One of our episodes from the very first series that is well worth a revisit is this one. I interviewed Andy Ogden at English Fine Cottons.
Greater Manchester was once known as ‘Cottonopolis’. 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. They were 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 decided to bring cotton spinning back to the UK. They were already spinning technical fibres in Dunkenfield on the outskirts of Manchester.
English Fine Cottons now supplies well-known designer brands. They provide high street retailers with cotton yarn that is used in bedding, shirts and outerwear.
I took a tour around the mill back in 2018. I met with Andy Ogden, General Manager of English Fine Cottons.
In this interview, you’ll hear all about just how the business came about. You’ll also hear how they are closing one of the broken loops in the UK’s fragmented textile supply chain.
- The sounds of some of the advanced technology English Fine Cottons use to spin their yarn [02:34]
- The story of how it all came about [04:31]
- The challenges they met along the way in regards to the cotton industry [08:59]
- How the business 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 Ian sees the brand developing in the years to come [35:04]