A little boy dressed in a Sailor Suit poses for the camera for the firm of clothing manufacturer's John Barran & Sons. The trade in ready-to-wear tailoring for boys was an important part of the business at this time. The Sailor Suit was popular but there was also a demand for fancy dress and these were exported to Canada, Austrailia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America and the Continent. The boy in this image is is Herbert, whose father was a Machine Smith employed by Barran's, name of Arthur Giles. The Giles family are listed on the 1891 Census as living at number 1 Stratford Street in Hunslet. John Barran began his career in Leeds at the age of 22 with a small shop at number 30 Bridge End South. By 1851 he had moved to number 1 Briggate but his recognition of the potential of the new American invention of the sewing machine led him to opening a factory in Alfred Street. The business really took off when he worked with the firm of Greenwood and Batley to produce the band knife for bulk pattern cutting. The rapid expansion of the ready-to-wear business for Barran's in Leeds meant several moves. By the time the new warehouse in Chorley Lane opened in 1904, which adjoined the factory of 1888 in Hanover Lane, 3,000 people were in the employment of John Barran & Sons.
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