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The Clothing Industry
in Burton Latimer


Map of Burton Latimer in 1928
showing the sites of the various clothing factories.
Click on a number on the map (or scroll down the
page) for further information and links

The clothing industry arrived in Burton Latimer in the mid-1880s, about ten years before the first shoe factory was built in the town. The manufacture of clothing was an important local industry for several towns along the Ise Valley, including Kettering, Rothwell, Desborough, Burton Latimer and Wellingborough. Factories were usually built by private businessmen, but the Co-operative societies were also involved in the industry.

In many ways the clothing industry complemented the shoe industry in providing a secure employment for families. Both industries employed men and women, though the majority of workers in shoe factories were men, whereas women formed the main part of the workforce in the clothing factories. This "family" atmosphere of employment in light industry within one town helped the town to develop a sense of community and shared identity. Several factory buildings in Burton were in their time used for shoe and clothing manufacture.

The clothing industry suffered a decline similar to that in the shoe industry, and on a similar timescale. By the late 1980s there was little if any clothing production. Several of the factories still remain, though the businesses they house are very different from the clothing firms of the last century.

Ideal Clothiers Ltd. made clothes in their Station Road factory from c1910 to 1963. It is now used by Sunseeker Windows.

Click here to read the story of Ideal Clothiers

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Kaycee Clothing (a brand name for Kettering Co-op) had a factory in Station Road from 1900 to the early 1950s. Some of the company's long-serving staff are at Kaycee staff 1949. It was put on the market in 1954 and later used as a shoe warehouse by Buckby Bros.

Known as the "Pioneer Works" when occupied by Arthur Jones Ltd. and the Carrington Shoe Co. Ltd. in 1967.

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"Gladstone Works" Bakehouse Lane, the home of Hart & Levy Ltd. clothing manufacturers from 1884 to the mid-1960s.

Later used by John Barran Ltd. and Benford (Hi Fi) Ltd. 

It was later demolished and is now housing.     

Click here to read the story of Hart & Levy

Click here to read a personal account of working at the factory

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Wards Clothing Company, clothing manufacturers, The Cross.

Thought to have started in premises over the Gas Co. offices, later a Chinese restaurant (arrowed right). Evolved into Ward & Son and moved to Meeting Lane. The business failed.

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David James built this factory on the High Street for the manufacture of clothing c1874. It would appear that he sold the premises to Wallis & Linnell and became factory manager some time before 1900 and Wallis & Linnell continued in business there until about 1930.

Click here to read the full story of Wallis & Linnell's

The Midland Box Co. had it until World War II.

With the shop premises on the front (now a restaurant), it was used by Compere Shoes and the Alliance Boot Company.

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Ward & Son moved here from The Cross but the business failed and Wacks & Speedwell, which had its origins as a Leicester clothing manufacturer, occupied the Meeting Lane premises 1924 - 1936, followed by She Products - soft drink manufacturers.

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Built by Frederick Wallis, clothing manufacturer c1892, from the 1920s it was owned by Thorneloe & Clarkson until the 1950s when it was used by various shoe companies, including Frank Wright Shoes,  until it closed and was eventually bought in the mid 1990s by the present occupants - Langham Industrial Controls.

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A barn at the rear of the High Causeway, High Street was Wallis & Linnell's first factory in Burton Latimer until they moved up the street c1885. The factory was converted into two houses and the area was later known as Wallis's Yard or Nutt's Yard.

The yard was demolished in 1938, and the remaining part of the site consisting of the High Street frontage was demolished in the 1960s and later became the Library and first Health Centre.

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