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Woven in History: Iconic textile mill celebrates 240th anniversary

A family-run heritage textile mill established in 1783 is celebrating its 240th anniversary. 

AW Hainsworth manufactures iconic British woollen cloth, high-performing textiles, and iconic fabrics for customers worldwide. 

Abimelech Hainsworth founded his cloth merchant business in Farsley in 1783, and since then, the company has seen tremendous success.

AW Hainsworth is an official Royal Warrant Holder and crafted the UK’s first heat and flame-retardant fabric. Today, its fabrics are used in many industries – from leading fashion brands to luxury car interiors.

Amy Widdowson is in weaving at AW Hainsworth.

Hainsworth cloth is worn by royalty and the military in the UK and globally, and its interior fabrics furnish royal interiors, palaces and the House of Lords. Some of AW Hainsworth’s key historical moments include Hainsworth fabrics being worn at both the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and the recent Coronation of King Charles III earlier this year. 

In 1979, the British Snooker Championships were broadcast for the first time on colour television, with the competition played on the now iconic green Hainsworth cloth.

More recently, Hainsworth’s costume fabrics were used to produce the cloaks that the Death Eaters wore in West End production Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, and to dress characters in Downton Abbey, Queen Charlotte, Hamilton, Game of Thrones, and the Crown.

image of the mill from 1920.

The fully-integrated, vertical textile mill also supplies woven felt for pianos and other musical instruments, designs national and international transportation fabric, and protective materials for emergency services and military personnel worldwide.

The fabric design, manufacture and supply business has focused on cutting-edge innovation and product development in recent years – by launching a quarter of a million-pound state-of-the-art new laboratory space.

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Managing Director of AW Hainsworth, Amanda McLaren, explains: “When I first joined the business in 2021 I was acutely aware of Hainsworth’s long and prestigious history and how important it was to guard this as a ‘custodian’ of this amazing family business and West Yorkshire mill.

“In order to understand our future, we have to respect and remember our past, and I have learned a lot by looking back at the stories of those who steered Hainsworth through the previous two centuries. We continue to build on this foundation, with a strong commitment to investing and building a bright future for all our stakeholders to enjoy.”

“We have an amazing team of people at Hainsworth today who are all working with pride, passion, expertise and a desire to succeed.”

To mark this important milestone, the team at AW Hainsworth will be celebrating with a host of events throughout July, August and September, rounding off the business anniversary with a party for customers, employees and suppliers.

The specialist textile manufacturer is the parent company to Hainsworth Fabric of a Nation, Hainsworth Protective Fabrics, Hainsworth Toptable, Natural Legacy by Hainsworth, John Atkinson, Hainsworth Technical Felt, Northern Rubber by Hainsworth, and Replin by Hainsworth.

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