The Pre-Partnership history of JH Birtwistle
Birtwistle of Blackburn
Birtwistle’s was founded in October 1892 by Jesse Hargreaves Birtwistle, an auctioneer and valuer based in the nearby town of Blackburn. Birtwistle held on to the business for a matter of just over ten years, when in 1904, it was taken over by a group of local businessmen led by Frederick Tattersall of Haslingden. When the premises was acquired by the Partnership in 1988, the Chairman and managing director were both belonged to the third generation of the family to run the business. Tattersall was a shrewd businessman, doubling the company’s sales within three years, from £64,000 to £130,000 per annum. Tattersall died in 1939, but as aforementioned the company remained in the family.
Profitable war years
The company profited greatly during the Second World War. The factory itself was miles away from the danger of the cities, and orders were at an all time high. Demand for industrial fabrics, utility cloth for uniforms and black cambric for blackouts, was sky high. The company expanded, and by the 1950’s owned four weaving mills!
The company began to suffer somewhat in the inevitable Post-War slump, and operations were reeled in. This was how it remained until the Partnership took over.
Forefront of European modernity
In the year of acquisition to the Partnership, Birtwistles had just finished a major re-equipment programme. The end result was that Birtwhistles was now one of the most modern textile factories in Europe. The business comprised of three divisions. The largest of these was the weaving division, which specialised in the production of grey cloth, and also provided a wide range of plain and fancy fabrics for industrial and furnishing applications. The yarn division concentrated on acrylic fibres used for the furnishing trade. The wholly owned subsidiary, Musbury Textiles, operated independently in the field of converting dress fabrics.