Shirley® Christmas Story
The first Christmas ever seen by those at Shirley® was over 100 years ago.
Ironically, this first Christmas just so happened to be during the Spanish Flu Pandemic – which infected roughly 500 million people, about a third of the world’s population at the time. In 1918, we opened for business, with £4586.16 in the bank and occupying two converted houses in Leeds, working throughout the duration of the pandemic to provide important research and testing surrounding the performance of soldier’s uniforms.
This first Christmas for Shirley® was also the first Christmas in the wake of the end of the First World War; many families all over the world were desperately waiting on news, hoping their loved ones would return home for Christmas.
In approaching our 102nd Christmas at Shirley® - and with Christmas being a time to reflect, to acknowledge and to appreciate - we can’t help but look back at our long history and be struck by such an outstanding theme of resilience. In short summation, we have survived: two World Wars, two global pandemics, a withdrawal of government funding and research, the collapse of the UK textile manufacturing industry and its move overseas, and… dare we say it… Brexit!
Not only has Shirley® survived some of the most mammoth events in recent history, but importantly we’ve also thrived. There have been times when things have been really tough, close to impossible, but with strong leadership, determination, perseverance and perhaps a little bit of luck, we’ve made it to today, to Christmas 2020. Proving again this resolute theme of resilience.
To be truly resilient, we need to know what we can control and where we can take action. Most importantly though, we need to be open, adaptable and willing to learn.
This Christmas may be different for many, we’re all getting used to the new normal. This festive period may be unlike any we’ve experienced before, but if the story of Shirley® teaches us anything – it’s that we can get through it. And we can get through it together.
From us and ours to you and yours,
We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.