Club Foyer>Chillout Room>History of Rainwear
I thought it would be worthwhile to try and build a list of firms that have done the decent thing in the past and made or sold proper rainwear. I think dates would be important, and place, and type of merchandise. Maybe by putting our heads together we can assemble an interesting information base.
I'm trying to put this on a data-base now so it's more useful and eg can display things in alphabetical order!
Please let me have additional entries and further notes on the ones already included. (A wiki ran for a while, with one or two very useful contributions, but it has fallen quiet, so I'm reverting to this way!)
There was a firm in Bristol called Anderson that sadly closed in about 1960. They sold a traditional riding mackintosh with a distinctive red lining over the shoulders. I had one – it was fabulous. (Andy)
Yes, found a record of it. Bristol and London I believe, founded 1851.
Listed in the 1882 Post Office London Directory as concerned with 'India rubber waterproof clothing manufacture' located at 37 Queen Victoria St, EC.
Company with retail shop in Jamaica St, Glasgow, in 1939
Cheapside, Lancaster, 1950s and earlier. Outerwear Specialists. Rubber products.
Lancaster and District Directory 1958-9 County Publications Ltd
Outfitters. List themselves as 'House of Mackintosh' stockist in the Kendal and District Directory published by Ashton and Denton in 1963. Established, they say, for 175 years, which puts their birth in1788. A James Blacow (Outfitter) is listed in the Kelly Directory of 1897.
Founded 1836 in London. (Levitt, p53)
Outfitters, list themselves as 'rainwear specialists' in the Kendal and District Directory published by Ashton and Denton in 1963.
Several stores around the UK in the fifties it seems.
Thanks to TG
Thomas' nephew. Started a firm in Islington in 1820, 'continuing the family business' (Levitt, p.53)
Established 'about 1848' (Levitt, p.53)
Founded in London in 1847 (Levitt, p.53)
Pic of the former Jeltek factory building in 2006 very kindly supplied by Alexander Mcrobbie-Munro.
Used to have contracts to supply the MOD. (James)
Jeltek Weatherguard was bought by Coats, not sure when. A Jeltek factory was opened in Halbeath Road, Dumfermline in 1963. In 1978 Alexander mcrobbie-Munro says he had a job in a Jeltek factory near Cowdenbeath (LE)
|A M confirms Jeltek Weatherguard were based at Halbeath just at the roundabout. At the end of the seventies/beginning of the eighties he estimates there must have been about 250/300 employees - two machine shops with possibly 100/200 in each shop.|
Jeltek, Weatherguard Works, Halbeath, Dunfermline was bought by Vantona Textiles Ltd in 1981. Vantona (to become Vantona Viyella and then Carrington Viyella based in Manchester and managed by the David Alliance), relocated their previously Edinburgh based company Manclark & Son, uniform manufacturers, (these works were destroyed by fire in approx. Easter 1981) and operated both companies from the Jeltek works.
Anon. (To whom, many thanks. - LE)
Saw one of my old employers listed in your history of rainwear - Jeltek Weatherguard Ltd. I worked there from 1981 to 1990, joining soon after the company was bought by CV. The company made a move into the leisure market over this period using the trading name Weatherguard Leisurewear. We sold countless thousands of wax cotton jackets to M&S and even more windrunner jackets to NIKE. Of the premium brands we supplied Mountain Equipment. On the uniform/contract side we were still major suppliers to the MOD manufacturing in Goretex and PU. (Peter - thankyou)
Thanks to TG
Had a shop in Leeds anyway in 1940 and one in Preston at least in 1952.
Had a shop in Leeds anyway in 1930
Founded in Leyland in 1862.
Patentees and Sole Manufacturers of Mandleberg Waterproofs.
Manchester, London, Paris.
Former Manchester factory still to be seen from the train from Preston with the "Mandelberg" signage mournful but legible.(LE)
Very large Manchester manufacturer. Factory in Ardwick.
Founded 1833. Acquired by Avon Rubber Company in 1964. Closed by them in early seventies.
Hepworths+Kendalls = Next
Had a shop in Preston at least in 1923.
