Top hats in the story symbolize the obsolete values of the upper class in post-WW2-England, and the mocking attitude of the formerly lower class towards those upper class values. The top hat is an outdated, impractical affectation. Rather than keeping the head warm, top hats show that their wearers know the rules of formalwear, a kind of knowledge which has little value in the new more meritocratic world of post-war England. To the lower classes newly empowered by the destruction of the old order, the top hat’s tall, conical shape is a sign of unearned privilege and undeserved prestige, and seems to beg to be mocked or even knocked off the wearer’s head. Or, in the case of a house like Mr. Thomas’s that resembles a top hat, pulled down and destroyed.
Top Hat Quotes in The Destructors
He was just, he had no jealousy, he was anxious to retain T. in the gang if he could. It was the word 'beautiful' that worried him - that belonged to a class world that you could still see parodied at the Wormsley Common Empire by a man wearing a top hat and a monocle, with a haw-haw accent. He was tempted to say, 'My dear Trevor, old chap,' and unleash his hell hounds.
'I'm sorry,' the driver said, making heroic efforts, but when he remembered the sudden check of his lorry, the crash of bricks falling, he became convulsed again. One moment the house had stood there with such dignity between the bomb-sites like a man in a top hat, and then, bang, crash, there wasn't anything left - not anything. He said, 'I'm sorry. I can't help it. Mr. Thomas. There's nothing personal, but you got to admit it's funny.'