A SNIPPET - ABOUT NAVAL TAILORS.

Q.  What do you get in a navy which is helping to fight a world war?

A.  Lot's of sailors and WRNS - officers and ratings alike.

Q.  What do these people need to keep them warm and smart?

A.  Uniforms of course.

Q.  When the war had been successfully prosecuted and won, did all these people just pack up and go home?

A.  No, of course not. Those who joined up for the war [the HO's] did, but in reality that took ages - up to 1947 in some cases.  Those who were staying on as
      'regulars', whose ranks were swollen because of the war, not only continued to need uniforms, but started to demand quality uniforms, cut and designed
      into tidily suits and made from the finest cloths and materials.

Now, long before WW2 or WW1 or the Boer War, the Crimean War and even before the very first battle of the Napoleonic Wars [the Glorious First of June] which was a long time before the Battle of Trafalgar, and in the 18th century, there had been naval tailors.  The very first recognised naval tailor was GIEVES [founded in 1785] which really became a supplier of officers uniforms and civilian attire: it wasn't until 1974 that Gieves acquired Hawkes to form the company Gieves and Hawkes.  It followed that line of trading until, forced by fewer customers because of defence cuts and more peaceful times, it had to diversify, and today, the majority of its trade is with the discerning general public, but chiefly men. I mention this because my Q & A approach might suggest that the end of WW2 was the cause of the naval tailoring industry to expand rapidly but it is not the case, as other wars had brought officers out of retirement only to dump them back onto the retired list when hostilities ceased and men had been co-opted or coerced and then released back to a fend-for-yourself existence. Therefore, the fortunes of naval tailoring saw peaks and troughs directly affected by war/recruitment and by peace/whole sale redundancies respectively, and WW2 was really no different. What did change after the war was that the men, as well as officers, wanted to spend their money on a uniform they could be justly proud of, and which the service,  issuing only mass produced and ill-fitting garments, wasn't able to provide.

The mid-war years and thereafter until about the early 1970's produced a whole range of national and service magazines, and just like today they were part paid for by advertisers. I have many of these of all types, and just for fun I decided to look through them looking for naval tailor advertisements. I was amazed at the length of the list produced and surprised that some of the names I had never heard of. Other names, likewise known and unknown, hardly ever advertised, at least not in this cross-section of magazines, but I have added them to the list. See how many you remember or even used with that proverbial naval tailor allotment and six months credit in hand, offered by all of them.

Some have founding dates and they will comes first.  However, some of the non dated companies, who will follow on, could well be older than those dated, so don't take them as being listed in seniority. Other company's have been added to the list which have a relatively short trading history and do not therefore appear in the magazines of forty years and more ago. Click on the thumbnail below where supplied.

1785 Gieves - Gieves and Hawke from 1974
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1800 Cracknell
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1848 Baker
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1880 Baun
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1899 Fleming
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C.H. Bernards thought to be approximately 1810 but uncertain
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Greenburgh 1
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Alkit
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Gardiner
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Moss Bros
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Goode
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Daufman
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Willerby
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Jack Blair
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Louis Bernard
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Seagulls
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G.D. Golding
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Erin Hird
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Garry Beverley
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Coopers
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Greenburgh 2

 

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Bernards 2

 

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Maltese Sports Outfitters

 

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Maltese Naval Tailor

 

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Greenburgh 3


 

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Harry Black
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E.C. Snaith
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J. Levy
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Today, as we would expect with a very small navy and the discerning your sailors of the 21st century, there are very few naval tailors as we older folks used to know them. 

Enjoy a little nostalgic return to your youth. Best regards.