Famous for it’s lush countryside and rolling dales, Yorkshire is also renowned for producing some of the world’s finest textiles. We bring you our top 15 Yorkshire textile mills.
There are several dozen textile firms still operating in Yorkshire, including weavers, spinners, dyers and finishers. The woollen and worsted cloth produced in the region is some of the finest in the world, and the textile industry boom of the industrial revolution makes up a large part of Yorkshire’s rich history.
In recent years many of the Yorkshire textile mills have had a lot of investment, and we’ve even some some firms that had moved their production offshore bring back operations to the UK. Laxtons is a great example of this, having not only reshored but also opened a state-of-the-art factory in 2017.
One of the companies championing the region’s textile industry is Yorkshire Textiles, a not-for-profit initiative by Leeds Fashion Works. They work to promote Yorkshire’s high quality products and specialist skills to internationally reknowned fashion houses and global brands. Founder Suzy Shepherd gave us her view of the Yorkshire textile industry.
“With its rich and unique textile heritage, Yorkshire is renowned for producing some of the world’s finest and most sought-after cloth. Leading luxury brands around the world, couturiers, Savile Row and Royalty are just some of the destinations for cloth produced in Yorkshire. Many of the mills can trace their roots back through generations. The iconic scarlet cloth of the Queen’s Guard’s uniforms is one of the instantly recognisable cloths made in Yorkshire at AW Hainsworth. Dating back to 1783, it is still today a family firm and one of the oldest companies in Britain.
Archives from Hainsworth and other mills in the region give a fascinating insight into the history and cultural impact of cloth manufacturing in a world context. From fleece to finished product is a fascinating process; once people begin to appreciate the concept, they can understand the skill, craft and value that has made Yorkshire famous as a textile homeland.” – Suzy Shepherd, Yorkshire Textiles
Here is our list of the top 15 Yorkshire textile mills operating today…
Founded in 1837 and with their roots in apparel, Abraham Moon are one of the last remaining vertical woollen mills in Britain, meaning they are among a select few who continue to complete all processes on one site. From supplying fabric for a growing Leeds market throughout the 1800’s to supplying the major fashion houses of modern times, they have a strong history over the past 180 years and a reputation for consistent quality and innovative design.
Joshua Ellis produce the finest handcrafted cashmere and woollen cloth, fabrics and accessories are highly sought after by luxury fashion houses and are exported from the Yorkshire mill to over 23 different countries. By successfully marrying innovation in design and manufacturing with a commitment to investing in new generations to develop the time-honoured skills; the company can reflect on its historic past whilst looking forward to an exciting future.
W.T. Johnson & Sons, are one of the world’s leading textile dyeing and finishing companies. They create high quality finishes on an ever increasing range of fabrics, from the finest gentlemen’s worsted suiting to specialised safety clothing and upholstery. Their success, and that of Huddersfield’s heritage in the fine Worsted industry, are interwoven. Unmatched craft skills and expertise have been handed down through four generations of master fabric finishers, from W.T. who started the company in 1910 to a skilled local workforce today.
Established in 1907, George Laxton and Gordon Holmes formed a worsted spinning mill , combining George’s technical know-how and Gordon’s financial expertise, producing wool and mohair yarns. Prior to the First World War, together with local a Bradford weaver, they developed a new technology which dissolved away cotton fibre leaving pure mohair thus creating the first light weight mohair suiting fabric in the world. After re-shoring 100% of their manufacturing in December 2009, Laxtons have managed to invest in additional manufacturing capacity. As a result, they outgrew their old premises and have built a state-of-the-art new spinning mill, not only increasing capacity with new machinery but also capability in being able to offer an even more diverse range of yarns for many different markets and end uses.
Marton Mills Co Ltd is a traditional family owned weaving mill in the heart of West Yorkshire. They have a vast range of stock supported fabrics and their in house design team offer a bespoke service to meet exact requirements. Consistent quality and exemplary service has led to Marton Mills being the largest supplier of school wear and kilt fabrics in the UK. Their fabric is used in a wide range of applications throughout the clothing and furnishing industries. Marton Mills now produce over 20,000 metres of cloth every week which is dispatched worldwide.
