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Warping Machines in the Granholm Tweed Mills

Grandholm Mills

Hartley Group has its origins in the British textile industry, beginning with a small woollen mill which enters recorded history in 1532. By the twentieth century, this and many other mills – out of which Hartley ultimately emerged – had grown into the Yorkshire textile giant Illingworth Morris. In the 1980s, the group was one of the world’s biggest wool textiles manufacturers, and handled almost half the wool imported into the United Kingdom. The Illingworth Morris group included up-market knitwear maker Hawico, worsted spinning operations Daniel Illingworth, suiting makers Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, chemical business Westbrook Lanolin, Woolcombers, Winterbotham Strachan & Playne (the world’s leading supplier of cloth for tennis balls and billiards tables), and of course most famously Crombie.

By 1982, the UK textile industry was struggling, and Illingworth Morris had accumulated large debts. However, under the chairmanship of Manchester-born Alan Lewis, Illingworth Morris was turned around, and became profitable again. The group’s debts were repaid and it became a net lender to the money market – heralding the formation of Hartley’s investment banking division, Hartley Investment Trust, in 1983. The group’s textile operations were gradually divested, and ‘Hartley Group’ refocused its activities on the following sectors: property and natural resources.

Today, through our subsidiary Hartley Property Group, we provide quality commercial, industrial and residential properties not just throughout the UK, but also in Spain and Russia. Hartley’s natural resource activities range from natural gas in Louisiana, to timber harvesting in north-west Russia. The group continues to be a net lender, and actively invests in property deals and environmental technologies.

Hartley remains proud of its textile roots. In West Yorkshire, several of our quality business parks are in fact former Illingworth Morris textile mills – including Globe Worsted, in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, which is being transformed in cooperation with the local authorities into an environmental business centre. The group also retains ownership of the historic luxury clothing brand Crombie, whose coats are as iconic today as they were in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Hartley Investment Trust & Group has no external debt, and remains under the chairmanship of Alan J Lewis CBE.


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