Operations, demise and closure

The exterior of Borval Fabrics by 1990
The exterior of Borval Fabrics by 1990

A converter firm

Throughout its time in operation, Borval fabrics actually manufactured very little fabrics itself. It has functioned as a ‘converter’ – organising and supervising a production for the Partnership and outside customers by other specialist firms. All decisions about design and colour and choice of yarns were made by the Partnership. Dyeing, spinning, weaving and finishing were all organised and supervised in situ by Borval Partners, many of whom spent much of their time travelling from mill to mill. Some specialist work was carried out by self-employed out-workers-again under Partnership supervision. Wherever the work was done, it was done to the Partnership’s exacting standards of quality.

Hundred year old loom!

Samples of new cloth were originally woven at Albert Street on a highly-prized hand loom that was said to be over a hundred years old, and later at a small commission weaver on a power operated shuttle loom which was itself some maturity. In the 1970’s there was a specialist unit attached to Borval where modern high-speed automated machined knitted double jersey fabric but this was the exception to the basis precept that no production was done ‘in house’.

Market leaders

The company was in some aspects ahead of its time. After only three year’s research they were the first to be able to offer woven Crimplene as opposed to the usual kitted version. They were also the first company to piece-dye extremely light-weight washable worsteds suitable for making up shirts and blouses. Partnership buyers were among Borvil Fabrics regular buyers, many of the finished products found their way directly to our piece goods departments. Selling was originally handled by Cavendish Textiles, but latterly Borval had its own small sales offices in Medway House.


By the late 1980’s, there has a large decline in demand for coatings and a recession in the home dress-making trade. In March 1990, it was announced that the company would cease trading at the end of July 1990.

Sold, but name lived on

The Gazette of the 4th August 1990, announced that the Partnership had sold the assets of Borval Fabrics to a specialist textile manufacturer, Reuben Gaunt of Farsley near Leeds, would continue to use the name.

Reuben Gaunt was a long established family firm of textile manufacturers specialising in worsted fabrics, and so the takeover, the decision of many Borval Partners to take up employment in the new company was highly understandable.

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