Barbour's South Shields factory given Royal seal of approval from Prince Charles for sustainable re-waxing initiative

Barbour’s production factory in South Shields has been given the Royal seal of approval for sustainability by non other than the heir to the throne himself, Prince Charles.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:47 pm

The Prince was visiting the factory to meet with workers and unveil a new plaque celebrating the opening of the Barbour Wax for Life Workshop.

The visit was also a celebration of a century of sustainable practice through the company’s policy of re-waxing jackets to extend their lifespan and reduce the need for the production and purchase of new garments.

A longtime conservationist, it’s a cause close to the future king’s heart. Just last week, Prince Charles addressed world leaders at the COP26 conference, calling for consensus of action in more sustainable practices to protect the planet.

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He said: “I can only urge you, as the world’s decision-makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences so we can all get down to work together, to rescue this precious planet and save the threatened future of our young people.”

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Sustainable for a century: South Tyneside firm Barbour marks 100 years of re-wax...

A jacket of choice of the Royal Family, Barbour has received three Royal Warrants endorsing the product, including from the Prince of Wales himself in 1987.

After unveiling the plaque, Prince Charles quipped: “Thank you so much for today. I’ll make sure to empty my pockets before I send my jacket for re-waxing.”

The Prince of Wales turns his hand to re-waxing a Barbour jacket.

During his visit the Prince got the chance to turn his hand to re-waxing under the expert tutelage of re-proofer, Neil Travis.

After applying the wax, he joked: “I wonder which poor customer this jacket belongs to.”

The Prince also took time to visit the factory’s museum and chat with machinists on the factory floor who he praised for their “fantastic work”.

The Prince was escorted by the company’s Director of Supply Chain, Ian Sime.

The Prince of Wales chats with Barbour machinist Julie-Anne Sheville.

Ian said: “We were very pleased to welcome the Prince here today. We’ve been re-waxing jackets here for 100 years, extending the life-cycle of our product and to have Prince Charles here today to have a look at the work we’ve been doing was really quite thrilling.”

Dame Margaret Barbour added: “It was an honour to welcome his Royal Highness back to Babour 27 years after his first visit. Our workshop brings together all our sustainable initiatives into one place.

"If a Barbour jacket is re-waxed at least once a year, with regular use it can last a long time and be handed down to future generations, making it a very sustainable choice.”

The Prince of Wales visits Barbour's factory to open their new Wax for Life Workshop alongside Dame Margaret Barbour.

The company also promotes its Re-loved programme which sees jackets no longer wanted by their owner, up-cycled to be purchased at a reduced rate from new customers.

Whilst in the region, Prince Charles also paid a special visit to the Tyne & Wear Metro to mark the 40th anniversary of its Royal opening in 1981.

The Prince travelled two stops from from Central Station to Haymarket, where he unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.

He was joined by Chief Operating Officer of Nexus, Martin Kearney, who said: “It was a huge honour to welcome His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. He was keen to hear about Metro’s environmental credentials in taking 11 million car journeys off the road and being entirely powered from non-carbon sources.

“The Royal visit was a great confidence boost for the whole public transport industry."

The Prince of Wales greets workers at the Barbour factory in South Shields.
Prince Charles taking a ride on the Metro.
Prince Charles unveils a plaque commemorating the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Tyne & Wear Metro.