Replica Bolenium dungerees

Object number

LDVAL 2014.2.1


Replica (possibly) dungerees made by Bolenium Ltd. Purchased for the HLF funded Collecting Cultures project 'Made in Barking and Dagenham'.

'Bolenium' was the brand name for the industrial clothing manufactured by W. A. Smith and Co. between 1915 and 1995. Smith and Co. made tough practical workwear - overalls, boiler suits, bib and braces, jackets and trousers, warehouse coats, grocers' jackets, painters' whites and other types of industrial clothing. The company reputation was based on their production of high quality industrial super strong work overalls - with all garments that were labelled 'Bolenium' being guaranteed. They were particularly famous for their Bolenium Super Overalls.

William A. Smith started his industrial clothing manufacturing company on Green Street, West Ham in a surviving Tudor house called the Boleyn or Bolen Castle - hence the name of the brand - Bolenium. Bolenium's association with Dagenham started in 1940, when to avoid the bombing in the East End, the company moved to Selinas Lane/Whalebone Lane where it remained for over thirty years. The new modern factory (with 350 sewing machines) was said to provide the 250 employees with 'first-class canteen facilities, radios and the amenities of a social club'.

In 1975 the firm moved to High Road, Ilford until it was wound-up in the late 1990s. Commercial success during the 1960s and '70s saw the company open two additional factories in Wantage and Daventry. The firm moved to Daventry soon after the Ford Motor Company moved its Parts Operations warehouse there, as many women married to Ford employees worked as machinists at W. A. Smith's.

For some years from the 1950s until the 1970s, one product produced by the Bolenium brand obtained international recognition and an unintended glamour when overalls made by the firm were adopted by the motor racing world and were won by Formula One drivers such as Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and James Hunt became synonymous with the race track

Physical description

Navy blue heavy cotton dungerees. With button fly fastening and button fastening on either side of the waist. A hip pocket on either side, two pockets on the bib, two pockets on the right leg and one pocker right reverse.




Work wear


Whole length: 1344mm
width: 503mm
width: 787mm

Collection type

Social history, Textile, Industry

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InstitutionValence House Museum
TypeWork wear
Collection type
Social history