The continued evolution of Cavendish Textiles

An exhibition at John Lewis on Oxford Street, 1979
Cavendish Textiles Production Manager Harry Davy (left) sharing a joke with Partnership buyer Mr J Cross
The move to Victoria on the front cover of the Gazette, 1987

At Clipstone

There were two principle aspects to Cavendish Textiles by the 1970’s – wholesale and production. In the former section, it sold wholesale dress fabrics in bulk to the making-up trade, from its base at 12/14 Clipstone Street. The second section was the production unit, housed on the fourth floor of 10 Clipstone Street, within a stone’s throw from the buyers with whom the production team worked intricately.


The production unit was unique. Whereas other large companies tended to prefer to produce standard designs which could be easily purchased by wholesalers or by retailers, Cavendish Textiles produced cloth either exclusive in design, construction or colour.

Going global

A large proportion of fabrics were printed at Stead McAlpin in Carlisle, and Herbert Parkinson in Darwen weaved many of the Jonelle fabrics. Both units were not always used exclusively. The production managers and buyers could go anywhere in the world to get the fabfics and raw materials they wanted, and often, a Cavendish Textiles Partners would go abroad with a buyer to assist as a production expert and to notices growing manufacturing trends.

The move to Victoria

By the 1970’s, the future of Cavendish Textiles was in gaining the future attraction of a wider selection of buyers, and expanding into new fields – teal towels, rollers blinds, continental quilt covers, bed linen and household linen. By the 80’s, this expansion was duly achieved, and space at Clipstone Street was running out. The announcement by the Partnership to move the head offices of John Lewis into Victoria in 1987 was welcome news to everyone involved with Cavendish Textiles. There was to be a new studio, new equipment and a brand new workroom.

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