BOLTON-BASED sportswear company Halbro is a family run business established almost exactly a century ago and formed as a result of a conversation between two friends; one a coal merchant (Mr Hallet); and the other a sports retailer (Mr Broughton) who was explaining how difficult it was to obtain quality rugby clothing.

The result was the formation of Halbro Textile Co Ltd in Wigan, a town of coal mining and textile fabrication. Steeped in rugby history, it bred hard men and a feared rugby team.

Hallet and Broughton realised from the start that it was the customers’ absolute confidence in their product that was the name of the game and the Halbro reputation for quality grew as quickly and soundly as the company itself.

In 1924, Broughton left the company allowing Hallet to continue until he passed away in the 1950s. Eventually, in 1961, Halbro was bought by the Moores family, which is where current owner John Moores comes in.

“Mr Hallett passed the company down to his four daughters who sold the business to my family in 1961,” said John. “At that point it was my grandfather, Walter Moores, my father, Bert Moores, and my uncle Jack Moores.

“I originally trained as an engineer, but eventually it became hard to resist and I’m now the sole owner.”

Since the 1960s, the company has become famous for their sports jerseys and shorts as well as selling a large range of training and weather protection gear from their headquarters on Chorley New Road in Horwich.

“The main chunk of our clothing is rugby jerseys which we sell through the Halbro brand and the Raging Bull brand,” said John. “We have various factories abroad where we make bespoke garments as well as having our own production here. We can produce about 300 garments a week here in Horwich and our other items are made in Lithuania and India.”

John is proud of the company’s success over the years and that they have maintained a link to Bolton’s past as a textile town.

“This year has been reasonably good for us and things are pretty busy,” he added. “My grandfather had a weaving mill originally and it goes back to his father and before that. Our family have been in textiles for well over a hundred years.”