Wigan's home of haberdashery: buttons and bobbins at Kath's Haberdashery
Haberdashery has a long and storied history, even earning a mention in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century opus, The Canterbury Tales. Continuing to provide the vital service well into the 21st century is Kath’s Haberdashery in Wigan.
A family-run shop selling quality sewing and knitting products from ribbons and buttons to zips and fine wool, Kath’s Haberdashery is a one-stop shop for all things haberdashery located in the town’s Royal Arcade.
“We’ve been in Wigan a long time; my mum, Kath, has been doing this about 45 years now,” said owner Neil Pyke. “She was in the old arcade in Wigan and then moved to the new one, then I took over about eight years ago and moved us to the Royal Arcade.
“My mum worked for a family called Ainscough and ran their shop for them,” added Neil, 52, who is Wigan born-and-bred. “She took it over from them and changed it to Kath’s Haberdashery. She’s always been in the trade.”
Boasting numerous regular customers and a place in the hearts of countless locals, Kath’s Haberdashery is mainly run by Neil himself, although he is assisted by a Saturday girl and - on the odd occasion - Kath herself.
“I enjoy it, you get to know the customers really well,” said Neil. “I used to be a land surveyor before I took over from my mum; it was just a temporary thing, but I grew to love it - I didn’t think I’d enjoy working with the public so much but it’s really nice. You meet some real characters from crafty people to fashion designers to knitters. It’s really good.
“We get a lot of regular customers and we’re picking up new ones all the time,” he added. “People know they can get a good product at a reasonable price, and we have a good reputation in Wigan.”