Harwich Museum

Rise and fall of Bernard’s

Bernard’s of Harwich were well known throughout the royal navy because of their work and because of their name.

Charles Firth Bernard founded his clothing business in 1897 at 69 church street Harwich. They had received the royal warrant for tailoring naval uniforms for the sons of Prince George.

September 1930 the business moved into part of the ordnance buildings which they purchased for £1,300.

A new factory was built on the site in 1939 but on the 17th of May 1941 incendiary bombs destroyed the building. The admiralty issued a priority license and five months later the factory had been rebuilt.

During the Second World War naval uniforms plus other clothing were manufactured, the factory and office were damaged in the 1953 floods, further building extensions were completed in 1955.

The factory was divided into different sections; the Main section was the ground floor, where they use to stitch the uniforms together, upstairs was cutting room where they would shape out the uniforms.


Tickets £ 3.50 each  (free for season ticket holders).

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