Northern Britain has an incredible wealth of industrial history. The North East had ship building and coal mining. North Wales had slate, and the North West had cotton. Our studio is based in Manchester, the former heart of the cotton trade for not just the UK but at its peak between 1850-1910 the world.
Manchester and the surrounding areas proved to be ideal for the process of turning raw cotton into yarn. There was a constant source of power due to the rivers flowing from the local Pennine hills while the damp air (still very much present in the area, we can personally testify too!) helped ensure the yarn was less likely to snap during the production process.
In 1853 there was an incredible 108 cotton mills in Manchester alone. Production peaked in 1912 when an estimated eight billion yards of cloth were produced in a year.
The outbreak of the First World War brought an abrupt end to production in the region, as was the case with so many other thriving industries in the UK and Europe. Demand for cotton slumped and mill owners either cut down production or went out of business completely. While there was a brief revival in the 1950s, this was short lived and by the 1960s Britain was a net importer of cotton cloth.
By the 1980s the cottons industry had all but disappeared in Manchester, leaving behind it's legacy in the form of some of the most magnificent, opulent mills and warehouses in the world. In the past 10-20 years many of these have been rejuvenated and converted for use as apartments and office blocks. While its great to see these dominating old mills with their chimneys being used again it would be great to see a return of the industry to the region.
As a business we are committed to working with British mills and factories when ever possible, utilising their wealth of experience and heritage.
The D&H range of British made socks will be going live in September via crowd funding. To receive notification of when the project is live and gain access to the best deals you can sign up to our mailing list (click here)