Ninety-nine year old resident Elwyn Hughes at Connaught Court, in Fulford, York, thought to be the oldest working tailor, has become an Honorary Member of The Company of Merchant Taylors in the City of York.
To mark the occasion, Elwyn attended a tea ceremony on Charter Day with over 90 guests. The Company of Merchant Taylors is one of seven guilds in York whose origin dates back to the 13th Century. The position of Honorary Member is bestowed on individuals who have provided distinguished service to the tailoring and craftsmanship profession.
At Connaught Court, Elwyn is still stitching, making waistcoats, skirts and other clothing items for family, friends and for his fellow residents. He has been sewing for more than 80 years after he first picked up a needle and thread.
After leaving school at the age of 14 in the 1930s, Elwyn was expected to follow his family into the mines. However, he was drawn to a nearby clothing factory and began a lifelong love affair with tailoring.
Four years later, during the Second World War in 1942, 18 year old Elwyn was conscripted to the Army and trained as a machine gunner.
But when officers noticed Elwyn’s sewing talent, they recruited him as a skilled tailor, and was instead sent around Britain with his sewing kit, attaching stripes to soldiers’ uniforms.
At the end of the war he returned to the trade and married his wife Barbara, and had three sons, John, Richard and Malcolm. Sadly, Barbara died in 1993.
Between the ages of 75 and 80, Elwyn travelled around the world to countries including Russia, Egypt and China, working for an American clothing company. He was tasked with visiting their suit factories to ensure the quality of their products were of appropriate standard.
Commenting on becoming an Honorary Member, Elwyn said:
I am truly honoured to have been recognised by The Company of Merchant Taylors.
Tailoring keeps me active and occupied; it gives me a focus, provides challenges and keeps my brain working.
Marinda Aydinalp, Home Manger at Connaught Court, said:
Elwyn is a well-loved and sociable gentleman at Connaught Court. The clothing he makes, such as his waistcoats, are always cheerful and colourful. He just brightens everyone’s day.
To this day, Elwyn has four grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and a great great grandson.
[Summary: Ninety-nine year old resident Elwyn Hughes at Connaught Court, in Fulford, York, thought to be the oldest working tailor, has become an Honorary Member of The Company of Merchant Taylors in the City of York.]