Document ReferenceBCH
TitleRecords of Chilprufe Limited, Clothing Manufacturers, Leicester, 1893-c.1972
Extent8 boxes and 14 volumes
AbstractPrincipal document types present include; accounts, minutes, correspondence, plans, advertising literature, photographs
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers subject to restrictions on personal information.
Admin HistoryThe firm of Chilprufe Limited grew from the enterprise of John A. Bolton (1867-1945) of Leicester. Bolton left school in London in 1882 and returned to his home in Leicester to seek work. Following several years employment with various clothing and hosiery manufacturers, Bolton set up on his own as a finisher in 1892. His firm branched out into cleaning and bleaching blankets and became known as The Blanket Bleach Works. A sister company, The Leicester Dye Works, was also established. The Bleach Works were later sold, when Bolton moved to a new factory on East Park Road, Leicester.

Bolton decided to diversify further, and, in 1906, began manufacturing woollen underclothes for children under the name Chillproof Manufacturing Company. The firm soon became Chilprufe Manufacturing Company, operating alongside the finishing business. A further concern, Pexar Manufacturing Company, was set up to produce garments using a wool/cotton mix, but was closed down again a few years later as Chilprufe began to grow. By 1919 the company was doing sufficient business for Bolton to sell the finishing arm to Messrs Kershaw and Abell. The company became Chilprufe Limited in 1936.

Bolton died in 1945, leaving the firm to his employees. However, by the 1960s Chilprufe was becoming increasingly uncompetitive, and in need of substantial modernisation. In 1962 Pasolds Limited, the hosiery firm manufacturing Ladybird garments for children, purchased the Ordinary share capital of Chilprufe Limited.
Custodial HistoryThe records (BCH 1-7) were transferred to the University Library in 1994 by the Pasold Research Trustees. One item (BCH 8) was not part of this transfer, but was given to the department of Manuscripts and Special Collections by a private individual in 2003.
DescriptionThe documents include company histories as well as business records, such as 'The Story of Chilprufe being the Testimony and Testament of John A. Bolton', by John Bolton, printed in 1929. This details the history and structure of the company in 1929, and is supplemented by a typescript draft of the company history to the time of the Pasolds takeover in 1962, and by subsequent historical notes made when the Chilprufe records were in the custody of the Pasolds Research Trustees. A volume of memorabilia (including the earliest items in the collection, dating back to 1893) contains references to Bolton's involvement in other local societies such as the Bible Testimony Fellowship, as well as his activities as an employer and relations with his work force.

The business records themselves are all 20th-century in date and include accounts, minute books and correspondence. The correspondence includes internal memoranda between directors, communication with the National Hosiery Manufacturers' Federation, and correspondence with the Privy Purse Office at Buckingham Palace. There are papers regarding the Pasolds takeover and a number of photographs of the mills and employees dating from 1924 to 1964. Plans for a new factory, dated 1960, and documentation regarding machinery also feature. Of particular interest is a very extensive run of printed advertising literature and associated papers, including material on medical conditions, health and hygiene.
MgtGroupBusiness records
MgtSubGroupHosiery and Textiles
ArrangementMaterial is listed chronologically within series based on form (e.g. accounts, correspondence).
TermHosiery industry - England - Leicester
Textile industry - England - Leicester
Clothing trade - England - Leicester
Industries - England - Leicester
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript catalogue, 23pp. Online: Online catalogue accessible from the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.
ReprodnNotePhotocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access arrangements and the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialCore business records of Pasolds Ltd and its subsidiaries, including Chilprufe Ltd (MS 814)
Records from the Pasolds Research Fund (BPS)
Related RecordBPS

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA25Chilprufe Limited; -1984; clothing manufacturers, Leicester-1984
NA25Chilprufe Limited; -1984; clothing manufacturers, Leicester-1984
NA26Bolton; John A. (1867-1945); founder of Chilprufe1867-1945
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