Continuing last week’s tour of Barbour‘s HQ, the End team took the opportunity to explore the brand’s archive room and came across a number of stunning jackets from different eras. The collection encompasses garments that date back to 1910 and features not only well-worn jackets, but jackets that look as if they’ve barely been touched over the years, too.
First up is Uncle Harry’s coat, the earliest coat in the archives dating back to 1910. It is a double-breasted jacket designed to protect the wearer against foul weather in all situations and features a velvet collar and waxed thread for waterproofing.
Pictured next is a cape-style jacket from the 1920s. Although it bares little resemblance to what we recognize as typical of Barbour today, the jacket was wildly popular in its time, with thousands produced and sold. Designed to meet the needs of horsemen, the jacket was created to protect those who faced the elements on top of their horses as carriage drivers.
Shown in picture three is the A7 International. Originally sold with an accompanying pair of trousers, the jacket was created with a comprehensive list of features designed to aid and improve the motorcycle rider’s experience. The chest pocket was set at an angle to allow gloved hands easy access to maps, the collar was cut short to create room for a pudding bowl helmet and the jacket was belted in order to give it some aerodynamics, preventing it from flapping about in the wind.
Featured in both picture four and five are two Solway jackets each aged differently. The Solway jacket first appeared in the 1970s and was one of the first country jackets. It is this use in Britain’s countryside that has created these two remarkably different jackets. The first has been lavished with frequent coatings of wax, accompanied with a build-up of grease and dirt which has given it this rich, almost leather-style appearance. The second has been left untreated, allowing the elements to strip it of its original wax coating, leaving it with the lightweight feel of a normal cotton jacket.
Shown in image six is the Longshore Smock. Made in 1938 as the predecessor to the Solway, the Longshore Smock continues to show Barbour’s primary concern, comfort and functionality. Cut generously, allowing for many layers to be worn beneath it, the Smock was worn while lying in the sand, creating more wear and tear on the front and creating the need for the large funnel collar in order to protect the wearer.
Next up is an example from the 1950s of the A7 international which retains the recognizable details of the 1937 model, this time incorporating a wool lining. It is this versatility and ease of customization that has constantly helped to propel the brand.
The jacket pictured in image eight is the PVC jacket which was most likely used in a poultry factory. And while vastly different from the outdoor styles that have become associated with the brand, contains a selection of the functional details that made them great.
Last up is a subdued version of Barbour’s Motoring jacket. Designed to be worn while driving an open-topped car, the wearer actually sits in the jacket offering three layers of protection at the front, where the worst of the elements would hit the driver. As with many of the styles in the archive, it is lined with a unique tartan fabric and retains the angled map pocket and corduroy collar that have now become hallmarks of the brand.