The early years of Herbert Parkinson

Photo:The interior of Herbert Parkinson, known as Weaver's alley, 1954

The interior of Herbert Parkinson, known as Weaver's alley, 1954

Photo:A Herbert Parkinson lorry from the mid 1980's

A Herbert Parkinson lorry from the mid 1980's

Photo:The exterior of Herbert Parkinson on the front cover of the Gazette, 1977

The exterior of Herbert Parkinson on the front cover of the Gazette, 1977

Acquired by the Partnership in 1953

By Jonathan Blatchford

The Partnership’s only current manufacturer

Herbert Parkinson is the only manufacturer still working for John Lewis. Based in Darwin, North West Lancashire, the Partnership’s textiles factory has for many years produced woven furnishing fabrics and own-label made-up and filled products for John Lewis. Producing these filled products (curtains, duvets, pillows and cushions) is the factory’s main priority.

A very long-running experiment!

The factory was established in 1935, and in 1953 was acquired by the Partnership. It was initially an experiment, producing Jonelle furnishing fabrics for Partnership shops, but by the 1960’s the factory had already expanded, and now had over 130 Partners. By this point it was a well established part of the Partnership, working closely with the London based Cavendish Textiles Limited, who handed much of the Partnership’s textile trade.

'Who or What is Herbert Parkinson?'

In 1953, the Partnership kept its acquisition of Herbert Parkinson a strict secret for over a decade. It did not wish its competitors to know that it had its own weaving mill, or that it was experimenting with new ideas. The game finally came to an end in 1965, when in a Gazette from the year, a letter was published from 'Two anxious Partners', exclaiming 'Who or What is Herbert Parkinson?'. The response from Editor Barbara Thomas conceded the factory's existence. 

Highly skilled Partners

Work at Herbert Parkinson was undertaken by highly skilled Partners, using highly specialised and often very expensive equipment. These factors have made running a tight ship at Herbert Parkinson consistently important over the years.

This page was added by Jonathan Blatchford on 18/09/2014.

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