Administrators in bid to protect jobs

A CLOTHING maker whose creations have been worn by Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother and many other famous people has gone into administration.

Aquascutum, which has a manufacturing site in Princewood Road, Corby, has announced 250 positions at the 160-year-old firm are under threat.

The majority of the jobs are understood to be based in Corby.

The business was bought by Jaeger’s owner Harold Tillman and its chief executive Belinda Earl in 2009.

Mr Tillman sold a majority stake on Monday in Jaeger, whose operations were tied in with those of Aquascutum.

FRP Advisory was appointed to act as administrators yesterday.

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley said: “We’re conscious of the value of the Aquascutum brand and its long-standing heritage and because of this are keen to enter into early discussions with interested parties open to purchasing the business as soon as possible.”

An Aquascutum board statement said: “Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl acquired the business in 2009, when it had made losses of approximately £24m the previous year. During the next three years Aquascutum’s shareholders invested heavily – circa £30m – in its turnaround.

“Likewise, the senior management team have worked tirelessly to develop and build the Aquascutum brand and offer.

“The challenging conditions in the UK, however, has unfortunately meant the team has been unable to successfully turn the business around which has ultimately resulted in administration.

The board hopes under FRP Advisory, the business will be disposed of successfully.”

Corby Counci leader Cllr Tom Beattie said: “Aquascutum is a well known and historic brand in the UK and has provided jobs in Corby for many years.

“I hope the administrator can find a buyer and keep the company going.

“The council is ready to work with any local employer facing difficulties and we’ll do what we can.”

Conservative leader of the borough council opposition Cllr David Sims, who met concerned workers, said: “The company is a made in England label and they produce quality clothing.

“Margaret Thatcher used to buy her clothes from there.

“My concern is with the people in Corby whose jobs are in jeopardy at the moment.”

A worker at the factory yesterday said staff were told to take an extra week’s paid leave and to return to work on Monday.

The employee, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a worrying time for everybody – I think there’s about 150 in the factory. There are people there who have never had another job – they’ve been there 25, 30 or 40 years.”