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A Piece of Worcester’s History

From an industry that employed over 30,000 people in and around Worcester and making nearly half of all the gloves in Britain it all came down to one glove maker and his manager.

Andrew Grant's flagship head office is in Foregate Street, Worcester. Before Andrew Grant moved into the building, in the early 1970s, it had been two separate businesses, a Chinese restaurant and a doctor’s surgery.

The building is Grade II listed and the rear part dates back to the 17th century and when local museum people visited and looked at the previously unoccupied attic, they found scraps of chamois leather, and from their records established that it had been the workshop of a glover.

Worcester's gloving industry reached its peak between 1790 and 1820 when 150 manufacturers of gloves employed over 30,000 people in and around Worcester and produced around seven and a half million pairs a year. At this time nearly half of all glovers in Britain were based in and around the city of Worcester.

By the middle of the 20th century, only a few Worcester gloving companies survived as gloves became less fashionable and free trade allowed in cheaper imports.

In the end it all came down to one company, Alwyn Gloves, founded over 50 years ago, which operated from the old village school at Crown East. The company was owned by Les Winfield. Sadly, Mr. Winfield died just before his 96th birthday last year.

Mr. Winfield had kept the company afloat, despite foreign competition, by concentrating on the top of the market and had a register of famous clients, including royalty.

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