The beginning of Barbour jackets
In 1894 John Barbour established himself in the burgeoning port of South Shields, supplying oilskins and other garments to protect the growing community of sailors, fishermen, rivermen and dockers from the worst of the North Sea weather.
Within a few years the firm became the leading supplier of oilskins on the north east coast, not only to seafarers but to others in the surrounding country - farmers, labourers, carters, shepherds - who earned their living outdoors in all weathers. By the beginning of the next century Barbour’s durable Beacon oilskins were well known throughout Britain and beyond.
The legendary durability of Barbour jackets
If there’s one feature that distinguishes Barbour jackets more than any other, it is their legendary durability. But, given the quality of materials used—genuine long-staple Egyptian cotton, solid brass studs, substantial metal zips, plus painstaking quality of construction with an average of 15,000 stitches and up to two hundred components—perhaps it’s hardly surprising.
The seams in a Barbour oiled cotton jacket are double rolled, each stitched through two thicknesses of fabric. It is an intricate part of the manufacture and it ensures that the seams are completely waterproof. Even the thread is treated with the same secret watertight proofing formula as the fabric itself.
How long a Barbour jacket will last very much depends on its use (or rather abuse in many cases). Undoubtedly, owners expect much more of a Barbour than any other garment because Barbour enables them to do more. They will subject themselves and their jackets to the severest conditions of weather, mud, animal contact and abrasion than they could ever contemplate if wearing anything less robust.