The Way We Worked: the made-to-measure success story of Rundles

HARD AT WORK: The Rundles sewing team on their machines ... Rundles saw the potential of sewing machines to speed up suit manufacture.

HARD AT WORK: The Rundles sewing team on their machines ... Rundles saw the potential of sewing machines to speed up suit manufacture.

THE Novocastrian tailoring institution of Rundles began in 1908 when founder Richard Thomas Rundle set up business in Thorn Street, later moving to 108 Hunter Street. Rundle saw the potential of sewing machines to speed up suit manufacture before many other tailors and found a profitable niche.

In 1939, Rundles bought the Hunter Street building formerly occupied by the Lane and Trewartha store and moved its tailoring business to the new premises on Christmas Eve of that year.

In 1952, Rundles became a public company. In 1959 the firm bought the old Hall and Son grocery warehouse on Scott Street and in 1973 the manufacturing division was expanded with the lease of factory space at 259 King St Newcastle.

In the 1990s, Rundles briefly closed, one of many victims of a changing industrial, business and social landscape. It re-opened in Hunter Street West, where it still operates today.

These photographs were supplied by the Rundle family and are among many in the new book, The Way We Worked, by former Newcastle Herald writer Greg Ray and his wife, Sylvia. 

IN DEMAND: Customers line up at the Rundles counter.

IN DEMAND: Customers line up at the Rundles counter.

The book is the seventh published by the couple since Newcastle, the Missing Years in 2010. The Way We Worked is available from theherald.com.au online bookstore, the Herald headquarters at 28 Honeysuckle Drive, and from participating newsagents and booksellers.

WELL SUITED: A businessman gets measured up for a new suit at Rundles ... the Hunter business institution started in 1908.

WELL SUITED: A businessman gets measured up for a new suit at Rundles ... the Hunter business institution started in 1908.

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