Sunday, 25 April 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Alfred Brown

Harvey Nichols in Leeds currently has an in store exhibition celebrating the cloth manufacturers of Yorkshire. Included are the firms:

Alfred Brown (Bramley, Leeds) , Arthur Harrison (Huddersfield), Hainsworth (Pudsey), Bower Roebuck (Huddersfield), Edwin Woodhouse (Pudsey), John Cavendish (Huddersfield), John Foster (Bradford), Joseph H Clissold (Bradford), Abraham Moon (Guiseley), Savile Clifford (Huddersfield), Taylor&Lodge (Huddersfield). It's good to know there are still these firms around in Yorkshire.

When Alfred Brown's wanted to be included on the panel what better way of representing them than the end product of their weaving. The Tapestry had recently acquired computerised sewing machines and Elizabeth Thackrah experimented with several designs until this was finally chosen.

In 2003 AW Brown sent this description of the firm

"Originally known as Brown & Sons (Bramley) Ltd founded by Mr Herbert Brown JP, a well known Leeds Liberal, deputy Lord Mayor and Chairman of the Leeds Permanent Building Society. the original company made uniform clothes for police, fire brigades and the armed forces.
The company had a difficult start and lost £30,000 in the 1920s slump. Mr Alfred Brown Snr was asked by his father to help pull the company round as Mr Herbert Brown did not want the stigma of bankruptcy.
At the time of the slump Mr Alfred Brown Snr ran 2 looms out of 43 for their own use, the rest weaving on commission.
From this low position Mr Alfred Brown Snr and Mr Stanley Brown progressed to the war years of 1939-45. the trade after the war changed to domestic production and Montague Burton was the corner stone of the business for many years.
The next generation came into the business in the 1950s, Mr Peter Brown, Mr Alfred Brown Jnr and Mr David Brown.
New machinery was bought and good progress was made. The business is now run by the sons of Mr Alfred Brown Jnr, Ian Brown, Nigel Brown and Roger Mc Ardle with 24 Sulzer looms producing 450 pieces/week (in 1950s 43 looms produced 43 pieces weekly).

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