Outerwear: The Grenfell X Cordings Shooter jacket

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Another classic jacket on the review bench today, the Cordings x Grenfell Shooter, a design first available in the 1940’s. For reasons that will become clear, I have divided this post into 4 parts. Let us proceed.

 

The history of Grenfell and Cordings

There is a lot of history combined in one jacket here. The maker, Grenfell, has it’s roots back to 1923 when intrepid explorer and doctor Sir Wilfred Grenfell met mill owner Walter Haythornthwaite and asked about having a cloth made that was dense and strong enough to keep wind and water out, yet permeable to allow perspiration out. In other words the perfect fabric to make rugged outdoor clothing from. The resulting cloth was made from long fibered Egyption cotton, tightly woven to such a density that it proved problematic to dye the resulting cloth. They worked out the snags though and Grenfell cloth has been made for almost 100 years now.

 

If 100 years seems like a long time, it’s nothing compared to how long Cordings of Piccadilly have been around. The first Cordings shop was established by John Charles Cording in London in 1839. By all accounts a very long time ago, and the history is continuous since then (in fact, read the Cordings history on their website, it’s fascinating read). Remember the famous quote “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”, well Cordings supplied equipped explorer Sir Stanley when he set off to find the Doctor in Africa. They moved the shop to Piccadilly in 1877, which to all intents and purposes is where it still is today.

The style of the Grenfell Shooter

As mentioned, the design hails back to the 1940’s, which not coincidentally was around the time the first modern military field jacket was introduced. The M-43 had a lapels, big pockets and a buttoned front, not unlike the Shooter. The obvious influence is in the generous pockets and strong utilitarian features. It’s probably not far wrong to describe it as a civilian field jacket, with a combination of functionality and style, suitable for gentlemanly pursuits of the outdoors and hunting sort.

This is a recreation of the original jacket, in the same British-made Grenfell cloth, to the same design and fit. There are three outside pockets, the lower bellows pockets with eyelets to allow water to escape. There are two inside pockets, one chest pocket mirroring the outside chest pocket, and one “game pocket”. The game pocket is quite sizeable, waterproofed and removable for cleaning. Suitable for storing small game or a decent sized salmon in, if such is your wish.

The collar is a good size and can be turned up to keep the wind out, with both a top button and a throat tab to batten things down. It has the traditional removable belt and the cuffs are elasticated to stop the wind blowing up the arms.

The construction of the jacket

Grenfell cloth is no doubt similar to other tightly woven cotton fabrics such as Ventile, though Grenfell claim there are no water repellent chemicals involved. Regardless, the best way to make jackets from cloths like this is to use a double layer. If the outer layer get’s wet and swells, the inner layer will protect the wearer from feeling clammy, a common complaint from users of single layer Ventile jackets. It’s gratifying to see just how comprehensively this jacket has been made in double layers, it’s basically a jacket inside a jacket.

I’ve gushed profusely about Grenfell quality before, so I’ll be brief this time. Grenfell are without a doubt in my top of three jacket makers, and I’m not totally sure who would fill the other two places. The work put into it is flawless. The seams are straight  the horn buttons polished and properly attached. Notable there are also vent holes in the arm pits to aid ventilation. It’s also been made using the same production methods as the original.

Finally, it’s been given a launder to give it a slightly used look and feel. A brand new vintage jacket really. Which makes a lot of sense, as the style is currently enjoying something of a revival and vintage jackets in pukka condition have increased dramatically in price.

The Grenfell Shooter in use

What’s it like in use, you ask? It’s a little different to my other jackets, what with it being more obviously vintage sporting style. I don’t go hunting, though I do spend time in the woods with the dogs. The Shooter is a great fit, and with room for a wool sweater inside it is a versatile jacket for the seasons where the weather is unpredictable. At the same time as it has useful utilitarian features though, it also has enough style to be used in modern urban environments.

I’ve been caught in the rain, and even snow, while wearing it and there was no sign of water penetrating neither cloth nor seams, so so far the Grenfell cloth delivers on it’s promise.

All in all, a handy piece of outerwear.

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2 Comments

  • Deanna Cummings 30/11/2017 at 19:19

    Looks best without the belt. It’s a very well-made jacket. I think, though, being a rugged Westerner who lives in the mountains of New Mexico, I’d rather spend that $800+ on a good goretex jacket/rain pants and have money left over to purchase the waterproof Wild Things rucksack for my daughter’s 24-hour search and rescue pack. 😉

    Reply
  • I-forget 01/12/2017 at 16:32

    Looking good. Just need a few street lamps to light amidst a 1940s smog?! Dapper gear.

    Reply

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