Barbour waxed jacket

Many already know about my long term relationship with Barbour waxed jackets – of which I am very fond. If you’ve missed our previous Barbour blog here it is again.

The nice folk from South Shields have also dropped in to say they’d love you to explore their heritage via this web page – please feel free and mention that you were tipped off by us!

Image from Barbour

Driza-Bone coat


The company who manufacture Driza-Bone (trademark first registered in 1933) – “dry as a bone” – was established in 1898. It is Australian owned and is manufactured in Australia.

The Driza-Bone derives from traditional Australian stockman coats with a tough cotton construction and an oilskin coating. Used primarily for riding, they are long in the body and tied at the legs for protection for horse and rider against the rain.

See also Piaggio Vespa ET2 –  as they are also perfect as coats for riding scooters in all manner of wet London conditions.

Oilskin manufacturer, Emilius Le Roy, emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand in the late 1880’s and recycled clothes for sailors from lightweight sails that were waterproofed by the application of linseed oil. T.E. Pearson took Leroy Coats to Australia where they sold well to stockmen, he also developed a new means on sealing the coats to reduce their flammability. He and Leroy entered a partnership to make the coats.

Steve Bennett, the Australian who founded Country Road  in 1974 – “creating simply beautiful merchandise designed to reflect an authentically Australian way of life” – purchased the company in late 2008 and relocated the business to Melbourne, (Victoria).

Aside from its classic design and hard wearing qualities, in my experience of many years of wearing, Driza-Bone coats are very comfortable and hugely durable even in the worst weather. They are not a fashion item – they sit above that – but they are an iconic symbol of their Australian heritage.

Photo from Driza-Bone

RM Williams’ “Craftsman” Boot


Reginald Murray (‘RM”) Williams was born into a pioneering settler family in 1908 at Belalie North about 200 miles from Adelaide, a horse trainer and bushman who rose to be a millionaire entrepreneur.  His adventures in the outback created a recognisable and iconic Australian style of bush-wear.

RM was taught leather working by a horseman, Dollar Mick, including making bridles, pack saddles and riding boots. In 1932, to fund the hospital care of his son, RM founded “RM Williams” and he began to sell saddles. In 1934, he established and rapidly expanded a small factory running in his father’s back shed at 5 Percy Street in the Adelaide suburb of Prospect.


RM’s most iconic designs were his handcrafted riding boots. They are formed of a single piece of leather or suede and stitched at the rear with elasticated sides.  As of 2013, the company’s handcrafted riding boots comprises 70 hand processes and a single piece of leather.

RM sold the business in 1988 but sadly it entered receivership in 1993. The company was then taken under the control of RM’s long-time friend Ken Cowley who, with businessman Kerry Stokes, and Ken’s family ran R.M. Williams Ltd. for over twenty years.

RM died in November 2003. In March 2013, the Cowley family released a statement of an intention to sell the company to a new owner for AUS$100 million sum. In April 2013, R.M. Williams sold a 49.9% stake to L Capital, the private equity affiliate of LVMH.

These guys a wish list item for me. I have known of them for over twenty years as a friend from Sydney had the well known classic Craftsman boot which at that time he had owned for over fifteen years – they were pristine with minor tell-tale wear and a fabulous sheen.


In July 2016 I was in London and went to the new Westfield Shopping Centre at Shepherd’s Bush. I walked into the newly opened RM Williams store to discover I was in fact the very first customer.

A charming girl who had been seconded from RM William’s office in Adelaide was so well informed and enthusiastic in her desire to impart details about the hand-made boots I felt almost rude leaving after the limited time I had ran out…only to be stung by the excessive parking charges at Westfield!

She explained that they would prefer – if I lived in the UK – that I should opt to have a rubber rather leather sole, as the leather is so thick it took a while to dry out and risked deteriorating if not totally dried before it got wet again. She explained the use of kangaroo hide – which caused my son some disquiet – but it was explained as a by-product of meat production.

I am determined to return to place an order in due course – but suspect I may go for a suede pair.

Stop Press: Since we became an Amazon Affiliate in December 2017 I have now discovered that I can get my favourite RM Williams chocolate brown suede Craftsman via this source – so the order is on its way! If you’d like to join me in this please click on the link below the following image 



R.M. Williams Craftsman chocolate/suede, Größen:43

Images from RM Williams

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Barbour Jacket


Founded: 1894, in South Shield’s in North East England, as an importer of oil cloth by John Barbour.

History: John Barbour’s grandson, Duncan who joined the Barbour business in 1928, was a keen motorcyclist. During his tenure at the company, Barbour became the originator of waxed cotton motorcycling suits and jackets.

Although the thorn-proof “the Bedale” jacket debuted in 1980, the definitive “the Beaufort” jacket, which was designed by Chairman, Margaret Barbour, was featured in the Barbour range for the first time in 1983.

Although the company moved to Wimbledon (in SW London) in 1916 it returned north to Simonside, South Shields, in 1981.

Barbour’s classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the factory in Simonside and each year over 100,000 jackets are processed – including jackets returned by delighted owners seeking a repair and reproofing service.

J Barbour and Sons Ltd hold royal warrants from HM Queen Elizabeth 2 and HRH Charles, Prince of Wales for “waterproof and protective clothing”. The Household Cavalry Polo Team is a brand ambassador for Barbour.

My Barbour  Jacket: I believe I have had a total of three Barbour jackets. My first in the mid 1980’s which parallels an era that’s was typified by this essential Sloane Ranger classic. I am not sure I really identified with this urban tribe but we’d all wear them on stormier evenings propping up the bar at the White Horse (aka “the Sloane Pony”) in Parsons Green with corduroys trousers and fine brown brogues. My second became an essential part of my commute from SW London too the West End really before the strides that London has made in terms of improving public transport. In the mid-1990’s we were all taking to scooters to avoid the dreaded commute to work. My preferred steed was a Vespa ET2 (see more) – 50ccs of pure liberation – but depending on the drenching I’d alternate my Barbour with the longer Drizabone (see below). Now my third incarnation, now with a zipped in lining is likely to be seen on a dog or beach walks but it is scheduled for a return to the Home of Barbour for a repair on the arm and reproofing. Whilst not all will understand those who love these jackets will appreciate the waxy smell and slight inflexibility but in the rain they really do shine.

Your Barbour Jacket?:

Photo by Barbour