Gateway Object: Shroud Sample Book


The most important workshop on the second floor was the Shroud Room. The women who worked there referred to it as the Sewing Room. The Shroud Room occupied the whole of the front range, and its high ceiling maximised the available light.

Shroud sample books were used by travelling salesmen to give clients an accurate depiction of range of soft goods available such as gowns, robes and their matching linings.



The evidence shows Newman Brothers were making shrouds and soft goods as early as 1914, this date comes from a Newman Brothers’ advertisement seeking seamstresses. We don’t know where the Shroud Room was situated at that point, but it seems plausible that it would have been in its current location at the front of the manufactory away from any ‘dirty’ work.

During the Second World War, due to a shortage of labour and demand it seems that this side of the factory closed down in 1941. We don’t know when the Sewing Room re-opened, but it would appear to be at some point between 1950 and 1958.

This is a quote from an article published in the Funeral Service Journal (FSJ) in 1950:

“Until 1941 Newman Brothers supplied soft goods and had 25 women employed in this department. One of the innovations planned for the future is the complete re-opening of this section. Again of course, the difficulty is labour.”

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