Mrs. Smiling's collection of brassières, and her hope that 'on her death it would be left to the nation', is one of the comic highlights of Cold Comfort Farm. In 1932 the 'bra' was a relatively modern invention, having been devised (for her own use) in 1910 by a young American woman, Mary Phelps Jacob, who subsequently patented her design and put it into production in 1914. (Brassière-type underwear had been produced before, but Mary Phelps Jacob's design was the first to be granted a patent in the brassière, rather than the corset category.)
After a short while, the business was sold to Warner Brothers Corset Company of Connecticut, which is probably the inspiration for the 'Waber Brothers' referred to later on in Cold Comfort Farm as the manufacturers of the brassière which Mrs. Smiling goes to check out in the 'slums of Mayfair'.