Barcley Corsets Limited was an American company founded in 1899 by Harry W. Barcley with headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. The company came to WGC in June 1927 having increased its sales in the UK. From its first premises in Hyde Way the company then moved to its iconic pink and black factory at 73 Bridge Road East in 1939. According to the WGC Directory of 1953-4 the Barcley organisation employed 'many hundreds of fully-trained women, known as Barcley Registered Corsetieres, whose work was to meet the requirements, both surgical and non-surgical, of the women of this country for specialised corsetry'. The same directory also notes that 'During the late war, the whole production of the company was turned over to the supply of surgical supports, and these were given high priority as a national requirement'.

Barcley Corsets
This unusual item is a miniature of a gentleman's corset made at Barcley Corsets in WGC. Pat's colleagues who worked on men's garments made this memento for Pat's husband Harry who had been called up to fight during WWII. Harry carried it throughout the War and brought it home to Pat who has kept it to this day. We are very grateful to Pat who allowed the Trust to photograph this item & add it to the Trust's archive as part of the 'Where Do You think We Worked?' project.
Barcley Corsets
More detailed images of a miniature of a gentleman's corset made at Barcley Corsets in WGC. Pat's colleagues who worked on men's garments made this memento for Pat's husband Harry who had been called up to fight during WWII. Harry carried it throughout the War and brought it home to Pat who has kept it to this day. We are very grateful to Pat who allowed the Trust to photograph this item & add it to the Trust's archive as part of the 'Where Do You think We Worked?' project.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsetry Service advertisement 'Individually Designed, Professionally Applied' that appeared on page 5 of the Barn Theatre programme for the 1937-38 Season - Welwyn Drama Club presented 'The First Mrs Fraser' on 4-9th October 1937. Item from The Barn Theatre archive.
Barcley Corsets

An early photograph of the Barcley Corsets Ltd factory in Hydeway ?c1927. Female staff are pictured on and alongside a carnival float, which has the slogan "Woman's Health Is Britain's Wealth" on one side and "Thru The Ages" on the front. Standing on the float the four women closest to the camera appear to be wearing corsets according to age range with labels "Age 40-45", "Age 45-50", "Age 50-60", "Age 60-70" clearly visible - beyond them are presumably younger models. The six women in front of the float are all wearing Barcley Corsets sashes. The uniformed gentleman holding the horse's reins is wearing a peaked cap with "Barcley" on its band. To the right is Hydeway, in the background can be seen housing in Hydeway itself and, further away, in Peartree Lane. This image was donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive by Jennifer K during the 'Where Do You Think We Played?' project.

Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets - staff outing to Brighton on a Brunt's Coach. Our thanks to Iris T. for this photograph.
Barcley Corsets
Entire staff of Barcley Corsets Ltd - taken in 1948 or 1949 when the company had made 1000 corsets in a week and celebrated with 'a bit of a do' in the canteen!. Image donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by Brenda S as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Barcley Corsets
Barclay Corsets factory in Bridge Road East. Photograph donated by Betty B. who worked for the company.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets factory photographed by Ken Wright in February 1965, just behind the rotunda is Norton Abrasives and in the far distance Rank Bush Murphy can be seen. Ken kindly donated this image to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets factory in Bridge Road East. Image donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive by Anthea M as part of the 'Where Do You Think You Live?' project.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets girls - photograph donated by Iris T. who worked for the company and kindly shared her memories of her time there via a recorded interview together with several more of her colleagues.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets - photograph dated May 1949 - Margaret Davis on left and Brenda Barber on right. Donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive by Brenda S as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Barcley Corsets
These Barcley Corsets staff are Peggy S, Peggy H, Joan M, Pat H, Males & Hornsey. The Norton Grinding Wheels factory is visible behind them. Our thanks to Pat P. for donating this picture.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets - Joan, Pat & Mary outside the factory. The iconic rotunda is visible at the top left of the picture - our thank to Pat P. for donating it.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets - a staff reunion! Photograph dated March 1998 and donated to the Trust by Iris T.
Barcley Corsets
Some of Barcley Corsets staff wearing their company uniforms. Photograph kindly donated to the Trust by Iris T. who also shared her memories of working for the company in a recorded interview.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets newsletter - Barcley Bulletin - article 'Naming The Beautiful Barcley Fabrics!' dating from February 1939. From the WGC Library Local Studies Collection.
Barcley Corsets
Barcley Corsets newsletter - Barcley Bulletin - article 'Where Barcley Garments Are Made' dating from February 1939. From the WGC Library Local Studies Collection.
Barcley Corsets
A pre-War Studio Lisa photograph of the Barcley Violets (so called because they wore purple & white) following the Eileen Fowler keep fit regime! It was donated to the Trust by Pat P. who also shared her memories of working for the company via a recorded interview.
Barcley Corsets
In Memoriam - Mr Charles Wood, Managing Director of Barcley Corsets (WGC factory) - died 9th June 1938. This document was contributed to the WGC Heritage Trust archive by Pat P who began working for the company aged 14.
Barcley Corsets
Midland Bank in what had previously been the Bridge Road Restaurant. Building photographed by Ken Wright in May 1979. Image kindly donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive by Ken as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
Barcley Corsets
Welwyn Times 17th January 1947 - page 3 - Barcley Corsets advertisement. This copy of the Welwyn Times was donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive by BJW.
Barcley Corsets
Welwyn Times Saturday 28th February 1947 - page 4 - advertisement by Barcley Corsets headed 'The Skilled Wife!' comparing skills of its office worker and corset makers. Note postscript stating company closure during present emergency (power shortage). This copy of the Welwyn Times was donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive by BJW.
Barcley Corsets
WGC official handbook & directory for 1953-54. Pages 80-81 Barcley Corsets Ltd. Item donated to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust by Ken W as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
 
 
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