E.Mealor of Wallasey who traded as Rainshine moved to: 10, Burnley Road, Moreton, Wirral, Merseyside, L46 9QF But did not send a telephone number so I do not know if she is still making rainwear and polyurethane lingerie, her products were attractive and well priced. I bought a number of items in 1996-97. (Timothy)
Yes, this firm was run by Mr. E.Mealor, and made splendid latex and satinised rubber macs as well as many other types of garment e.g. lingerie. He also sold a wide range of mac videos which he made at his own home. They were all "tasteful", with no nudity, but he also sold some made elsewhere which included some "straight" sex. Like Timothy I bought some items, including videos and one latex mac which I gave to a girlfriend who was happy to wear it for me. I have since lost contact with her.
I spoke to Mr. Mealor several times by phone in the late 80's and 90's. He sounded as if he was over 60 then, so I assume he gave up the business. I have certainly been unable to contact him since the late 90's and have been unable to find any trace of him in Google apart from your entry. (Maclover.)
I bought a very pretty long pink polyurethane raincoat by Anna Maria Beretta for Ramosport in October 1981. It came from Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge and cost £96, the material had an attractive shiny texture. (Timothy)
Had shop premises in Chelsea in1880s. (166-168 Sloane Street, Chelsea, Greater London)
A photo taken in 1889 shows the street frontage of the shop and the block of apartments above.
In 1975-6 there were some very nice polyurethane raincoats available in Miss Selfridge shops. They were made by a firm (in north London I think) that used the trademark “Harglenis” and they carried the description “Cottonskin”. They were about knee length and came with a hood or a collar. I bought two in French Navy Blue and one in Bright Red. They cost from £26 to £30. (Timothy)
Pic of the Edinburgh branch.
This firm used to make Raincoats/Oilskins for the Royal Navy in the Sixties and seventies. (James)
Founded in London in 1837 (Levitt, p.53).
Maker of riding macs. (PM)
Maker of riding macs (PM) Like P&O, they made a good quality mac which was available in our local (may we know where please? - ed) menswear shop until the 1980's when ths shop closed. (PM)
Zacharias of Oxford attended all the Country Shows with a mass of riding macs which were of good quality, but seemed rather expensive to me at the time. (PM)
I am now 52 and was taking a break from job seaching by typing in " Zacharias" of Oxford. I worked there for a short period (think I was about 16) before taking a job at Burtons (Mr Woods was my boss on Cornmarket St, lovely chap) and remember all the lovely clothes (Harris Tweeds, Viyella shirts etc) that we sold. American tourists couldnt get enough of it. I had many happy and great days out travelling to country shows and sleeping under canvas . The owners were brothers I believe and they were kind considerate people as were all the staff there. I visit Oxford from time to time and always look on those places with fond happy memories.
A more 'alternative' supplier, mail order. (Bryan)
Near Biggin Hill, with a BEAUTIFUL model to show the macs. (Bryan)
Less than twenty years ago, there must have been a large importation of French
Airforce macs, male buttoning, though that didn't matter. Merely driving around
I spotted five ladies wearing them . They were green/khaki, made by Barmette
of Paris and my partner was speedily equipped with one, possibly from a market,
which may have been the Kensington Market ... (Bryan)
Kendalls Ipswich Branch courtesy Kendall and Son Limited
There was a small firm in Luton called Kendall with the by-line 'Kendall keeps you dry'. My first mac was a lovely rubber-lined grey cotton coat with a tartan collar which kept me more than dry for several years. No trace of it now and I don't know when it went out of business. (Anton)
(Someone suggested Kendall was a chain in fact - ? LE)
Bryan says it is 'a chain in the North' - LE
Yes, I am sure that Kendalls was a chain of shops. During the 1950's and probably earlier, they had no less than three shops in Bournemouth. All had good displays of mackintoshes at reasonable prices. I think they must have closed during the 1960's. (PM)
Yes, Kendalls became Next. A Gentleman's Tailors called J.Hepworth & Son was established in Leeds in 1864, and this bought out the Kendalls chain of rainwear shops in 1981 and turned it into NEXT. NEXT, launching in 1981 or 1982 (both dates are quoted, haven't found out yet which is right), widened the range to cover womenswear generally (later of course it widened stull further to take in menswear, childrenwear and 'homeware').
Info from The Catalogue Shop - not sure where they got it from.
There's a Wikipedia entry for Kendalls and the beginnings of a website on the firm's history.
