The acquisition of JH Birtwistle, 1988

An aerial photograph of JH Birtwistle, from the Gazette of the 20th February 1988
An aerial photograph of JH Birtwistle, from the Gazette of the 20th February 1988

Expansion of textile production

In summer 1998, the Partnership announced that it had acquired JH Birtwistle and Company Limited, a weaving and spinning company based at Haslingdon, Lancashire. By now, the Partnership had considerable experience with similar companies, such as Stead McAlpin and Herbert Parkinson and they felt that they wanted to further expand the textile production capacity.

Well established company

JH Birtwistle was a very well established company, which maintained a reputation for the provision of high quality products. Like the Partnership, JH Birtwistle was also at the forefront of modernity in its respective industry. Importantly, as the company was already a major supplier of grey cloth to Stead McAlpin, Birtwistle was already well known and respected by the Partnership.

Made Partners

The acquisition brought with it 230 employees, most of whom were engaged in spinning and weaving. It also operated a dress fabrics converting business though Musbury Textiles, a wholly owned subsidiary on the outskirts of Manchester. In 1988, the employees at Birtwistle were officially brought into the John Lewis Partnership, meaning that they fell within the jurisdiction of the Constitution and could enjoy, amongst, other benefits, the Partnership bonus.

Comments about this page

  • Hi David,
    Thank you for your comment, and apologies for taking so long to get back to you. Unfortunately we do not hold any of the documents that would give us this information as our records mainly date from after the acquisition of JH Birtwistle by the Partnership in 1988.

    By imogen (21/02/2020)
  • I seem to recall that JH Birtwistle had an entitlements (not rights) issue in the mid-1980s; shareholders, who did not take-up their entitlements, had their holdings diluted and received nothing for their entitlements; they would have received payments for lapsed rights.
    If my memory is correct, I wonder if someone could let me know the following:
    What was the date of the entitlements issue?
    Did the directors advise shareholders to take-up or not to take-up their entitlements?
    Did the directors take-up their own entitlements?
    Did the directors take-up lapsed entitlements?

    By David W Stothart (05/09/2019)

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