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Barbour Jackets

Photo: Barbour

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about British outerwear brands and a reader quite rightly pointed out that I had missed off Barbour. So, because of that, and also because it is raining AGAIN, I am going to write about Barbour and their waterproof jackets today…

Started as a drapers shop at 5 Market Place, South Shields in 1894, the oilskin coats that J Barbour & Sons first set about selling were designed to protect the local fishing community from heavy rain and bad weather. These first coats were waterproofed with linseed oil which tended to go stiff in cold weather or turn yellow after a while. The waxed cotton version came about in the 1930’s after two years of development and has continued to evolve over the years until it became what it is today.

After decades of the coats only being worn by country folk, or Italians who loved the brand’s English sensibility, the last few years has seen no self respecting festival goer without one glued to their back. This summer Barbour have capitalised on this trend with the Barbour Festival Guide, which includes a suggestion of where to pitch your tent in case of a torrential downpour. There’s obviously also a guide to what to wear, lest you need reminding that if you go to any outdoor event in the UK in the summer you are also going to need a waterproof jacket (as well as a sense of humour).

There is also a growing market for vintage Barbour jackets, with sites like Mr Starr having trouble keeping up with demand for some of the rarer 50’s and 60’s styles.

This revival in interest in Barbour can only be a good thing. It’s factory in South Shields still employs nearly 200 people to make it’s wax jackets, and whilst not all of it’s product range is made there, being Made in England is still an important part of what Barbour are about.

The new  Barbour store is at 134 Long Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard, WC2E 9AA




  1. Upender Mehra on January 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    If being Made in England is still important to Barbour why the **** is over 90% of all their product Made “anywhere cheaper” than Great Britain?

  2. John Gibson on March 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Barbour the best British clothing for he worst British weather, a prime example of misleading promotion, Barbour like so many “reputable” British brands is just a bogus facade for cheap imports.

  3. si on April 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I hear and see “British Bands” all the time and the first thing I look for is the place of origin/Manufacture. British-Made in China Yep that says British to me because that’s how we do things now, Shame.

  4. rod on October 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    bought a jacket that the barbour sales people assured me was made in the UK It wasn’t…….

  5. christina shores on December 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    i would love to have a Barbour jacket that is really made in the old England that i grew up in

  6. Tony on February 16, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I wanted to Buy a Barbour jacket, i researched the product to find the majority of the jackets were imports.I contacted Barbour direct to ask which were UK produced, they were unable to confirm which particular jackets were made in the UK. I went to a reputable high street retailer and searched through the jackets to find the ones produced in the UK.
    These jackets are not cheap and the profit made on the imported ones must be very high whilst giving the impression they are produced in the UK as a member of my family had found out at his expense today. His £249 jacket is being returned as he was under the impression that when buying a Barbour he was buying British Made.

    • on February 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Hi Tony
      In Barbour’s defense I would guess that the reason that they now make some of their jackets abroad is that they have greatly increased in popularity recently and their factory in the UK cannot keep up with demand.
      That said, they should make it very clear to the customer which jackets aren’t made in Britain, and they should also charge less for them

      • ron on February 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        You spelled defence the American way “defense” – so much for “make it British.

  7. Simon on February 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm


    Me too. I bought a jacket from their own company store in Jarrow, after all of their sales people swore blind that all of their wax jackets are English made. Now after buying a wax jacket and being very suspicious because it didn’t contain a made in England label, I find from their own customer service that it is actually “made overseas”. So their customer service dept are contradicting their own shop employees.

    …and I’m stuck with an imported Barbour, feeling outright deceived.

  8. Carl Wilson on November 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Try Claymore Jackets for your wax cotton jackets. Made to measure and made in the UK.

  9. RICHARD SHARPE on October 4, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Really sad to learn that such a fine British “institution” as Barbour cannot be trusted. Had a similar experience previously with Russel Hobbs, finding out that they are now from China and with a sadly shortened life (2 failed units within 12 months).
    Richard M Sharpe

  10. Ian Travis on November 17, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Ian Travis
    Bought a Barbour wax jacket at their outlet shop in Castleford. We made great play on the Made In England brand and that we were proud that British workmen were still producing them. My wife noticed that the shop manager went quiet at this stage and we later noticed that the label omitted the MinE label. Barbour are being very disingenuous to say the least. The jacket will be going back!

  11. Thomas Solomon on January 10, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    This company is a scam. Complete. Don’t buy from them. Their jackets, wax or not, are not made in Britain. They are made in Lithuania, China, Turkey, anywhere but England. There “factory” in England is for show purposes.

    • on January 11, 2018 at 5:56 am

      Hi Thomas
      They do still have a factory in South Shields, in fact I know the chap who was the former production director until a couple of years ago.
      Admittedly they don’t make a very large percentage here but it is still one of the largest garment factories in the UK.

  12. David Regan on January 31, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Hi, I have had a Barbour international 3weeks now, the 2 front lower pocket linings are coming away as stitching wasn’t done properly. There are no labels to say where it was made. I have contacted customer service and the lady said send it back to where it was purchased, which was online shop in Scotland, not really interested.
    I want a Barbour coat that is made in Britain so I asked which ones are, but she said she didn’t know. Poor product, poor customer service.

  13. Caz on February 25, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Review this guys! Proper made in UK and at amazing prices

  14. Diane on March 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I bought my Barbour Bedale back in the late 1990’s when they weren’t that popular in the US. Mine definitely has a Made in England label. I was shocked to hear most are made in other areas. I heard the Bedale is the model still made in England, but I am not sure.

  15. Matthew Atkinson on December 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    It’s difficult to find out which of their products are made in the UK so now I don’t bother, will just buy from another company. If they can’t keep up with demand they could always open a new factory here. In my opinion they’ve cheapened their brand by manufacturing overseas.

  16. Tyrus McQueen on March 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I recently spent a small fortune on the Dept B Commander only to finb it was made in Bulgaria, I have since sold all my barbours on ebay and only buy English Utopia or Grenfells, who are actually made in England

  17. Christine Stuart-Monteith on December 30, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    I remembet in the late 80’s early 90’s the popularity of the wax Barbour jackets soared and they were sold around the world. After this golden age, they were somewhat forgotten, except maybe here in the UK. It is probably why they moved the majority of their production to China and other countries, and with this the quality plummeted. You only need to read Trustpilot comments to realise how bad they have become. It is a sad state of affairs. What is British made nowadays? Our politicians talk about backing British industries, but unfortunately, it is just talk. When will they realise that the world is being taken over by China? Do you know how many Chinese items you have in your possession? Iphones (yes, made in China), microwaves, most clothes, computers, cutlery, crockery, to name a few. I will drown my sorrow with a cup of tea and a produced in the UK biscuit.

  18. P.Carrington on April 12, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Me too…was trying to find out if Barbour tee shirts were made in U.K. Was unable to but discovered this site and these letters. I now look askance at my Beadnell jacket and feel cheated. I now look carefully at labels, if it says “made in China” I leave alone. Far too much is made cheaply in China….don’t buy it, thankgoodness for Ringtons tea and biscuits. .proper Geordie tea.

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