The hero of our story
Jack White began his apprenticeship in 1919 in exactly the same red-bricked building from where we operate today. Straddling the banks of the River Irwell, the Private White V.C. Factory continues to flourish thanks to a relentless drive, steadfast determination and an unwavering commitment to local manufacturing that has never...
Why copper is so important to us?
Jack White was born in Leeds in 1896. At the tender age of 18, he joined the Royal Lancaster Regiment and became Private Jack White. On 7 March 1917 his unit were detailed with crossing the Dialah River in Mesopotamia during battle. The two pontoons ahead came under heavy fire and when Private White reached the mid-stream point, he realised he was the only soldier who wasn’t fatally injured or already dead. Summoning tremendous courage, he jumped overboard with a copper telephone wire tied around his waist and dragged the pontoon safely back to shore whilst under attack from persistent enemy gunfire.
Commended as a WWI hero, Private White’s bravery saved the life of his commanding officer and preserved the valuable equipment aboard the pontoon. In 1917, Private Jack White received the Victoria Cross or V.C. for his courageous actions.
All our handcrafted garments are inspired by our historic past.
After his service in the military, he returned to Manchester and began work a trainee pattern cutter at the local garment factory. On completion of his apprenticeship, he rose through the ranks to become General Manager, and then factory owner. In the years that followed, his influence led the company to specialise in the manufacture of garments made from fine woollen cloths made in the neighbouring region of Yorkshire – as opposed to specialising in cotton raincoats and mackintoshes that were more commonly made in Lancashire at that time.
Following WWII and with failing health, Jack was forced to retire and passed away in 1949, aged 52. Remarkably, in 1997, Private Jack White’s great grandchildren joined forces to bring the company back to family ownership. More than 60 years after his death, they are once again championing the virtues of Manchester’s garment making industry. In 2017, a commemorative stone was laid for the late Private Jack White at the Manchester Jewish Museum to mark the centenary of him being awarded the Victoria Cross for his courageous actions in WWI – the highest and most prestigious honour bestowed on British and Commonwealth forces.