Double Two, Wakefield: City’s famous shirt maker plans new retail outlet

Wakefield’s historic Double Two clothing firm has submitted plans to open a new shop at its base in the city.

The company, which dates back to 1940, wants to convert empty offices at its factory into a new retail outlet. Proposals have been submitted to Wakefield Council on behalf of the firm. They include relocating an existing outlet to another part of the factory, on Thornes Lane Wharf.

The application says: “The proposed outlet would be located within part of their existing premises, which is currently empty, but previously formed office and storage space. The outlet would be used solely for the sale of clothing and accessories produced by Double Two.”

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The plan includes creating 15 new parking spaces, repainting the outside of the shop building and new signage. If approved, the new open plan shop will include three changing rooms.

Double Two factory, Thornes Lane Wharf, WakefieldDouble Two factory, Thornes Lane Wharf, Wakefield
Double Two factory, Thornes Lane Wharf, Wakefield

The application also says: “It is considered that these alterations would have no detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the building. The proposed development would utilise the existing vehicle access for Double Two. The level of vehicles movements associated with the factory shop would be minimal and would have no demonstrable impact on the local highway network.

The company dates back to the Second World War when Isaak Donner and Frank Myers set up the Wakefield Shirt Company to produce quality men’s shirts. Mr Donner had fled Nazi Germany the previous year.

The company became known world-wide for its pioneering attachable spare collars, the first man-made fibre garment, and the first non-iron shirt.

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At its peak, Double Two employed more than 1,200 in Wakefield and a further 600 around Britain.

Much of the production was moved to the Far East in the 1990s but more than 100 people are still employed in Wakefield, with 5,000 employees worldwide.

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