Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Haythornthwaite and Sons

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04th March 1961.

of Lodge Mill, Burnley, Lancs. Telephone: Burnley 2629. Cables: "Grenfell, Burnley"

Manufacturers of Grenfell brand clothing.

1875 [1] Thomas Haythornthwaite, returned from America to become a Dairyman and Cattle Trader in Wavertree.

1908 he opened a weaving mill, T. Haythornthwaite and Sons Ltd at Meadow Bank Mill, Brierfield along with his Son Walter, grandfather of David Haythornthwaite.

1918 The mill prospered and, in 1918 ,moved to larger premises at Lodge Mill, Burnley, where 750 looms were driven by a twin cylinder compound steam engine.

1922 The mill was mostly weaving lining materials until 1922, when Walter Haythornthwaite met Dr (later Sir) Wilfred Grenfell, who had spent much time on the frozen wastes of Labrador. Walter Haythornthwaite had been struck by words from Doctor Grenfell "That you could not keep a statue warm by putting a fur coat on it. Clothing must be windproof but must breathe."

Walter set about making a fabric dense enough to keep out the wind and weather but permeable to perspiration. The task was a difficult one. Special yarns had to be spun from the finest Egyptian Cotton. The looms had to be specially strengthened, but when the fabric was woven, further problems arose. The fabric was so naturally waterproof that it proved almost impossible to get the dye into the fabric.

At last the fabric was ready and it was sent out to Labrador as a gift to Doctor Grenfell. This was not a commercial venture at that stage and it was only when Doctor Grenfell wrote to Walter Haythornthwaite suggesting that the cloth should be available to the public that the story began to unfold. Dr Grenfell suggested that it be called Grenfell Cloth and the marketing of this famous fabric began.

1931 a second Company, Haythornthwaite and Sons Ltd, was formed solely to market Grenfell Cloth and Grenfell garments.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for Grenfell Cloth (Registered) - Raincoats, Golf Jackets, Sportswear. Originally made for Grenfell of Labrador. Used on Everest and numerous expeditions. Available in wide range of colours for Raincoats, Golf Jackets, Ski Suits and Sports Wear. (Textiles Section - Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 62) [2]

The Haythornthwaite Family are no longer connected with the Grenfell brand or company which was bought out by a Japanese Cashmere spinning company in 1991.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Grenfell History
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 466; and p132