Have you ever wondered how how it all began? Vintage Barbour is a must have nowadays – we all need it in our wardrobes and we all need it when we are off to the festivals. It always looks good on you, no matter if fitted or oversized, no matter if worn or very worn, no matter if ripped or dirty. In fact, the more knackered it is – the better your indie style looks like. At Harper & Lewis there is always a great selection of vintage Barbour coats for you to go through – on H&L Vintage Asos Marketplace Boutique so as in the actual shops which are based in the City Center of Birmingham, West Midlands, UK. Let’s briefly present the Barbour story though – we’re going to put it in photos.
Why ‘BARBOUR’? – because of the founder, John Barbour, obviously.
The story of Barbour began in 1894 in the Market Place in South Shields.
1894 – The founder John Barbour opens J Barbour & Sons in 5 Market Place, South Shields
1908 – John Barbour’s son, Malcolm, produces the first mail order catalogue. By 1917 the catalogue accounts for almost 75% of Barbour’s business including international orders from as far away as Chile, South Africa and Hong Kong
1912 – J Barbour & Sons becomes J Barbour & Sons Ltd with John Barbour as Chairman and his sons Jack and Malcolm as joint Managing Directors
1918 -John Barbour dies on 7 July 1918 and is succeeded by Jack Barbour
1928 – Duncan Barbour, Malcolm’s only son joins the business
1934 – Duncan Barbour, a keen motorcyclist, introduces a motorcycling range that quickly takes off
Virtually every British International team wears Barbour suits from 1936 to the year that Barbour pulls out of the motorcycle clothing market in 1977
1939 – They develop the Ursula suit, which becomes standard issue for members of the Submarine Service
The Ursula suit was named after the U-class submarine, Ursula whose commander Captain George Philips was instrumental in having the suits produced
1957 – 97% of all competitors who take part in the Scottish 6 Day Event ride in Barbour International Oiled Cotton suits
Barbour moves to the Simonside Trading Estate on the outskirts of South Shields and builds a manufacturing plant. After 63 years of being a retailer, Barbour became manufacturers and marketers
Duncan Barbour dies age 48 and Malcolm Barbour again takes charge of the business with Nancy and her son John Barbour, age 19
1964 – Malcolm Barbour dies age 83 and Nancy Barbour takes the role of Chairman with John as Managing Director
1968 – John Barbour dies suddenly leaving behind his young widow Margaret and their two-year-old daughter Helen
Margaret Barbour is made a member of the Board of Directors
1972 – Margaret Barbour is appointed Chairman
1974 – Barbour receives the first Royal warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh
1980 – The first lightweight thornproof short riding jacket – the Bedale – is designed
The distinctive black and gold Barbour International badge is first seen on the famous motorcycling jacket of the same name
1981 – Barbour moves into a new factory in Simonside
The company remains at Simonside to the present day
1982 – Barbour receives the second Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen
1983 – The Beaufort jacket designed by Margaret Barbour is featured in the catalogue for the first time
1987 – Barbour receives the third Royal Warrant by HRH the Prince of Wales and opens an office in New Hampshire, Barbour Inc, in March
1988 – The subsidiary Barbour (Europe) Ltd. is founded in Germany. Today, the company is located in Düsseldorf
The Barbour Trust is set up to support local and national projects and community issues. Margaret Barbour donates 20% of her shares in the company to The Barbour Trust
1989 – Barbour opens an office in Paris, Barbour France in October
1991 – In June, Margaret Barbour is honoured with the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to industry
1992 – Barbour wins a Queens Award for Export Achievement in 1992, 1994 & 1995
1994 – J Barbour & Sons Ltd celebrates its centenary
1995 – Margaret Barbour is made President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association
1997 – Helen Barbour is made Vice Chairman
2001 – Margaret Barbour is appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List
2005 – Barbour wins the Best Shooting Clothing Product at the IPC Shooting Awards for the Northumberland range designed by Lord James Percy
2007 – Barbour is the jacket of choice at the Glastonbury Festival with acts and celebrities such as the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Peaches Geldof and Rufus Wainwright all wearing the brand
2008 – Barbour wins Best Shooting Clothing Product at the IPC Shooting Industry Awards for the Linhope Endurance 3 in 1 jacket designed by Lord James Percy
Barbour is awarded a special commendation at the Sunday Times PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 Awards
2011 – Barbour celebrates the 75th anniversary of its iconic International motorcycle clothing
“Today the 5th generation family owned business remains in the North East, with Barbour’s headquarters located in Simonside, South Shields. Although it sources products from around the globe, Barbour’s classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the factory in Simonside and each year over 100,000 jackets are processed via the central, subsidiary and local customer service operations.
In 2004, Barbour began to work with Lord James Percy, in the design and marketing of its flagship shooting clothing range – the Northumberland range. Technically advanced and highly acclaimed in 2005, the Northumberland Range won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, and more recently, the Linhope 3-in-1 won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, 2008. More recently he was involved, alongside Vice Chairman Helen Barbour, in designing the new Barbour Sporting collection launched for Autumn Winter 2011.
Barbour now has 11 of its own retail shops in the UK, and a presence in over 40 countries worldwide including the United States, Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan.
There are now over 2,000 products across the two seasons and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children. Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories.
Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.”
Hope you enjoyed the Barbour history. Time to do some shopping now! Lots of love, H&L Vintage, xx