Heritage weave moves forward with ‘forty mile fleece’

Caption: Young textile student Georgina Oakley helped design items from the cloth.

Production of a high quality ‘forty mile fleece’ eco cloth which was created using some of the finest skills and innovation in the Yorkshire woollen and clothing industry has now moved to the next stage at Armley Mills.

As part of the micro manufacturing project supported by Leeds City Council, which showcased the specialist talent of local experts, designers and artisans, the cloth from fleece to fabric travelled just 40 miles throughout the whole of its production in Yorkshire.

The cloth designed by Susan Gaunt and developed with specialist manufacturer of yarns Laxtons of Guiseley, uses regional expertise throughout the process including world renowned cloth finishers, WT Johnson of Huddersfield.

The project forms part of an initiative by Yorkshire Textiles in conjunction with the council that aims to promote the local textile sector, and has also been supported by Welcome to Yorkshire. The project, along with the restoration of a 1921 Hattersley ‘Standard’ Loom based at Armley Mills, recently featured on an edition of the BBC programme ‘Inside Out’.

The Armley weave cloth woven on the Hattersley loom also inspired young textile student Georgina Oakley while on work placement at Armley Mills as part of her Textiles GCSE course, to design unique limited edition mini owls which are now available in the Leeds Art Gallery shop. The skills of Caroline Durkin have also been used to create high quality Yorkshire cushions from the Armley weave cloth which are now on offer at the gallery shop alongside the owls.

Boasting a rich history in textiles, the industry employs 14,000 people within the Leeds City Region and is also home to over 60% of the UK’s textile fibre preparation and spinning and finishing.

For further information, please contact Suzy Shepherd at: suzy.shepherd@dsl.pipex.com

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"We were delighted to provide our support to the ‘forty mile fleece’ project, which tapped into the unique textiles manufacturing talent, tradition and contemporary innovation and excellence that exists in Leeds and Yorkshire to produce a high quality cloth made from British wool.

"This project sits aside work that was undertaken to restore our 1921 Hattersley ‘Standard’ Loom at Armley Mills, and it is fantastic that the Hattersley has also played its part in the production of a number of items from the cloth."

Suzy Shepherd, one of the founders of Leeds Fashion Works and Yorkshire Textiles said:

"Over the years the projects we have developed has showcased the regional talent and skills in the textile and fashion industry in the region. It is wonderful to see our micro manufacturing project at Armley Mills take the next step forward."

Notes to editors:

Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills:

Housed in what was once the world's largest woollen mill, Leeds Industrial Museum houses a wealth of gems located in a beautiful riverside setting. Step back in time to learn about the industrial history of Leeds from manufacturing textiles and clothing to printing, engineering and locomotives, which the city was world famous for.

There is no additional charge for visiting this exhibition. Normal admission charges apply.

Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills is open at the following times:

Monday: Closed except for bank holidays. Bank holiday Mondays 10:00 - 17:00. Last admission at 16:00

Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00. Last admission at 16:00

Sunday: 13:00 - 17:00. Last admission at 16:00

For further information visit our website www.leeds.gov.uk/armleymills

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk