No Dice Sugar!) who makes hair flowers and accessories. Melanie decided to have a little break from it, so I started up as Betsy Hatter on my own.

What is your inspiration for new designs?

My inspiration usually comes from the customers. Sometimes they have a very clear idea of what they want so I don’t have to do too much design work. Sometimes I’m just given a vague theme so I do a lot of back ground research and sketching. If I’m making something for myself I tend to look towards nature and myths.

Which hat design is your best seller?

The “Original Betsy” is definitely my best seller. This is a teardrop shaped base covered with felt flowers and a birdcage veil. I think it’s so popular because I can make it in any colour and it’s very comfortable and versatile.


And which is your favourite hat you’ve designed?

At the moment, I have to say it’s the “Elspeth”, which is a simple, summery straw hat. The straw is all hand sewn into a disk so it takes a long time, but I really love the finished hat.

How can people find out more about you and commission a hat or order one of your existing designs?

I have a website with a contact form, but I’m on Facebook and Twitter  too, so I’m pretty easy to get hold of!

Do you have any plans for the future of Betsy Hatter Millinery?

I do. I plan on developing a steampunk range of hats. I love the mix of historical and fantasy in the Steampunk genre.

You can contact Betsy Hatter about commissions via her website, or on Facebook or Twitter.

The Future for Flint

Last weekend Vintage Norwich was part of a throng of 100 people gathered at the new premises of Flint Hair on St Benedicts Street to enjoy espresso Martinis courtesy of Franks Bar and some rather tasty canapes from Baked Salt, and help the Flint team celebrate their new location and expanding business.


The new venue keeps the contemporary retro feel of the old location and the mix of traditional and modern, but in a larger, lighter, brighter space. The retro pieces like those fantastic Belmont barber chairs and the Eames chairs are still there, along with the contemporary bespoke mirrors designed by Stuart McCallum.

Since we first visted Flint back in 2011 the team has grown to include 5 full-time staff and 3 part-time, now offering colouring services as well as styling and cuts all with their trademark attention to technique and detail. It has also made itself into a great venue for arts and culture, with some hugely popular private viewings and evening events.

The move to the new location aims to help them expand further, and make more use of the space with even more cultural offerings in the future.

Flint hair

Coming up soon will be exhibitions by local artist Suzanne Antonelli for the Norwich Lanes Fayre in July and local photographer and Vintage Norwich award winner Joanna Millington. They are also hosting an Art Trail for  the Norfolk Architecture Festival in October.

Flint Hair can now be found at 24 St Benedicts Street and prices for a cut and blow dry start from £27 for Women.

Visit the Flint Website for more details, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.



Style for the Chaps at Swagger & Jacks

On Saturday night Vintage Norwich popped into new Barber Shop Swagger & Jacks on Bridewell Alley.

The shop was packed with people and the gorgeous weather meant the party spilled out onto Bridewell Alley where there was music and dancing in the streets. Inside the walls are decorated with stags heads, thank fully not real, and a cosy leather chesterfield sofa is tucked into the corner so you can await your appointment in comfort.




Taking over the space previously occupied by another of our favourites, Flint, who have moved to St Benedicts Street, Swagger & Jacks now caters to the dapper gent from it’s perfectly appointed interior.

Mark (Pictured below) has been in the industry nearly 30 years and was previously working at Trumans on Elm Hill a, before deciding to open the shop on Bridewell Alley with business partner Barry in April this year.


Swagger & Jacks also offer the ultimate in male pampering, a cut throat shave and have their own range of grooming products so you can recreate the luxury at home. If it’s just a trim you’re after then they’re experts in creating rockabilly quiffs and 50s inspired hair as well as a classic short back and sides.



There’s plenty of  dapper gents in Norwich, so we’re delighted to see such an establishment open it’s doors. Prices at Swagger & Jacks start at £19 for a wash, cut & style, or for the ultimate gentlemens grooming indulgence treat yourself (or your loved one!) to the a traditional cut throat shave, followed by a wash, cut and finish for £40.

