Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,722 pages of information and 235,205 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

W. M. Christy and Sons

From Graces Guide
1924. Christy's Towels.
August 1958.
December 1960.

W. M. Christy and Sons of Droylsden, near Manchester

1829 William Miller Christy acquired capital as a result of the sale of his bank and and used the money to enter the textile industry.[1]

1833 W. M. Christy was in business at Hillgate Mill, Stockport (see Christy and Co)..

1833 Christy purchased land at Droylsden.

1837 Opened Fairfield Mill at Droylsden.

1837 Christy set up Queen Street School, Droylsden.

1843 William took two of his sons, Alexander and Richard, into partnership and retired from the day-to-day running of the business.

c1850 Henry Christy returned from Turkey with a sample of loop-pile towelling fabric. Richard Christy, his brother, recognized its potential commercial value. Samuel Holt, an employee working at the Hillgate Mill, developed a method of manufacturing the towels by machine and so production commenced, creating the "Turkish Towel".

1851 Exhibited at the Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace. Queen Victoria saw the towels on a visit to the Great Exhibition and placed an order for six dozen of the "Royal Turkish Towel". The success of the product was assured.

1858 Charles Egerton Ashworth became a partner in the business.

1863 Alexander Christy relinquished his partnership.

1863 Fairfield Mill and the Manchester Office were connected by telegraph.

1874 The firm became a Limited Company.

1874 Edmund Christy and Alfred Ashworth became directors.

1874 Richard Christy became Chairman and Jonathan Hadfield was appointed as Secretary.

The firm continued to be successful, although it did suffer from problems which were common throughout the industry such as shortages in the supply of raw cotton.

1891 Directory: Listed as Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers. More details [2]

1891 CHRISTY W. M. & SONS, LIMITED, Fairfield Mills, Droylsden; 30,000 spindles; 710 looms, royal Turkish towels, broche and damask towels, &c. Pay day first Wednesday. [3]

The firm's management were sensitive to the changing shape of the industry, recognising the need to advertise their product as competition increased and to modernise machinery and buildings.

1896 Fire at Fairfield Mill destroyed stock.

1898 Death of Richard Christy, Charles Ashworth became Chairman.

1901 Death of Charles Ashworth, Alfred Ashworth became Chairman.

Early 20th century: Reginald Hadfield, son of the Company's Secretary, Jonathan Hadfield, initiated a major programme of modernisation in the first decade of the 20th century.

1908 Alfred Ashworth retired; his nephew, Edmund Ashworth became Managing Director.

1910 Death of Alfred Ashworth.

1912 Jonathan Hadfield retired; John Newton becomes Secretary.

1913 Richard Jones, Manager of the Manchester Office, was given a seat on the Board.

1915 Death of Jonathan Hadfield.

1916 Reginald Hadfield was given a seat on the Board.

1924 The Manchester Office was moved to 51 Mosley Street.

1928 Death of Richard Jones after 58 years' service.

1931 Death of Henry E. Christy; the new Board consisted of W.M. Christy, E.H. Ashworth, R. Hadfield and Admiral R.S. Hornby.

1938 Death of Reginald Hadfield.

1941 Fairfield Mill closed on the order of the Cotton Controller due to demand for munition workers.

1941 Acquired Greenhow & Co. Ltd (a firm of Manchester merchants) as a capital investment.

1942 Mill reopened due to national shortage of towels.

Post-WWII: the Directors decided to undertake another sweeping programme of modernisation

1955 The decline in Lancashire's cotton industry led to the firm being taken over by Fine Spinners and Doublers Ltd.

1964 The whole group became part of the Courtaulds group of companies.

2008 Christy UK Ltd, UK's largest towel manufacturer.

See Also

  • [1] Christy Towels

Sources of Information

  • [2] Manchester Archives (See under Emmott and Co. Ltd)
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • [3] Selected archives