Where it all began: 1800s
In 1822, a cloth manufacturer named John Holdsworth founded a worsted spinning mill named Holdsworth in Halifax - a town in the North of England, celebrated for its woollen textile heritage. With a rich family history in fabric manufacturing, John had extensive knowledge of the industry and the company quickly grew. In the following decades, John was joined in partnership by his four sons who, together, continued to develop the business. Experts in creating yarn from raw wool and weaving specialised fabrics, including damasks, velvets and tapestries, the company also established a renowned reputation for providing speciality cloths for railroads and shipping companies and began supplying these to transport organisations across the world.
In the 1860s, the success of Holdsworth was marked by the construction of new offices by Sir Charles Barry – the British architect responsible for such significant works as the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square Fountains – and the company employed over 2,000 staff, illustrating its extensive size and reach.
Throughout the late 1800s, Holdsworth consolidated its position as a supplier to the transport industry, providing to many British railway companies, including the Great Northern Railway
(GNR) and the Great Central Railway
, as well those further afield, such as the Natal Railway in South Africa.