NEXT website offers a history which includes that of Kendalls too. Head Offices of NEXT are in Leicester. Wikipedia entry for NEXT is valuable too.
There is also the Encyclopedia of Company Histories.
Basic ref is probably:
The House of Kendall, published by Newman Neame Ltd.
No date or further details are given by Wikipedia and haven't myself traced it yet.
used to make rainwear in the forties, but I don't know anything else about them!
in Oxford St London sold rubberised rainwear in the early fifties.
"In the late 1970's (possibly 1978) C & A sold a lightweight red double-textured mac which was extremely popular. It was, apparently, one of their best selling lines for years. This mac was full-length, single breasted with a tie belt, and was only available in a distinctive brick-red colour. On a wet day in Bath or Swindon one could see any number of ladies sporting such mackintoshes, yet C & A never re-stocked this line. What a shame!"
in Oxford St London sold rubberised rainwear in the early fifties.
designed a lot of vinyl, plastic and rubber raincoats for Ramosport or her own label over the last 30 years. Some pics here.
I wonder if anyone might be able to enlighten me regards a company which I think might be called 'Yarmouth'? I discovered a very old rubberised vinyl mack recently in an old building - it was very dusty looking but once washed and polished it came up with the most amazing gloss shine. This was the name on the label though it had become very faint with age. Does it ring any bells?
I would also like to know more about a Scottish company called 'Walker' which made long vinyl oilskin type macks - again anyone heard of them?
The shop was in Cale Street, London. Their standard hooded cape in rubberised satin was £3, and it had the internal cross shoulder straps to hold it on if you didn't want to do up the front. They had a splendid catalogue for mail order. I read somewhere that the proprietor had died in the sixties. Certainly the shop had disappeared by 1966. (Jon)
'Aqua Sprite' was SUPERB. And such lovely models. I know that what matters really is the woman inside the mac plus the mac itself, but some, in a subjective way, seem to really fit and appear to love wearing their mackintoshes.
Some pics are here. See also display in the Rainwear Archive
I am fairly sure is South Bucks Rainwear, which I remember from the 60s. It was mail order only. The name still exists, but it has moved to Dorset and the address is here. (Jon)
Regent Street, London (Jon)
was another shop in Oxford Street with branches in other places. (Jon)
made super rubber macs with button on hoods up to the late 50s. They were £1.9.11 but you would not have liked the average wage. (Jon)
Early Manufacturer. Established 1847. (Levitt, p. 53)
made rubber macs until the late 50s. There was a nice model with a hood which looked like a wide roll collar and unfolded up over the head. It had a drawstring at the front of the hood. (Jon)
was a department store which had nice macs. I remember one cape with a hood and a " strap" which attached to a button on each side to stop the hood blowing off the head on windy days. I think that it was made of rubberised silk, but anyway, the colour varied from blue to purple depending on the angle of the light. (Brenda)
Pic here, thanks FRS - LE
Derby Street, Manchester.
This company made wonderful school gaberdine mackintoshes as well as adult rainwear mostly in gaberdine. They advertised 'The Junior 4 Plus' which was a traditional school gaberdine mackintosh, double breasted with a belt. School regulation hoods were also available for a modest extra sum. The gaberdines were available in navy blue, bottle green, brown, grey, and maroon. They were always advertised in below the knee length, and with 4 inch let downs on the hem and sleeves for growing children. They were available in sizes up to 46" length which fitted an adult. I bought several of these larger sized gaberdines towards the end of the time they were trading in Manchester. Sadly, when they left Manchester they must have disposed of any remaining stock. The traditional school uniform gaberdine was impossible to find until I managed to persuade Lorraine Element to start supplying them again! Only fully rubber interlined now for maximum protection! (Brenda)
In the late 70's Wallis sold a large range of mackintoshes but one I remember particularly well was this: a double textured rubberised mackintosh - wrap over with a wide tie belt. The mac was full length and "fitted", i.e. narrowed at the waist and flared below. It was wide at the shoulders with a kind of squared-off boxed detail at each shoulder. It was aAvailable in several colourways - white, black, brown ,green,light blue & mustard yellow. It was a very popular mackintosh at that time and gave a lot of pleasure to many mackintosh fans I shouldn't wonder. (Peter A)
Wallis is still there of course, and now (2010) has a nice blog. (LE)
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