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Swallow Raincoats

pjmburns

master brummie
Not sure when they started in Birmingham but they made coats for the US army in WW2 as well as British forces.

Janice
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
They certainly did Janice. Like Burberry who I think made coats for WW1 soldiers - hence the name trench coat. Here's the US 'on active service' coat and the full US trademark registration mentioned by Carolina above. Viv.
 

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Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
They also seem to have had a football themed advertising campaign too. I remember footballers such as Trevor Francis wearing these sort of jackets when out and about (but not on the pitch of course). "Winners at home and away" and "Start the style season ...... Fine in the rain". Only in the UK could a company see the benefits of standing in the rain watching a football match. Viv.
 

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eddlowe

master brummie
that's the place we are at the end of the building in well st the wall is our party wall thanks Vivienne
 

eddlowe

master brummie
Hi Guys and Girls it is the actual date the building was erected we are after, a bonus would be the first occupier, I doubt swallow raincoats was the original occupier but would love to be proved wrong, I say swallow raincoats as most people know the building as this, I worked in part of the building for the past 35 years and have no idea when it was built thanks edd
 

pjmburns

master brummie
I think you need a search of the Kelly's directories in the library. There are more volumes than can be found online and this might help identify when the building was used by Swallow and also who occupied it earlier.
Swallow are listed in Well Street in the 1939 telephone directory. The earliest I can find them in Well Street is May 1928. In 1927 there is a Swallow manufacturing company in Newmarket Street but I am not sure if they are the same company or not.

Janice
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
11111qYou are lucky, as it is often difficult to betermine when a building was built. howverthis building is in the Jewellery Quarter and the John Cattell et al book "The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter" states that it was built c1912 for John Warrillow, stationer, as a printing works, mainly of trade catalogues and other work for the jewellery and metal trades. It was erected in three stages in matching style. the Warrillow monogram is incorporated into the metal wrought iron railings in Well st. the first phase was a four stroied building with a splayed bay on the corner, with a 13 bay length in Well st and three bay length in Gt Hampton St. The building was extended in 1919 along Gt Hampton st, and again later (date not given)
 

eddlowe

master brummie
Mikejee, and Vivienne, thank you both so much, that is the exact type of information I was hoping for, I can pass this on to the developer who will incorporate it on a plaque for all to see. when done I will post a photo but it will be a while yet, great result thanks edd
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Edd, this is an extract from Andy Foster's Pevsner's Architectural Guide, Birmingham too. Look forward to seeing the plaque in time. Viv.
 

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Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
For those who've been following this story, here's the Well Street view of the building from Streetview. Mike mentioned the 'W' monogram on the fence, here it is plus a view of one entrance with a little coloured, stained glass detail. Looking at the view along Well Street, it's clear it's a substantial building and I think you can just make out the various phases of development. Viv.
 

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mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Ed
If you want a copy of the full description in Cattell's book then send me an IM with your e-mail address and I'll scan it and send it to you
 
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Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Harold Wilson wore Gannex raincoats thus giving free publicity. Apart from Diana I wonder who else, who was famous, wore a Swallow raincoat.


David Bowie! One was auctioned at Christies Looks like it had done the rounds. £2,000 - £3,000 estimate in 2013 - wow, for a raincoat. Viv.
 

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Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
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And here's the very article from Bowie's video 'DJ' Viv.
 

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Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
And Fred Bason, American diarist. Never heard of him. Perhaps he got his in the US. The magazine cover is from 1951. Viv.
 

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Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
great research on this building...would it be possible to ask the developers to take some inside shots of the building for prosertity and pass them onto us or has work already started...i would ask myself but at the min my time is taken up with another old building in princip st at the moment....thanks edd

lyn
 
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