The acquisition of JH Birtwistle, 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.
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.