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Wippell & Co to close after vesting the clergy for two centuries

26 May 2023

Wippell & Co

Wippell’s Westminster store

Wippell’s Westminster store

THE clerical clothing and academic gown manufacturer, Wippell & Co, has announced it is to close by the end of the year owing to financial difficulties.

Wippell & Co was founded in Devon in 1789, as a grocer, but went on to become an academic and clerical outfitter and supplier of church furnishings. It made handmade garments such as cassocks, altar frontals, graduation gowns, and mortarboards, with sites in Exeter, Westminster, and New Jersey in the United States.

A notice from the company released on Wednesday said that, owing to the pandemic, the past two years had seen “difficult” trading. Hundreds of thousands of pounds had been lost because of cancelled graduations and other events during national lockdowns.

A redundancy process is now under way for its 44 employees.

The chairman and director of Wippell & Co, Robin Richardson, said: “It’s an incredibly sad day, and I want to pay tribute to all my colleagues. We will be supporting everyone through this difficult period. The company is committed to providing fair redundancy packages and giving everyone many months’ notice ahead of closure.

“Most people, including incredibly skilled embroiderers, seamstresses, and cutters, have worked here for decades, with many approaching retirement age. I want to personally acknowledge everyone’s dedication and craftsmanship.”

The company would be continuing to trade over the coming months, completing and taking new orders, he said, including for all 2023 graduations.

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