Worcester's gloving industry reached its peak between
1790 and 1820 when 150 manufacturers of gloves employed over
30,000 people in and around Worcester.
At this time nearly half
of all glovers in Britain were based in and around the city of Worcester.
was strictly regulated by the government to protect home industries
from foreign competition by placing large taxes on goods. Under
this system the Worcester glove industry prospered greatly.
However during the 19th century the government encouraged free
trade eventually lifting taxes in 1826 on foreign gloves. This
happened at a time when French gloves had increased in popularity
and causing a huge reduction in trade which eventually led to
mass employment throughout the city.
While many of the
smaller businesses did not survive this period, two of Worcester's
most famous gloving firms, Dent Allcroft and Co Ltd.
and Fownes Gloves Ltd. survived by reorganising their
workforce, introducing a factory system and improving the overall
quality of the products. Both these firms went on to become
leading glove manufacturers in Europe.