Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Greenwood and Batley developed the band-knife for Barran (the son of a London gunmaker), which was capable of cutting through several layers of cloth at a time. Coupled with the use of the Singer sewing machine this enabled Barran’s factory in Alfred Street to become the first to produce ready-made mass produced clothes. They were able to provide uniforms for the Crimean War, the expanding force of rail workers and the police. The factory also produced children's clothes including sailor suits which were very popular in the late nineteenth century.
The Moorish building in Park Square built in 1879 (architect Thomas Ambler) was originally John Barran’s warehouse.
He made a fortune and turned his hand to politics, becoming the Lord Mayor of Leeds between 1870 and 1872. It was while he held this post that in 1871, due to the death of the owner, the Roundhay estate came onto the market and was sold at auction on 4 October. Barran urged the Council to buy the estate for the people of Leeds but they were reluctant and as the estate then lay outside Leeds boundary they had no authority to make the purchase. With little time to change the Council's mind, John and his supporters raised the money themselves, the huge sum in those days of £127,000. After this he offered the estate, at cost, to the Council who agreed to the purchase after getting parliamentary approval.
Denise Teed machine embroidered this piece on handmade felt.