The company was established by Miller Christy and his partner Joseph Storrs in 1773. The first hat shop was at 5 Whitehart Court in London, moving later to Gracechurch Street, which remained the London address of the business until 1954. Following the retirement of the two original partners in 1804, Miller Christy's three sons, Thomas, William and John, took control of the firm. Under the stewardship of the brothers Christy & Co. expanded. Factories were established in Bermonsey, Frampton Cotterell and Wray. The company also brought in hats from other hat manufacturers located in various parts of the country, in particular T. & J. Worsley & Co. in Stockport. In 1826 Christy's acquired Worsley & Co. outright and expanded the factory in Stockport. At its height, the Stockport factory alone employed 3000 local people and was always managed by direct descendants of the company's founder. By 1843 Christy & Co. was the largest hat and cap manufacturer in the world. In 1887 the business was incorporated as a limited company, however the years following the First World War saw the company enter a steady decline. Today, Christy's is a much smaller operation and is based in Oxfordshire.
Christys are known to have used at least three different overprints :
- Recd. For / Christy & Co. (style h2b) recorded on : 1d Inland Revenue (small)
- RECEIVED FOR // CHRISTY & CO. LD. (style v2a) recorded on : sg 357
- CHRISTY // & CO. LTD. (style h2d) recorded on : sg 506
It seems probable that the overprint on this 1d Inland Revenue stamp pictured belongs to the same company, although I cannot confirm this.
by Mark Matlach