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Description

A scrapbook of press cuttings about, and a photograph of the logo of, the men's outfitters A Rose. The clippings date from 3 November 1927 to 17 September 1982. A Rose had branches in Cardiff and Newport and many of the cuttings are about these shops. There are also cuttings about events organised by; radio broadcasts featuring; the writing of; and competitions entered by the company’s founder and first managing director Abraham (A) Rose. A number of clippings concern Rose’s family and his successor in business: his son-in-law Robert Greenwood.

The newspapers that the press cuttings are from include: Daily Express; Metro; South Wales News; Western Mail; Radio Times; and South Wales Echo.

The photograph is of the outfitter's logo printed or sewn onto fabric. It consists of the words: 'A. Rose The Man's Shop'.

A number of the cuttings are about an event that was held by Abraham Rose on 3 November 1927 at The Bute Room, Cox's, Queen Street (High Street) Cardiff. The event featured 'living models' (the term used in A Rose's advertisements) along with a talk given by Rose himself titled 'Men’s Clothes, and How to Wear Them'. Rose used the models to demonstrate the wrong and right ways of dressing for a variety of occasions, including weddings. His approach to menswear was very unusual at the time and the style parade caused a stir – this type of advertising had never been seen in Wales before.

Following the 'living models' event, A Rose made an appearance on a radio show under the pseudonym E Sora. One of the clippings is of a Radio Times schedule for the evening of 7 September 1928 when the broadcast took place. There is an accompanying photograph of a smartly dressed man with the caption: ‘Listeners who want to look like this should not miss hearing the talk from Cardiff this evening at 7.0.’ Another clipping is of a response to the broadcast which was published in the 20 October 1928 issue of Men’s Wear. It states that the programme was censored by the BBC due to concerns that Rose’s praise of ‘ready-made’ clothing would incense any tailors who might have tuned in.

A collection of articles and letters written by Abraham Rose for several newspapers are included in the scrapbook. They date from November 1927 to December 1930.
The headlines of Rose's writings are often comical and evocative and illustrate his aim to make menswear seem less trivial. For example: 'APPEARANCE COUNTS. Cardiff Women Are The Smartest. WHY NOT THE MEN?' and 'MEN WHO SPOIL WEDDINGS. How to Avoid Clothes Crimes. IMPORTANCE OF DETAIL'.

A number of the clippings document the Newport Shopping Festival window display contest that Rose entered in October 1932. He came first, second and fourth place in the menswear section of the ‘Things to Wear’ category. Success in window dressing remained a fixture of the business as the branch in Wellfield Road, Cardiff (opened in 1961) won the third prize in the Cardiff Shopping Festival Window Dressing Competition.

Abraham Rose was born in Norwich but his parents moved to Cardiff in 1904. The son of a tailor, he worked as an errand boy in a St Mary Street (High Street) shop - the very premises that he would later purchase for his own menswear business. When he worked there as a boy the shop was owned by the Jothams tailor business - along with other shops in St Mary Street and Duke Street Arcade. Following a menswear apprenticeship and a subsequent job in Abertillery he was able to open his own business, although during the First World War - which broke out shortly after he started this business venture - it was his younger brother's responsibility to look after while he served in the army. Following the war, he owned two shops and would go on to buy the shop in St Mary Street (High Street), Cardiff in 1922. Although he acquired premises in Newport in 1929: 2 – 3 Station Approach, 1936 saw him leave Newport to give his undivided attention to the Cardiff shop.

Robert Greenwood was born in Germany but forced to flee to escape persecution from the Nazis when he was seventeen-years-old. His parents and young sister were murdered in a death camp. As soon as he came of age he enlisted in the British army. Following the end of the Second World War - during which he had served in France, Belgium and Germany - he met his future wife Sybil Rose while working in London. The couple had two sons and in 1951 they moved to Cardiff so Greenwood could join the family business. When Greenwood took over as managing director he remained true to Rose's original vision and the outfitters remained an independent business with a small but loyal customer base. His wife, Sybil, and mother-in-law, Florrie, were directors alongside him. In the January 1963 issue of South Wales Spectator, Greenwood remarked that his nine-year-old Martin and seven-year-old Nigel already seemed eager to get involved in the business.

Sources:
‘Histories of South Wales Companies – No. 34 A. Rose – The Man’s Shop’, South Wales Spectator, January 1963.
Claire Hutchinson, 'Tailor's daughter donates iron to Cardiff Story museum', Wales Online, 28 Mar 2013.
[accessed 07 May 2021].

These items are part of the Greenwood Family Collection.

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