The resurgence of the Barneys brand over recent years has brought with it renewed speculation once again as to the time weathered question of 'who was Barney'.
With the fourth generation of the family still continuing to run the brand, more and more details are coming to light.
Barney was the youngest son of factory owners Harry and Mary Rosemarine, their other children were Louie, Kitty, David and Betty.
Barney was also a stand-up comedian performing under the name jock marine,
With over 700 Cotton Mills existing in Lancashire in the late 1800's Harry and Mary found themselves in the rag trade almost by accident. Mary had originally started out sewing beads onto jumpers for other people and her skills and indeed her contacts grew steadily into a successful business. Upon building a new factory and warehouse, M. Rosemarine ltd, that housed over 900 workers on the outskirts of Manchester City Centre, they decided to name the range of garments that they manufactured after their youngest and newborn son Barney.
The ‘Barney’ was a raincoat, a style that was particularly relevant to both the weather in the North of England and also to the technologies and industries that were around at this time. The ‘Barney’ was a hugely successful line and ran continuously for the next 60 years or so.
As Barney himself was growing up, he decided that it would be an important step in his apprenticeship to learn the business from the inside out. So from an early age he learnt his trade as a Tailor before employing these skills in the family business alongside his brothers Louie and David.
In essence Barney's was founded in 1911 when Barney was born and when the ‘Barney’ jacket was designed and manufactured and though an exact date has been difficult to pinpoint - Barney's as a brand and a symbol of quality manufacturing has been around for a hundred years now.
Barney The Man
Barnett Rosemarine was his full name but he was known mostly as Barney. He was an interesting character to say the least. The youngest of five children and the baby of the family, perhaps he felt he had something to prove to his older siblings and that is what made him the man he was.
The family business was fairly successful but once Barney joined, he helped take it to another level. He bought up property in what is now the Northern Quarter of Manchester City Centre, he bought up other smaller companies such as Clydesdale Purchases, Shirtmakers and Alwyn Ltd and pooled their joint resources into making M. Rosemarine Ltd a formidable manufacturing business. The company had only been a Wholesale operation up until this point but Barney opened up two retail stores and got his sisters Kitty and Betty to manage them.
In his spare time Barney was a stand-up comedian performing under the name Jock Marine. He was a published author, his most famous work a light hearted poetry book called Haimishe Laffs and Chaffs.
Barney was a hugely charitable man. He donated acres and acres of land for a local hospital to be built on and was Patron of the Manchester Blind Society.
He married Ella Taylor in the 1930 and they had four children, Valerie, Shirley, Lynda and Susan. Lynda married her childhood sweetheart, Syd, who coincidentally was also in the Leather industry. Together they built the business up to a whole new level of success. Lynda and Syd’s two sons, Richard and Michael, still run the business to this day.