Jacksons of Reading is a rabbit warren of a department store in Reading, Berkshire, England where you can get all those things you can’t find anywhere else and in a fabulous environment with lots of wood panelling, wood and drawers and counters. For example gifts, accessories, sewing stuff, knitting stuff (I found acrylic made in England from companies like Robins but sadly no British wool), linens and haberdashery, textiles, a good shoe department (specialising in wider fittings) and a large crafts section. They have a massive school and scout uniforms department, dancewear, bowls clothes, lingerie, nightwear, ladies fashions and a superb menswear department. Yesterday (8.12.12) the store was quite busy and I came across UK made HJ Hall socks at very reasonable prices and lovely James Aubrey men’s duffle coats. You’ll find brands like Peter England, Tootal, Somax and Double Two here too, but these days such brands manufacture abroad. Plus they have a great suits department and they sell things like British made braces. Look for the giant Jacksons Corner neon lights! Open Mon-Sat 09:00 – 17:30. The store unashamedly markets itself at the over 40s and prides itself on serving customers. This is most definitely not a self-service store. It is a beautiful building inside and out, with a fabulous pneumatic tubes system to handle cash. Founded in 1875 and still family run, this store is a must visit place when shopping in Reading.
Where can I buy British made socks?
Here are the places I know of, in no particular order, where you can buy UK made socks.
Perilla sell British made alpaca socks for men, women and children. The alpaca yarn they use is imported from Peru. Founded in 2006. They also sell some other British made items such as scarves, capes, beanie hats, slippers, snoods, ear muffs, muffs, gloves, ponchos, knitwear, hats, and some bags. Some items they sell are foreign made but quite a bit is made in the UK – http://perilla.co.uk
Corrymoor Socks mohair socks are “Manufactured and knitted in the UK”. Their website carries the Made in Britain marque. They do not say who makes their socks for them. Their scarves are knitted by GH Hurt & Son in Nottingham. Their throws are made by Green Grove Weavers in the Scottish Highlands. They also have their fingerless mohair gloves made for them in Devon. They also occasionally sell Angora rugs. They do not say where their coasters, mousemats, postcards are made, so these are probably foreign made. Corrymoor have their own farm from where mohair from Angora goats is sheared to make their products, supplemented by mohair from other British breeders and mohair from South Africa – http://corrymoor.com
Samson Socks have a factory in Manchester. Established in 1981. They make football, rugby and hockey socks. Some items on their website are available retail, most trade only, and they also have an eBay shop. They say on their website “My company philosophy is quite simply, “quality football socks made in England at affordable prices, with a personal and first class service”. I am not sure if all their socks are UK made so please check before buying. No country of origin information is given against individual products on their website, although it is on their eBay shop – http://footballsocks.co.uk
I already mentioned Bison Bushcraft. Bison Bushcraft describe themselves as bushcraft and wilderness outfitters and they are keen to source stuff locally. All their men’s and women’s clothing and knives for example are made in the UK (made in the UK from UK materials). They also sell British made Spoons / Crook Knives, fire steels, knives, Strikefire Spork (yes it’s a British made spork), and pot hanging tripods. Their clothes include Guide Shirts, Forester Shirts, antler buttons, the Bush Shirt, the Zipped Bush Shirt, the Gamekeepers waistcoat, the Troyer Sweater, moleskin trousers, a Wax Cag (the splash-proof zips are also made in the UK), Bronco hats, the Merino Wool Watch Cap (a wooly hat), Merino Wool Buffs, Bison Woodland Boots, Bison Bushcraft Boots, a Bison Bushcraft Cloth Badge, and their fabulous British wool woollen socks (made by the Cambrian Woollen Mill, see below). Their service is excellent.