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Published: 09 March 2019

By Andy Ross

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A Most Interesting File

Last year a new addition was made to the textile collection: a bound file of newspaper prints to do with clothing.

The Reliance file is one of those which has metal hinges holding two hardboard covers which in turn hold pages and dividers. The pages are filled with inked block prints, clearly advertising for one particular company, Watts in Talgarth, Brecon and Builth. Clearly Watts was a gentlemen's outfitter because the wonderful prints are of men dressed in suits, braces, socks, dressing gowns, etc, and men receiving Christmas gifts of suits, braces, socks, dressing gowns, etc from ever-loving wives! It is obviously the work of what we would now call a "marketing department" or agency, working on behalf of a client.

This file was created in April 1926, the same year that television was first demonstrated, the first transatlantic telephone call was made, the first cheque was paid by telephone facsimile (the forerunner to the Fax machine), and National Geographic took the first natural-colour pictures under the sea. It was also a time of international unease politically and economically, and a national miners' strike in the UK. This year, 2019, as we debate the pros and cons of not wearing such formal clothes to work, and gender equality, the file is a reminder of how we used to dress and think; a small snapshot of a time in history. 

If you would like to see the file, please ask us and we will be delighted to bring it out.