The Alan Paine brand was established in the historic market town of Godalming in Surrey, England in 1907. Wool and knitting industries were important sources of income in the area over a number of centuries. Evidence of this survives in the town’s emblem,- a woolsack - which is still in official use today and was included in the Alan Paine crest through the years.
By 1920 the business had grown to include supplying speciality shops - principally by adding the Club Colour Trim to a plain cable sweater.
The swatch book held a swatch of woll for each client that could be used to create a sweater in the required club, school or regimental colours.
Cable-knit sweaters were increasing in popularity at this time. It was in this decade that Alan Paine's most famous unofficial patron, the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) ordered his own personalised sweaters, finished in his regimental colours.
British women's tennis player Joan Lycett is an Alan Paine cardigan in this photo. She was the first woamn to play at Wimbledon without stockings.
By 1940, Paines had gained such an unrivalled reputation for the quality of its workmanship that the company was commissioned to make woollen sweaters for Britain's armed forces, particularly the Navy. By 1942, the Alan Paine workforce had grown to 400 staff members in Godalming and 200 in Wales.
Throughout the 1950's and 1960's, Alan Paine searched for new sales opportunities whilst investigating in new machinery and training of his high skilled knitters and sewers. He reinvigorated the business and embarked on a new era of expansion and growth.
Frank L. Savage was appointed US representative, a turning point and a relationship that spanned four decades. Due to the success of the US business Savage reportedly recommended the brand change from ‘W.F. Paine of Godalming’ to ‘Alan Paine’ on the basis that Americans found Godalming difficult to pronounce.
in 1970 the company was further honoured with its second Queen's Award for Outstanding Export Achievement. In 1973 Paine's was asked by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen to knit two vicuna sweaters as a wedding present for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips.
In 1976 Alan's eldest son Richard was appointed Managing Director. His youngest son Nigel played a significant part in developing the North American market until his retirement in 2010.