Objects Database

Ventile anorak by Rossdale

Accession Number


Object Name

Ventile anorak by Rossdale




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Ventile anorak. Zipped front, drawstring hood but no string. Drawstring waist with plastic toggles. Two front pockets with plastic buttons. Zipped pocket on upper left hand side. Button on front bottom,crotch strap with buttonhole on inside bottom back.Patched in a number of places. Button on middle of inside back.


ventile, plastic, metal


From neck 73 (l) x 63 ( w)cms. Sleeve 46(l) cms.

Number Of Objects


Inscription Description

White label inside neck reads "M" Blue label below reads " ROSSDALE PRODUCT" Another label below reads" VENTILE CERTIFIED BY THE VENTILE FABRICS ASSOCIATION OF GREAT BRITAIN MANCHESTER ENGLAND"





Object Production Place



A lady called Ann Wakeling kindly donated this anorak. She bought it in a sport’s shop in Elgin back in 1959 for £8.00. It’s been much loved, worn and repaired since then but has now come to rest.
Ventile was a fairly new fabric in 1959 and the story of how it came about is quite interesting:-
Winston Churchill promoted the concept of catapulting expendable Hurricane aircraft from the decks of merchant ships to provide local cover. There was no means of landing back on the deck. The pilot had the choice of ditching the aircraft or bailing out into the sea. There was no problem in spotting the pilots who had signals and lights, but the water was so cold that life expectancy was only a few minutes. Most died from exposure.

There was an urgent need for a new, protective clothing fabric that would be comfortable in the cockpit under combat conditions and that would also keep a pilot warm and dry in the sea.
After many trials, the scientists at the Shirley Institute in Manchester U.K. developed the fabric called 'Ventile'. When made into finished garments, life expectancy in the sea was extended from a few minutes to 20 minutes and rescue was now a real possibility. 80% of anti-submarine pilots who fell into the sea now survived.
Ventile® fabrics for RAF clothing went into mass production in 1943 and the military association still remains today. Garment designs have changed over the years but you will still find Ventile® suits in modem Tornado jets with the RAF and other NATO airforces.

Ventile is still used for outdoor clothing too, though perhaps rather less than one would imagine given its qualities - stand by for the Ventile Revolution!

Acquisition Method

Donated by Ann Wakeling

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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