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wool or worsted uniforms


BradfordWW1
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Bradford was a great worsted centre, worsted being a finer quality wool product. I know khaki contracts came to Bradford but wondered if regular soldiers uniforms were made of worsted or if that was kept for officers uniforms. I expect the worsted yarn produced in Bradford was used in the manufacture of uniforms and I also know that some Bradford firms were busy producing hosiery or underwear for the army - would this have included long johns?? what other worsted goods would the army have needed??

Bradford was the HQ of the Wool Board of Control and although there is information on this and the textile trade it is lacking in detail about what contracts were actually delivered in Bradford.

if anyone could help it would be appreciated

kathryn

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I know wiki.. is not always correct but it gives this definition:-

"Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms, suits, great coats and trench coats."

It doesnot say if this was the case in 1914-18 though.

I have seen tailors advertisments offering officers uniform in Barathea& whipcord for jackets/tunics and Bedford Cord for breeches/trousers. The officers "British Warm" was made from a heavy cloth but not the same serge as the Or's Great Coats.

bill

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from Hainsworths (of Pudsey) near your neck of the woods http://www.hainsworth.co.uk/apparel-fabrics/authentic-costume-fabrics/worsted

"A wide ride range of baratheas, serge, panama, whipcord, cavalry twill, infantry and gabardine worsteds of the highest quality with excellent finish and drape characteristics. Our worsted range is used for mess dress, uniforms and high quality tailored garments.

The majority of this range is available as stock items with the addition that our gaberdine and panama worsteds can be dyed in additional colours to meet your specific requirements and the exception that our serge is available by special order."

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The Officer's British Warm was usually made from Melton, a thick tightly woven wool cloth with a heavy brushed nap giving a smooth finish.

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Thanks for your help, I'm not a textile expert and a lot of these terms go over my head, just trying to get a clearer idea of textile production in the city!! kathryn

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this snippet is from the Company History of Hainsworths:

"With the outbreak of war in 1914 the two mills had to adapt quickly to meet this unfortunate demand. Historically the various public services, railway companies, tramways, Post Offices etc had all had their own specialised uniform cloth, but under war time restrictions only seventeen types were allowed. There was a change of emphasis from smarter costly cloths to cheaper utilitarian Serges for battledress and narrow flannel for shirts and hospital use. During the war years the War Office ordered 66 million yards of greatcoat cloth, 17 million yards of whipcord and a massive 231 million yards of narrow flannel."

I assume the 66 million yards of Greatcoat cloth was mostly the heavy fairly rough serge that Or's coats were made of. I would expect that all the mills of Bradford & District were very busy in WW1. Have you visited the Local history sections and archives at local libraries and Museums forinformation. i assume fromyouruser namethat you live in that area.

and this may be of interest to you from theSaltaire Heritage site :

http://www.saltairevillage.info/saltaire_history.html

"To mark the centenary of the start of WW1, local historian, Colin Coates, has researched the brave men of Saltaire who were soldiers in the war. Many died; some survived. Here you can read details of each soldier's life. Using information from local Rolls of Honour, online resources such as Ancestry and CWGC, and newspaper cuttings from the Shipley Times, Colin Coates has built up substantial database to help us understand what it was like to live in Saltaire during the Great War. The research continues and will be published as it becomes available this year. The WW1 Saltaire Diary will begin in August, and will chronicle events week-by-week, as they occurred in 1914 when war was declared."

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Yes, I have been researching home front in Bradford for 3 years now and am currently writing a book for the history press - one of a series of home front books on different towns across the country - my website needs updating but you can find out more about my project there and on the blog - bradfordWW1.co.uk

Bradford was very busy during the war and the Wool Control Board had its headquarters in Bradford they dealt with civilian trade and details of the King and Queen's tour of the Bradford mills in 1918 also leaves the impression that most of the large mills were on civilian work with heavy woollen work being undertaken in other districts like huddersfield and Dewsbury where the Army Clothing Depot was based.

Bradford did produce enormous quantities of worsted yarn which might have been used to stitch the uniforms and they seemed to produce hosiery textiles which were presumably of finer quality than the thick wool uniforms!!

There is a wealth of literature on the history of the textile industry in Bradford but none of it relates to the first world war period and I am having to dig far and wide to get details of the situation.

kathryn

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this snippet is from the Company History of Hainsworths:

"During the war years the War Office ordered 66 million yards of greatcoat cloth, 17 million yards of whipcord and a massive 231 million yards of narrow flannel."

I assume the 66 million yards of Greatcoat cloth was mostly the heavy fairly rough serge that Or's coats were made of.

Coats or greatcoats? OR's greatcoat material is even thicker and heavier again than normal SD jackets and trousers are made of, and I swear you could strike matches on it or use it for sandpaper...

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Yes, I have been researching home front in Bradford for 3 years now and am currently writing a book for the history press - one of a series of home front books on different towns across the country - my website needs updating but you can find out more about my project there and on the blog - bradfordWW1.co.uk

Bradford was very busy during the war and the Wool Control Board had its headquarters in Bradford they dealt with civilian trade and details of the King and Queen's tour of the Bradford mills in 1918 also leaves the impression that most of the large mills were on civilian work with heavy woollen work being undertaken in other districts like huddersfield and Dewsbury where the Army Clothing Depot was based.

Bradford did produce enormous quantities of worsted yarn which might have been used to stitch the uniforms and they seemed to produce hosiery textiles which were presumably of finer quality than the thick wool uniforms!!

There is a wealth of literature on the history of the textile industry in Bradford but none of it relates to the first world war period and I am having to dig far and wide to get details of the situation.

kathryn

Did the different "wool towns" in Yorkshire tend to specialise in certain aspects of the wool production in the same way that the different processes in the Lancashire cottton industry tended to concentrate in different towns. For example Bolton had mostly spinning mills of Egyptian Cotton and dyers with just a few weaving mills, Rochdale and Oldham also had mostly spinning with Blackburn, Accrington Burnley and the other East Lancashire towns having a predominance of weaving.

The Lancashire cotton industry was affected by reduced exports and restrictions on the import of raw cotton with production being more focused on military clothing and supplies. . This especialy affected the High Quality Egyptian Cotton manufacturing.

The Yorkshire wool industry musthave benefited from the war because with the expanding army being mostly in France & Flanders most soldiers were kitted out with woolen uniformd although the use of fine yarns and cloth would have probably reduced.

The textile industry in general would have had a problem with retaining experienced workers because the large proportion of women workers, compared to other industries may have beentempted top move to higherpaid employment in the munitions industries, a type of work denied them pre war.

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