20th March 2022

I was contacted by a reader who had found a W. Gardiner button and wished for some information about it. Unfortunately, I can’t contact them: perhaps they misspelt their email address? If anyone has one of these tailors’ buttons, please contact me!

Wathen Gardiner & Co, Bristol

Wathen Gardiner & Co, Bristol is a backmark found on various British uniform buttons. The company was  started as Gardiner & Sons in 1801 by John Gardiner as a wholesale clothing company.

John Gardiner, 1777-1832. Image from ‘Find a Grave’.

In 1865 Charles Walthen became a partner with John’s son Henry Gardiner; the name changing at that time.

Sir Charles Wathen 1833-1893. Image from ‘Find a Grave’.

 Clothing was exported to Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. The firm made uniforms during both World Wars, both military and other. ‘Bristol Uniforms’ started as a subsidiary of the firm in 1961. This is the only remaining part of this business.

Public Domain late 19th century picture of their factory. Sourced from Wikipedia with thanks.

Image used with permission.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 18th May 1872 page 2. This is the earliest newspaper mention of their clothing imported into Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 25th December 1912 page 16.

Leader (Orange, NSW), 21st March 1914 page 7.



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