The Barbour story began in 1894 in South Shields in the North East of England. Founder John Barbour began supplying oilskins and other garments to protect the growing community of sailors, fisherman and dockers. These first weatherproof items quickly established Barbour's reputation for innovation and quality.
Today, Barbour remains a fifth-generation family business. Under the leadership of Chairman Dame Margaret Barbour, Barbour has grown into a lifestyle brand offering a wardrobe of stylish functional clothing and footerwear for men, women and children inspired by the unique values of the British countyside. The iconic wax jackets continue to be made by hand in Barbour's factory in South Shields. Barbour International, the collection for men and women inspired by Barbours motorcycle heritage established in 1936, is now a separate stand-alone brand with its own identity.
The founder John Barbour opens J Barbour & Sons in 5 Market Place, South Shields
Malcolm Barbour produced the first mail order catalogue. By 1917 the catalogue accounted for almost 75% of Barbour's business including international orders from as far away as Chile, South Africa and Hong Kong.
J Barbour & Sons became J Barbour & Sons Ltd with John Barbour as Chairman and Jack and Malcolm as joint Managing directors
Jack Barbour resigned and Malcolm Barbour was appointed Chairman.
Duncan Barbour, Malcolm's only son joined the business.
Duncan Barbour, himself a keen motorcyclist introduced a motorcycling range which quickly took off and Barbour suits were worn by virtually every British International team from 1936 to 1977 when Barbour pulled out of the motorcycle clothing market.
Duncan Barbour was called away to war and Malcolm Barbour and Duncan's wife Nancy took over the running of the business. They developed the Ursula suit which became standard issue for members of the Submarine Service. The Ursula suit was named after the U-class submarine, Ursula whose commander Captain George Philips was instrumental in getting the suits produced.
97% of all competitors who took part in the Scottish 6 Day Event rode in Barbour International Oiled Cotton suits.
Malcolm Barbour died age 83 and Nancy Barbour took over the role of Chairman with John as Managing Director.
John Barbour died suddenly leaving behind his young widow Margaret and their 2 year old daughter Helen. Margaret was immediately made a member of the Board of Directors.
1 April Barbour received the first Royal warrant from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
The first lightweight thornproof short riding jacket - the Bedale - was designed.
Barbour moved into a new factory in Simonside where the company remains to the present day.
1 January - Barbour received the second Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Beaufort jacket designed by Margaret Barbour featured in the catalogue for the first time.
1 January - Barbour received the third Royal Warrant by HRH the Prince of Wales.
The Barbour Trust was set up to support local and national projects and community issues. Margaret Barbour donated 20% of her shares in the company to The Barbour Trust.
In June 1991 Margaret Barbour was honoured with the award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to industry.
J Barbour & Sons Ltd celebrated its centenary.
Margaret Barbour was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honour's List.
100% of our waxed cotton is sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). We aim to source 70% of our entire cotton using more sustainability through BCI by the end of 2021 and 90% by the end of 2023.
Barbour achieved ISO 14001:2015 accreditation in October 2019. We are commited to continuously improve our environmental standards accross the business and progress our sustainability credentials.
Over 70% of our leather is currently sourced through the Leather Working Group and we aim to increase this to 80% by the end of 2022.
Reducing our waste through the use of recycled materials and extending the life of our garments through our Wax for Life programme is part of a plan of ongoing initiatives to offset our carbon footprint and ensure that future generations can enjoy the British countryside.
"Barbour by nature and heritage is an inclusive brand and we're very proud to have a hugely varied range of consumers, customers and employees across the globe.
We strive to provide exceptional service to all of our customers of any background or ethnicity.
We are implementing plans across all of our channels, brands (Barbour and Barbour International) and campaigns to ensure that we always represent and celebrate the diversity within our customer base."
Steve Buck, Managering Director, Barbour
"I love working at Barbour because it's a real pleasure to work for a brand that people have an emotional connection to. There are always new and exciting projects to be a part of so no two days are ever exactly the same! As a member of the digital team, one day I could be out on a location shoot in the countryside, and the next, I'll be at my desk building landing pages for campaigns on our website."
Alice, Senior Digital Campaigns Coordinator
"My current role in IT is diverse, supporting and developing the core ERP business software allows me to be involved with all areas of our business. I find working at Barbour enjoyable because there's a real friendly atmosphere, not only within my own department but in the Company as a whole. Barbour is a brand I really believe in and I'm proud to be a part of, which also comes in handy as there are some excellent staff benefits."
Quenton, ESP Solutions Specialist