We recently acquired some pieces from the Robbie Wilson estate. A renowned collector and exponent of military history, Wilson sought to create a freely accessible and lasting resource, cataloguing rare examples of military headgear.
In 2008 the Wilson History & Research Centre was founded. The centre in its virtual museum displayed a unique collection of headgear from the Napoleonic Wars right through to the modern era.
The central aim was to classify every piece of military headgear ‘developed, produced and modified in the 20th century’. Quite the job, as, by their own estimations a million different types of military headgear were worn in this century of conflict. Add to that the possibility, that for every single design there might be 10 or so variations, and you start to get an idea of the job they had made for themselves.
In Wilson’s words, “A lifetime of work” awaited. Regretfully however, The Wilson History and Research Center ‘closed its doors in late 2012 after the passing of Founder, Robbie Wilson.’ At that time, with the help of various contributors, they had successfully exhibited over 15,000 rare examples of military headgear – especially impressive in a brief history that contained all the complexities of starting a new company and Mr Wilson’s battle with cancer.
The possibility that the collection will be added to is unlikely, but the legacy maintains. Though tiring slightly from a lack of maintenance, the website remains a centre of knowledge; the sort of remote knowledge that might otherwise take libraries of books or frustrating Google searches to locate.