ravens polo Five generations of city’s tailor trade
THANKS to Beatrix Potter, everyone knows the story of the Tailor of Gloucester. Now, however, readers will be able to learn about the subject’s Hereford counterpart.
At the age of 97, John, who lives at Madley, has led a full life, having gained a first class degree at Cambridge, served with the Indian Army during the Second World War and lectured on Indian history at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
Now he has turned his attention to the long established business, Pritchards Tailors and Gentlemen’s outfitters, now in King Street, where detailed records have been kept since it first opened in 1836, providing a glimpse into Hereford’s social history.
A former manager of the Royal Automobile Club’s library and archives, Joan Williamson has written a review of the book, published by Logaston Press.
“This book tells the fascinating tale of a local family firm, long established in Hereford,” she writes. “John Harrison has been able to research and write it thanks to the existence of many of the firm’s ledgers and family records which have been so carefully preserved for future generations.
“Not only does the book tell the story of the Pritchard family and their tailoring business, but it also presents a social history of Hereford itself. In particular, it mentions the many family businesses which once existed before the chain stores took over. The story is also much concerned with Pritchards customers over the years including the Bishop of Hereford and many of the county clergy, and the landed gentry who ordered clothes for themselves and livery for their servants.
“The story starts with William Pritchard who was born near Hay on Wye in 1796 and who came to Hereford in 1836, and his nephew also William who was a trained journeyman tailor. According to the census, by 1836 William senior was recorded as a master tailor and an employer of 10 men.
“There are some 18 chapters to this work all concise and well written dealing with such topics as the Pritchard work force, Victorian Herefordshire, Pritchards customers and the kind of clothes that they bought.
“Given my background in motoring history, I was intrigued to find that Percy’s father, Walter had an interest in hot air balloons as well as owning a Quadrant. A powerful 16 cylinder 19 litre Mercedes Maybach joined the cortege for Percy’s funeral in 1996.
“The present day members of the family are Edward and Elizabeth Pritchard who are very much involved in running the business.
“This is a wonderful story of a local business and how it survived and adapted. Copiously illustrated and with impeccable references, it has been faithfully told by John Harrison who took several years to gather and write up all his sources which are listed at the end of this work.”