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The Real Peaky Blinders Wore A Different Type Of Hat To TV Series

Dominic Smithers

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The Real Peaky Blinders Wore A Different Type Of Hat To TV Series

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Alamy

Peaky Blinders returned to our screens for its final series last week, and millions of fans were over the moon to see Tommy Shelby and Arthur back in their lives after a few years away.

But while the hit series is based on a real life gang from the 1890s, some creative license has been taken.

For example, the Shelbys didn't exist, but there was a trio of incredibly violent brothers, called the Sheldons.

It's also been said that the show's creators made up aspects of their style, most notably their iconic flat caps.

Peaky Blinder Thomas Gilbert. Credit: Alamy
Peaky Blinder Thomas Gilbert. Credit: Alamy

In the series, the hats have razor blades sewn into their brims, which the gang uses to blind their enemies. However, according to an expert, this was probably a bit of a stretch.

Speaking to Birmingham Live, local historian Carl Chinn said it's pretty unlikely that this ever happened.

"It’s really interesting to look back at the mythologised version of the story and the reality.

"There was no real Tommy Shelby and the Peaky Blinders were around in the 1890s and yet the series is set in the 1920s.

"As for the razor blades? They were only beginning to come in from the 1890s and were a luxury item, much too expensive for the Peaky Blinders to have used", he continued. "And any hard man would tell you it would be very difficult to get direction and power with a razor blade sewn into the soft part of a cap. It was a romantic notion brought about in John Douglas’s novel, A Walk Down Summer Lane.

"But I can understand why the series producers used the name because it’s infused with gangsterdom."

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby. Credit: BBC
Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby. Credit: BBC

And he's not the only one who is certain of the mythology surrounding the gang's flat caps.

David Cross, a historian at the West Midlands Police Museum, said they just wouldn't have been practical.

"If you think of your grandfather's cap in those days, then it would have had a very hard peak.

"They used their hats with razor blades sewn in to rob people. That's what a Peaky Blinder was.

"When they hit someone or headbutted someone on the nose while wearing one, it would cause their victim temporary blindness."

I guess we shouldn't really expect to get all of the facts from TV dramas, should we?

Peaky Blinders’ sixth and final season continues on BBC One at 9:00pm next Sunday.

Topics: Peaky Blinders, Cillian Murphy, TV and Film

Dominic Smithers
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