Historic Keighley loom helps celebrate textiles heritage

Amy Jenkinson, assistant curator of industrial history, Leeds City Council; Tom Bridges, chief economic development officer, Leeds City Council; Councillor Lucinda Yeadon; Susan Gaunt, textile designer; and Suzy Shepherd, Yorkshire Textiles

Amy Jenkinson, assistant curator of industrial history, Leeds City Council; Tom Bridges, chief economic development officer, Leeds City Council; Councillor Lucinda Yeadon; Susan Gaunt, textile designer; and Suzy Shepherd, Yorkshire Textiles

First published in Keighley

An historic Keighley-built loom is at the centre of a project to celebrate West Yorkshire’s textile heritage and teach skills to designers of the future.

The 1921 Hattersley Standard Loom will be the centrepiece of a micro manufacturing project, launched to create high-quality cloth using traditional machinery, along with skills and materials from the local area.

The loom is based at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, and will be used to weave cloth made from pure British wool yarn.

Production will enable textile students to gain hands-on experience of the weaving and design process, as well as learning the skills and creative processes needed to produce woollen and worsted woven textiles.

Suzy Shepherd, of Yorkshire Textiles, said: “This has been a fascinating project at every stage of the design and production.

“It’s particularly exciting to have the foundation set for potential growth and development of a project that uses so many traditional skills still part of the modern process.”

George Hattersley & Sons Ltd of Keighley – established in 1789 – made every type of loom, and a wide range of associated textile equipment, until 1981.

The firm created a major breakthrough for the textile industry in 1867 with the dobby, a device that allowed weaving of more intricate patterns on any looms to which it was fitted. Hattersley’s employed about 1,100 people at its peak before the First World War.

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