The first to tell the full story of Swaine Adeney Brigg, the makers of luxury leather goods and umbrellas, this book presents a wealth of items made by the various firms and brands that came together to form the company we know today. Brigg umbrellas and walking sticks, Swaine & Adeney whips, Köhler hunting horns, Pendragon travel goods, and Herbert Johnson hats are all represented and placed in their social historical setting.
With more than 160 colour illustrations, including paintings, historical prints and drawings as well as newly commissioned photography, the book is an indispensable tool for collectors and anyone interested in the lively interplay of trade and craftsmanship in Britain over the past 250 years.
How has the firm of Swaine Adeney Brigg, one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious manufacturers of leather goods and umbrellas, survived for so long? What are the ingredients of its lasting success? This book charts how the company has kept pace with the shifting needs and demands of the marketplace, seizing trading opportunities, for the most part successfully, along the way.
Swaine & Adeney began as makers of driving, riding, and hunting whips, becoming whip-makers to the royal family. With the coming of the railways, horse-drawn transport was greatly reduced and demand for whips shifted away from driving accessories to hunting and fashionable riding accessories. As the twentieth century dawned Swaine & Adeney survived the advent of the motor car by applying their leather-working skills also to the making of luggage. Other equestrian accessory companies were absorbed: J. Köhler & Son, makers of coaching and hunting horns, and G. & J. Zair Ltd, whip-makers of Birmingham.
In the dark days of 1943, Thomas Brigg & Sons, London’s leading umbrella and walking-stick manufacturers joined forces with Swaine & Adeney, bringing with them their own long and impressive history of craftsmanship and royal patronage. Together, as Swaine Adeney Brigg, they emerged into the post-war era with renewed vigour. The hatters Herbert Johnson and the luggage-making arm of Papworth Industries were later added to the group.
Neville Chamberlain, Margot Fonteyn, Augustus John, and Stirling Moss have been among the proud owners of the group’s stylish products, and Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau both wore Herbert Johnson hats, James Bond (Sean Connery) in ‘From Russia with Love’ had a Swaine Adeney attache with secret gadgets and the latest film Kingsman – Secret Service has a magnificent Brigg umbrella used as a secret weapon by Colin Firth!
1 Swaine Adeney Brigg – The Founding Fathers 9
2 J. Köhler & Son – Hunting, Coaching, and Signal Horn Manufacturers 75
3 G. & J. Zair Ltd – The Birmingham Connection 83
4 Thomas Brigg & Sons – Royal Umbrella-makers 91
5 Herbert Johnson – Hatters of New Bond Street 123
6 ‘Pendragon Perfection – The skilled touch of craftsmen’ 135
7 Looking Ahead 148
List of Illustrations
A Note on Sources
Katherine Prior is a freelance historian and museum consultant. She has a PhD from Cambridge University in the religious history of colonial India, and now focuses her research on the quirkier aspects of Britain’s domestic and imperial history. She is the author with John Adamson of Maharajas’ Jewels and the author of The Daniells: An lllustrated Journey round the World. Born and brought up in rural South Australia, she now lives in London.
The book was published on 25th October 2012 by John Adamson. The price of the book is £48.00 plus shipping.