Swagger & Jacks Gentlemen’s Grooming is at 16 Bridewell Alley and is open Tuesday – Saturday 9am-6pm, with an extra hour till 7pm on Thursdays.

Visit their website, or find them on Facebook or Twitter for more information


Where to Tie the Vintage Knot in Norfolk

Norwich is a “fine” city, and Norfolk a fine county, so where finer to get hitched?

There are plenty of vintage wedding spots once you scratch through the surface of conventional locations. There are venues which can do everything for you, and venues that will let you do the leg work. Personally I was on a mission to find a venue that was like a blank canvas, which suited our personalities.

I hope to save you some leg work on finding the venue for your vintage wedding by taking a look at some of the venues which were jotted down on my own vintage wedding list. (I’m getting married next year by the way, eeeee)

St Andrews hall

Perfect for those watching the pennies and for bigger weddings on a budget. The main hall would make such an atmospheric place for a wedding, and you can decorate any way you want. They also have some very nice caterers who will happily talk through menu option to try and give you something to your tastes.

st andrews hall

The Arts Centre

This venue would make a perfect traditional yet alternative venue. As an old church building you can see why this would suit traditional tastes, but, it’s the arts centre which really appealed to our musical memories of gigs in Norwich. We’ve spent many a happy evening leaning against a column with a pint in hand listening to some cracking tunes in an intimate setting. You can imagine the restrictions for guest numbers though.

Seaside Hotels

Heading off the beaten track for a little nostalgia you could do far worse than a sea side wedding. Victorian hotels galore with faded seaside glamour appeal! There were some beautiful buildings, some still holding their original charm inside and out, and others refurbished to a high standard. Some seemingly make their bread and butter by offering wedding packages and the prices vary wildly. The Links Hotel at West Runton made it into the top three of my vintage venues list.

Whitwell Station

All aboard! Our winning contender was Whitwell and Reepham Railway. Only recently getting a wedding licence this venue was an instant hit. We knew straight away that this was our perfect venue. With a price to suit our budget, we still have a lot of control and choice over our wedding, and best of all the place is full to the brim with vintage character.

Hopefully you’ll feel inspired by the nostalgic venues Norfolk has to offer soon-to-be-weds. Finding the venue is rumoured to be the hardest part of wedding planning, but, all the hard work will pay off when you find the perfect setting for your big day!

Thanks to Laura from Social Gremlin for this post

Novelty Prints

Spring has finally sprung and we’re feeling the urge to add some whimsical vintage style prints to our wardrobe. Novelty prints were very popular in the early 20th century, and the 50s in particular saw prints of everything from the infamous scotty dog to bold atomic styles appearing on dresses, shirts and accessories.

Original novelty prints can be quite expensive, but it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for modern day look a likes. Last Summer Primark had a great 50s style skirt with a street scene printed around the hem, and you’ll often find novelty animal prints popping up as stores get their Summer stock in.

Radley are a modern company that’s famous for it’s 50s style scotty dog logo that can be found on everything from shoulder bags to luggage. Radley bags are stocked at John Lewis on Ber Street.

radley suitcase


Cath Kidston is another modern brand famous for novelty prints.  Currently you can find trains, cowboys, sailing boats and cottages on everything from dresses and skirts to weekend bags. The Cath Kidston store is at 21 Castle Street.

cath kidston skirt


For a slightly tougher take on novelty prints try Hell Bunny. Local stockists Rock Collection are on Lower Goat Lane. This 50s style dress has a print of pin up girls and anchors.



Of course, if you’d rather try and track down the real thing then there’s plenty of vintage shops in Norwich to explore. It’s worth getting in touch with them in advance as not all shops keep all their stock on the floor and they might have that perfect 50s novelty print dress hidden out the back in just your size. Take a look at our vintage directory for the best places to start looking for those prints.