The Legend of Leicester

With a legacy in Leicester that goes as far back as 1914, our connection to the historic city runs deep. Renowned for its sporting prowess and esteemed clothing manufacturing, Leicester holds a special place in the Admiral journey. 



The Admiral story begins with Cook & Hurst in 1903, manufacturing clothing and hosiery in a small factory located in Wigston, Leicestershire. As part of the operations in this early period, the factory was commissioned to manufacture underwear for the military in support of the First World War effort. This partnership resulted in our first foray into sportswear, crafting exercise garments for the Royal Navy and it was here in 1914 that the Admiral name was adopted.


With the sportswear link with the British Royal Navy a growing part of the business over the next decade, the brand officially trademarked the name Admiral in 1922 and by the 1930s the brand’s product offering was expanded to include a wide range of interlock sportswear, all operated from our factory in Wigston, Leicester. During this era, Leicester was hailed as the second wealthiest location in Europe, largely due to its garment production, and Admiral was at the centre of this movement and a symbol of high-quality British manufacturing.

Bert Patrick, who joined Admiral Sports in 1956, is credited with ushering in the brand's modern era and its subsequent success. He observed the shifting landscape of the traditional underwear market and redirected focus towards the rapidly expanding sportswear sector. With the machinery and expertise for sportswear manufacturing already in place at the Leicester factory, the brand began diversifying its product range by the 1960s.

Admiral were on the global stage six years later when Gordon Banks walked out onto the pitch at Wembley for the 1966 World Cup Final. The brand's location in the city of Leicester would once again prove pivotal to this rise to the greatest stage of all. Some years prior, the team had crafted a revolutionary lightweight interlock football jersey. This innovative 'World Cup' shirt boasted built-in elastication at the neck and cuffs, giving complete freedom of movement while also helping to retain its shape. Living in close proximity to Admiral's headquarters was Gordon Banks, the esteemed goalkeeper for both Leicester City and England. Banks frequently visited the factory in Wigston and, impressed by the quality, opted to wear the unbranded kit for Leicester throughout the 1965-66 season and then requested a similar shirt in yellow for England's triumphant World Cup campaign that summer.



From this point on the factory in Wigston, and a new premises in Market Harborough, Leicester, were working non-stop, producing football kits for the likes of Leeds United, Manchester United, England and hometown club Leicester City whilst also transitioning into other sports with tour de france winning cycling jerseys, British Lions rugby shirts and kits for another hometown club in Leicester Tigers.

Leicester is the place where everything started for us and we’ve always acknowledged that our success is a result of the high production values, incredible attention to detail and sheer dedication put into our clothing and sportswear by the people who lived and worked there. It's this ethos that propels us forward, committed to preserving the tradition of excellence and expert craftsmanship.

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