The Bowler Hat as a banking icon

How has the Bowler Hat featured as part of the iconography of the banking industry? For answers, turn to Jane Davison, BA (Liverpool), MA, PhD (London), FCA, FHEA, who is Professor of Accounting at the Royal Holloway, University of London. The professor’s paper on the subject ‘Icon, iconography, iconology Visual branding, banking and the case of the bowler hat’ was published in the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 22 No. 6, 2009 pp. 883-906, and focuses attention on the use of the bowler icon by (what was) the UK’s Bradford & Bingley financial institution.

Bowler-B_and_BThe financial statements are almost silent regarding brands, in line with regulation. In response to the greater competition that accompanied deregulation and globalisation, the Bank’s lending and funding practices become more innovative. The visual framework reveals a changing iconography and iconology where class, detectives, music hall and the bowler-object may be discerned. An iconology is suggested of dreamlike connotations and magical powers in the collective unconscious. The Bradford & Bingley have actively managed their visual branding to reflect and appeal to a changing society, and a more competitive business environment.”

Notes: Bradford & Bingley was “taken into public ownership” (viz. rescued by the Bank of England) after the company’s share price fell to £0.20 in Sep. 2008.

It had previously registered the UK trademark which depicted four bowler hats blowing away in the wind (UK2168259). B&B also owned what was said to be Stan Laurel’s bowler hat, which it had reportedly purchased for £2,000 in 1995, and which was displayed at their offices.

Improbable has not been able to verify the current location of the hat.