The Liberty Bodice was invented by Fred Cox, Marketing Director at R & W H Symington & Co Ltd in 1908. It was a fleecy knitted vest with rubber buttons, re-enforcing cotton tapes and buttons to attach drawers and stockings. The bodice helped to change the way that children dressed in the early part of the twentieth century.
Until then most middle and upper class children wore supporting re-enforced corsets that were supposed to help ‘train’ their developing bodies. The Liberty Bodice was a softer, less restricting garment that allowed children to move around and play, at a time when playing and being active were viewed as an important parts of childhood.
Fred Cox’s daughter, Freda wore the bodice in an original advertising photograph. She appeared as the ‘Liberty Bodice Girl’ in much of the early marketing. The Liberty Bodice was produced in its millions and continued to be made until the 1960s. Loved or hated by three generations of children it remains one of Leicestershire’s most interesting products.
Return to The Collections