Our in house gent- G.M. Norton investigates the heritage of a Mancunian Menswear Manufacturer…
Nestled on a Salford street on the outskirts of Manchester city centre stands a rather special building that is quite unique in the UK. It is a factory that makes men’s clothing. Yes, that’s right – your eyes are not deceiving you, clothing not just made in Britain but manufactured right here in Greater Manchester.
If that doesn’t leave you salivating at the mouth, the clothes are inspired by the wardrobe of a local soldier awarded the Victoria Cross – the most prestigious award for gallantry that can be awarded to a British and Commonwealth citizen.
So, not only is there the possibility to wear clothing Made in (Greater) Manchester but also to dress like a war hero. That’s pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
The war hero in question was a chap called Jack White and the factory is called Cooper and Stollbrand. During the First World War, Private White, aged just 20 years old, demonstrated ‘conspicuous bravery and resource’ to earn his medal.
Returning home with the Victoria Cross proudly pinned on his person, he started an apprenticeship as a trainee pattern cutter and machinist at a raincoat factory. By the time he sadly passed away in 1949, he owned the factory and this is the very building that is today making clothes based on the war hero’s wardrobe – ladies and gentlemen, I bring you local menswear label Private White V.C.
Whilst some of the attire is a little casual for my taste, I adore their coats and jackets and cannot help but admire the quality of the hand-crafted garments which also includes knitwear, trousers, shoes and much more besides. The materials used are sourced from local suppliers who provide them with the finest regional yarns, fabrics and materials that the UK has to offer.
If you have some cash to splash (be warned, you will need plenty because the made for life clothes comes with a pay for life price tag), you would do well to support one of the last-remaining clothing manufacturers in Britain. Especially one that is right on your doorstep.
As luck would have it, Private White V.C. has a sale on which ends on 21 January 2013.
Here is a little more about Private White and his heroics fighting for King and country.
Born in 1896, Jack was only 18 years old when he enrolled in the King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster). He was deployed to Gallipoli where he experienced fierce fighting in the failed Anglo-French effort to capture Constantinople. The unit was then sent to assist in the relief of British forces under siege in the town of Kut, a few hundred miles south of Baghdad.
During an attempt to cross the Dialah River, his unit came under heavy gunfire with disastrous results. Private Jack White V.C. tied a telephone wire to his boat, jumped overboard and towed it back to shore, saving the lives of some of his countryman and essential equipment.