John Smedley's
Archive Research Team.

All of John Smedley’s archivists are from the local community and some are even ex-employees of the company, giving them further interest to uncover stories or artefacts that will not only develop a further understanding of John Smedley throughout time but will add to the timeline of the local community, giving everyone an insight to how the area has changed and indeed developed since the industrial revolution.

The Marsden-Smedley family offer their full support to our archive.  A considerable segment of the items in our archive have been kindly donated by the family, helping to create an arsenal of all things John Smedley. All other artefacts that can be found in our ever-growing archive have been uncovered on site by team members; old pieces of machinery are items that are particularly fascinating, visibly demonstrating how rapidly knitting techniques have developed.

Our archive is a walk through John Smedley’s timeline; the pieces represent John Smedley’s history, whether it be a garment or a letter,  they act as a microcosm – reflecting the nature of the company and in many cases society, at that moment in time.

Some garments that feature in the archive are:
Original paintings of the Marsden-Smedley family (one of which is currently on loan to The V&A).
Mr John Smedley’s waistcoat, worn on his wedding day.
Letters from workforce and family members; particularly interesting examples come from war time Britain.
Historic John Smedley garments; such as the collaborative piece with Vivienne Westwood in 1980’s.
Antique furniture and office equipment.

The Archive aspires to uncover unknown or forgotten information about John Smedley; adding detail to the company’s and the family’s timeline respectively to paint a more accurate picture of the incredible 230+ year story.

A long term goal of The Archive is to become an accredited museum and to open its doors to the public, so that it can tell the story of John Smedley, The World’s Finest Knitwear.

It's like a jigsaw puzzle, but you don't have the picture to help you... We want to become the biggest archive for any hosiery company. That's the aim!
– Jane Middleton-Smith
Head Archivist at John Smedley