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Happy days at Bagcraft
This rather blurry snapshot against a painted backdrop represents a rare pictorial link with Bagcraft Ltd, formerly the London branch of a German firm of leather goods manufacturers which relocated to Keighley at the start of the Second World War, moving into Airedale Mills and producing Army webbing.
The photograph has been supplied by Mrs Agnes Taylor, of Valley View Close, Cross Hills, who appears as Agnes Throupe and who says she “spent a very happy time at Bagcraft as a machinist”. It was taken on what she thinks was the firm’s first trip to Blackpool in 1940 or 1941.
She can name several of the girls, but only by their Christian names – Marian, Enid, Florence, Betty and Rose – but the man at the back was Peter Black, born in Berlin and manager of Bagcraft Ltd, who was to start his own Keighley firm of footwear and travel goods manufacturers in 1947.
He was awarded the OBE “for services to industry” in 1973. At the time of his death four years later, Peter Black (Keighley) Ltd was one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
During the war, Bagcraft helped equip the French Resistance and made the webbing for the first 50,000 American troops in Britain.