Spencer (Banbury) Limited

Spencer (Banbury) Limited

Spencer (Banbury) Limited was a subsidiary company of Berger Brothers, an American company which specialised in the design and manufacture of foundation garments and in surgical and other orthopaedic supports.

Spencers was formed in 1927 at Britannia Road in Banbury, Oxfordshire, a town which had developed a national reputation as a centre for weaving. The company manufactured exclusive, individually designed foundation garments such as Spencer Dress Corset, Slenderette, Spencerette, and Spencer Supporting Corset.

The business was developed through trained professional corsetieres visiting clients in their own homes. In the 1930s Spencers emphasised the British nature of their products. The company desired to use only British materials; corset cloths were mainly from Lancashire mills, hooks from Birmingham, and hose supporters came from Leicester.

By the late 1930s the company needed to expand and a new factory was constructed in 1937.

During the Second World War, the Spencer company assisted the war effort by designing and manufacturing light-weight anti-gravity suits for fighter pilots.

The company prospered and at the end of the War employed 600 people, mainly local women. At this time there were over 2,000 Spencer Corsetieres. This figure had dropped to 250 in the 1970s.

From the 1970s onwards Spencers diversified into bespoke and ready wear surgical supports.

In 1982 the company acquired a lingerie manufacturer called Silhouette and in 1985 rival firm Spirella Corset Co. was purchased.

In the early 1990s Spencers was taken over by the Remploy Healthcare Group who continued with the production of surgical supports and lingerie under the trade names Spencers and Silhouette.