Sam Weller & Sons Ltd. is one of the leading decatising wrapper manufacturers in the world. The company was founded in 1911, and for more than three quarters of a century it has worked with the cloth finishing industry, providing an unrivalled knowledge in the manufacture and application of decatising wrappers. Famous worldwide for their quality and dependability Weller also specialise in weaving high pick density Cotton fabrics, in weights ranging from 70 – 950gsm, for a wide variety of applications.
Based in West Yorkshire, Pennine Weavers are specialist commission weavers and one of the most flexible weaving plants in Europe, with the ability to produce lengths from 12m to 3000m. Manufacturing for the luxury end of the market continues to be the core of their strategy, continually looking to invest in the forefront of technology and ensure their team is one of the most highly skilled workforces in the textile industry. In addition to training their staff they operate an employee profit sharing scheme. This allows staff to benefit from their hard work and attention to detail, improving productivity and quality. As a result of investing in people, Pennine Weavers are viewed as a progressive company to work for and are helping to make textiles an attractive career choice for a younger generation.
Founded in 1856 by 21-year old Thomas Burberry, by 1879 Thomas Burberry has invented gabardine, a breathable, weatherproof and hardwearing fabric. At the Burberry textile mill near Keighley, traditional and modern techniques are combined to create this signature gabardine. Cotton fibres are chosen for length and fineness before being coloured and spun into super-strong yarn.
Alfred Brown have woven fine worsteds in Yorkshire for 100 years and for five generations they have kept the same core values: a belief in quality, attention to design detail and continual reinvestment in new product and machinery. All their fabrics are produced at Empire Mills in Yorkshire, England. Combining the latest in weaving technology with time honoured techniques to produce some of the world’s finest cloths.
C & J Antich is a commission weaver, warper and mender in the Yorkshire fine worsted industry, producing the finest British worsted cloth for the world’s best known fashion brands. They have become the largest worsted manufacturer in the UK. They have over 40 machines, and are fully operational 120 hours every week. Their believe their success is due to their well-trained and skilled workforce and investment in the latest technology on a regular basis.
Dugdale Bros & Co are cloth merchants based in the very centre of Yorkshire’s worsted industry despatching fine cloth from an imposing historic headquarters building in Huddersfield. With advances in technology, they have embraced the new processes that enable fabric to shed creases easily, retain shape over longer periods and be extremely comfortable to wear. They have recently announced their Cottonopolis collection: The first cotton suiting and coating collection to be spun, woven and finished in Britain for decades, this luxury range of cloths incorporates premium-grade Supima yarn from pioneering @englishfinecottons and is crafted entirely in the North of England.
A specialist textile company, AW Hainsworth has been a market leader for over 230 years. From the time Abimelech William Hainsworth started manufacturing woollen cloth in Yorkshire in 1783, investing in people and maintaining strong partnerships with customers and suppliers have been the cornerstones of their success. Hainsworth fabric has clothed royalty and the military for full-dress ceremonial occasions and has embellished and enriched the furnishings of palaces across the world.
Carmira design and manufacture fabrics for use in a vast array of commercial interiors, education, healthcare, retail, and for passenger transport on bus, coach and rail. Making over 8 million metres of fabric a year, they spin and dye yarn, grow bast fibre crops to blend with wool, and weave on over 100 dobby, jacquard and plush looms.
Hield Brothers was established in 1922. The company was founded by entrepreneurs David and Hugh Hield under the name Hield Brothers in West Yorkshire as a manufacturer of the finest quality English cloth. Based in Briggella Mills, the company has over its illustrious history gained a worldwide reputation and global standing as a symbol of perpetual British quality. The company has twice been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Export.
In 1910, in the small town of Cleckheaton, Joseph H. Clissold established his cloth manufacturing business at Brookhouse Mills. The business expanded and Joseph H. Clissold relocated to Bradford, one of the centres of Britain’s fine worsted industry. Joseph H. Clissold developed the company and built a reputation on traditional craft skills and leading technology. Today the craft, skill and expertise in cloth making have been developed further by new generations and today’s fabrics are finer and more technically advanced than ever. The company has its own in house design team, where 6 designers have the use of the Scotweave CAD system and can produce samples in single and full width through either Hattersley, Data Weave or Dobcross looms.