Coldharbour Mill, WW1 and WW2
Coldharbour Mill played an important role in the manufacturing, production and distribution of wartime products such as the “Puttees” and later the “Fox Improved Puttees” (FIP) which were used to protect soldiers in battle.
The word “puttee” means “bandage” in Hindi and is used to describe a length of fabric which was wound around the leg for additional protection.
World War 1
At the time of World War 1, puttees were 8 feet in length and were included as part of the military uniform. They were worn between a soldier’s breeches and boots and were popular with both infantry and cavalry.
The Fox Improved Puttee was particularly successful due to the curve which was steamed into the puttee making it easier to put on.
World War 2
As uniforms changed from breeches to trousers Fox Brothers adapted the puttees to meet the new requirements. The puttees were shortened to 2 feet in length so they just covered the ankle.
During the wars, over 12 million pairs of puttees were made by Fox Brothers along with over 7 million yards of khaki serge for military uniforms. This paved the way for the evolution of the fabric to be used in general work-wear and modern day business suits.
When visiting Coldharbour Mill, be sure to see our World War 1 exhibition (opening soon) and also the collection of puttees in our World War 2 exhibition. Both exhibitions contain fascinating insights into these periods of military history.