Former hat maker to the Queen enjoys display at New Forest

Former hat maker to the Queen enjoys display at New Forest school

Pupils up to seven years old proudly paraded their home-made hats, earning rewards and commendations under Louisa’s discerning gaze.

Despite nursing a broken collar bone, seven-year-old Henry Cole received a special commendation.

Louisa, a former hat shop owner on Lymington High Street, was driven to the school from her local care home, Belmore Lodge.

She enjoyed the children’s parade in a stylish hat of her own design.

She said: “I had a fabulous time seeing all these young people being so creative.”

Her career began under the tutelage of renowned designer Aage Thaarp, famed for his royal clientele, which included Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

Following her apprenticeship, she expanded her skill set in Paris, living in the Latin Quarter and soaking up the fashion ethos of Dior, Chanel, and Jacques Fath.

In 1959, she returned to Lymington and debuted her own millinery shop and label, ‘Liz Tilley’. The Liz Tilley brand became a favourite among fashion enthusiasts, gracing Lymington High Street until the 1990s.

When Louisa moved into Belmore Lodge in 2022, she brought with her a cherished scrapbook filled with pictures and press photographs of the Queen donning her hat designs.

The visit to Walhampton School is the latest activity connecting the school and Belmore Lodge.

Previously, the school’s Chapel Choir graced Belmore’s garden with a choral performance, featuring 96-year-old ex-professional opera singer Dorrie Smith, another care home resident.

The event, coordinated by Fiona Pritchard, Colten Care’s Music & Arts Partner, underscored the strong bond between the two organisations and highlighted the enduring creativity within the community.

Dorrie said: “I had a very lovely time, it brought back lots of memories.”

Belmore Lodge companionship team leader Sharon Semple said: “We had such a warm welcome from Walhampton school when we attended their fete.

“That visit and their choir’s performance in our garden a couple of weeks before were both lovely experiences for all involved.”

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