R and W H Symington and Co Ltd, corset manufacturers, Market Harborough, Leicestershire
Immediate source of acquisition:
Donated by: R. & W.H. Symington Ltd., Market Harborough, Leics. 7 July 1981
Administrative / biographical background:
In about 1830 James Symington moved from Lanarkshire to join his brother William, who had some three years before, settled in Market Harborough. Here he set up a shop as a Tailor, Hatter and Woollen Draper and married Sarah Gold, a staymaker. A cottage behind a shop in the High Street was used as a workroom where Sarah, helped by three girl assistants, worked at staymaking. The real expansion of the business began when their son, Robert, shipped a Singer sewing machine over from America thus enabling Market Harborough to have one of the first mechanised corset factories in England. The stay making side of the business was gradually passed over to Robert who entered into partnership with his younger brother, William Henry. In 1861 they took over a disused factory in Adam and Eve Street and began to supply some of the country's leading wholesalers. The firm became a public company in 1898 and gradually established itself in other parts of the country and also abroad in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. R. and W.H. Symington and Co. Ltd. was taken over by Courtaulds in 1967.