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Leicestershire Revealed

The Liberty Bodice

Date:
1908
Object Details:
The Liberty Bodice was invented by Fred Cox, Marketing Director at R & W H Symington & Co of Market Harborough 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.
This picture shows Fred Cox's daughter, Freda wearing 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.
Object Location:
Harborough Museum
On display Yes!
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5 Stars Christine " " My sister and I (born 1947 & 1950) remember wearing these OVER our woolen vests! Of course, houses were only heated by fires and stoves so the liberty bodice kept us nice and snug. Maybe if electricity prices go up we could revert to them?! " "
4 Stars Cheryl " " I remember having to wear a Liberty Bodice over my vest during Winters in early 1960's. I hated it's horrible rubber buttons, it seemed so old- fashioned to me as a child plus I was the only one in the class to wear one which made it worse! " "
4 Stars Cathy " " I was only very, very young when I wore one of these, and felt they were rather encasing and the rubber buttons were annoying. Because I was about 2-3 yrs old, I used to call it a "liberty bozzit", it made my parents laugh. Ah! memories! " "

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