195 – Made in Britain Starts Here – Andy Ogden

One of our epidode’s from the very first series that is well worth a revisit is this one with Andy Ogden at English Fine Cottons. Greater Manchester was once known as cottonopolis because it was the home to the world’s cotton yarn and fabric production during the industrial revolution.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, there were 9,000 people employed in the cotton industry in Ashton-under-Lyne, operating 2 million spindles.

But after years of decline, the last commercial cotton spinning mill in the UK closed.

Three years ago a company called Culimeta-Saveguard, who had been spinning technical fibres in Dunkenfield on the outskirts of Manchester decided to bring cotton spinning back to the UK.

English Fine Cottons now supplies well-known designer brands and high street retailers with cotton yarn that is used in bedding, shirts and outerwear.

I took a tour around the mill back in 2018 and chatted with Andy Ogden, General Manager of English Fine Cottons.

In this interview, you’ll hear all about how English Fine Cottons came about, and how they are closing one of the broken loops in the UK’s fragmented textile supply chain.

More about English Fine Cottons

My visit to Tower Mill when it was still a building site in 2016


  • The sounds of some of the advanced technology English Fine Cottons use to spin their yarn 02:34
  • The story of how English Fine Cottons came about 04:31
  • The challenges they met along the way in regards to the cotton industry 08:59
  • How English Fine Cottons found and developed a partnership with their trusted cotton supplier 11:43
  • The research that went behind sourcing spinning equipment for their factory 14:24
  • The reason why machinery efficiency means the business can keep its labour costs lower 15:57
  • Why English Fine Cottons also established themselves as a brand 22:17
  • Why Andy believes there’s been an improvement in the capability of the UK’s supply chain 26:44
  • How much the business invested into launching and why they decided to restore the original Tower Mill 30:46
  • How English Fine Cottons sees there brand developing in the years to come 35:04

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