This is the amazing warehouse for the Double Two Shirt business. We’d been for a visit to the Hepworth at Wakefield, and taking a back road, spotted the sign for the Double Two factory shop, so went for a look-see. The shop is in one of the older buildings on the site, but I was very taken by this huge structure. Apparently built in 1966 (according to one web source, I cannot find any more) it covers some 50,000 square feet, and stands close to Thornes Lane Wharf. I’m not a structural engineer but the building looks to use some innovative building techniques, with a steel framework infilled with brick, and seems to be in very original condition too. I really like the way the design uses the traditional angled roof solution to let light in but puts it on the curved span of the roof. The original Double Two signs are still in situ, though could do with some repair (wouldn’t you want to do that if it were your building?)
The Wakefield Shirt Company was begun in 1940, but moved to this site by the canal in the early 1950s, adding to the original buildings over the next couple of decades. The original Victorian block has a blue plaque.
The Double Two brand itself was launched after WW2, the sales gimmick being that the collar could easily be removed and a spare was sold with the shirt. The brand is still going today, although they now manufacture everything abroad; I understand all about squeezed margins but it would be nice to have retained some UK lines even at a premium price.
I remember my father buying these shirts, and was fascinated by the gold finished plastic 22 cuffs which were part of the packaging, though by then the spare collar was no longer needed due to more modern hard wearing fabrics.
Hopefully somebody like the C20 Society has got this building on their radar, it’s one of those which is unlikely to have been listed and could disappear quite easily. It does seem to be used still, and indeed a small part of it is up for rent as I write. It was shut at the time so I had to photograph through the chain fencing.