Yorkshire's textile heritage

Thursday 1st August 2019

We Yorkshire folk are proud of our culture, history and their beautiful surroundings every day. But on 1st August each year, we really celebrate “Gods Own Country”. Whilst Yorkshire can boast many world achievements one key aspect of the region is its long tradition in the textile industry.

In the late 18th century the woollen trade accounted for 33% of all of England’s export. Yorkshire, with its countless cotton and wool mills, was once at the heart of that trade. Merchants in the four cloth halls of the city of Leeds handled a sixth of England’s cloth exports.

The city’s mills were enormous; Armley Mills was once the world’s largest woollen mill, and Temple Works accommodated grazing sheep on its roof. Temple Works, with its distinctive façade of columns, was also famous worldwide for its innovative flax production technique.

By the 19th century, Bradford became (and still is) a key wool trading city. Mill owners employed child labour, workers worked long hours and were poorly paid and had a short life expectancy due to pollution and squalid living conditions.

On the city’s outskirts, where the air was cleaner, Sir Titus Salt built a new mill with the aim of improving conditions for workers.

Titus was another textile innovator, having made his fortune successfully experimenting with alpaca wool to weave a very fine cloth. His efforts also earned him a humorous article by Charles Dickens.

Alongside Salts Mill, Titus constructed the village of Saltaire for his workers. Titus’s working and home life measures (including his ban on alcohol) improved the lives of textile workers immeasurably. The village is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sadly the industry has greatly declined. Many surviving mill buildings have been converted into blocks of flats, while a few others are preserved nearer their original state. Armley Mills is a fascinating industrial museum, and Salts Mill now houses art galleries, cafes and shops.

Image credit:Bryan Ledgard [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

However, many Yorkshire mills are still in business, such as Hainsworth in Leeds which produces textiles for military uniforms around the world. And the region is home to the UK’s key workwear manufacturers with whom we partner to supply our customers with quality uniforms.

And, of course, Yorkshire has been home to Uniforms by Creative for 21 years. Our literal closeness to our suppliers means that uniforms arriving at our facilities to be branded have a low carbon footprint.

And at Uniforms by Creative, we continue the great Yorkshire tradition of innovation, improving uniform fit and functionality and developing industry leading online ordering and management solutions.

We are proud to live and work in Yorkshire with all its tradition, history and textile expertise. Happy Yorkshire Day!

Share this post


Leave a Comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Why We’ve Rebranded


Technology in the uniform industry

We take a look at how technology has improved the functionality and sustainability of textile and garment production. READ MORE

How to achieve an eco-friendly uniform

How to achieve an eco-friendly uniform. READ MORE

Yorkshire’s textile heritage


PPE: A Quick Guide

We look at PPE under the latest EU Regulations, the scale and cost of PPE violations despite employers’ best intentions, and how to avoid them and get reluctant employees to wear their PPE. READ MORE

Unity through uniforms

Uniforms have been bringing people together for hundreds of years. Here we look at how they help individuals to put differences aside and go the extra mile to achieve common goals for their organisation. READ MORE

Benefits of a Company Uniform

There are lots of different reasons to create a uniform, from tax exemption purposes to the prestige it gives a business. READ MORE

A Winter Uniform Survival Guide


Should Uniforms be Gender Specific?


How eCommerce is affecting the Uniform Industry


Price - a race to the bottom


LINK: Seamless Online Ordering


Bespoke uniforms or off the shelf ? A guide for business


The top uniform trends of 2017

Although the concept of the ‘uniform’ has remained consistent for decades... READ MORE

The fall of India’s textile monopoly

For many decades, India has had the major leg up on the textiles industry. However, it is starting to struggle to maintain itself as foreign customers start to look to invest in alternative solutions closer to home. READ MORE

What Does your Uniform Say to Customers?

How do you engage customers through the medium of uniform? READ MORE

Bespoke Uniform and Leadtimes

Are you having headaches over leadtimes? Read our interview with a manufacturer. READ MORE

How Brexit Impacts the Uniform and Clothing Industry