COGGLES SPRING / SUMMER 13
Now over 100 years old, Barbour is a 4th generation family owned company specialising in clothes for outdoor and country pursuits. Best know for their iconic waxed jackets, Barbour holds Royal Warrants from HM Queen Elizabeth II, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Today the company remains headquartered in South Shields, where John Barbour set up shop in 1894. Specialising in outerwear, boiler suits, painters jackets, even underwear, Barbour thrived by supplying ship owners, builders and seamen with the Beacon brand oilskin coats, providing protection from the elements weather on land or at sea. By 1906 Barbour had expanded to supply the same Beacon oilskin clothing to landowners, farmers, farm workers and shepherds, and by the following decade, the company was fulfilling orders as far afield as Hong Kong, South Africa and Chile.
Barbour’s next expansion was into the world of motorcycling and from 1936 to 1977 Barbour suits were worn by almost every British international team. With the onset of the Second World War, Barbour once again supplied military and civilians with weatherproof clothing, including the Ursula suit, which became standard issue for members of the Submarine Service.
Fast-forward to the 70’s and Margaret Barbour, a teacher by profession who up until now had little involvement in Barbour took control of the company’s future; it was in safe hands. Immersing herself in understanding all aspects of the business, Margaret refocused the brand on countrywear and in 1974 Barbour received the first of its Royal Warrants, followed by the second in 1982 and third in 1987.
Today, Barbour’s classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the factory in South Shields, and while the product range may have expanded and the customer base diversified to include a younger generation of urbanites as well, Barbour remains true to its core values as a family business that espouses the unique values of the British countryside, bringing the qualities of grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.
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