On Tuesday 26th September AW Hainsworth were honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales on a visit to the mill. A keen advocate for UK textiles. The Princess was given an introductory tour of the famous manufacturing processes that create Hainsworth’s famous cloth, including our luxury John Atkinson blankets.
Now in our 240th year, AW Hainsworth are renowned for creating fabric with Royal connections. In addition to manufacturing the iconic scarlet cloth worn by the Guards at Buckingham Palace, Hainsworth also holds a Royal Warrant awarded by the late Queen Elizabeth II for supplying interior fabrics to Windsor family palaces.
Her Royal Highness was welcomed to the mill by Managing Director Amanda McLaren, Technical Director Zena Al-Mausawe, and seventh-generation family member Rachel Taylor, alongside members of the city council, the Lord Lieutenant of Leeds, and assorted members of the national press.
The tour began in the Carding department of the mill, and carried on to Weaving, Wet Finishing, the Laboratory, and the Dye House to see scarlet dye being applied to the Royal Guards’ uniform cloth.
The Princess also paid a visit to our Conversion department, where woollen fabric is cut, trimmed and sewn to become our John Atkinson blankets. The Princess was shown how the blankets are cut down and have trimmings added to become finished products. She was also shown the iconic point blankets made by Hainsworth for the Hudson Bay Company in Canada. It was a product familiar to the Princess – she claimed that she had been given one as a gift on a ceremonial visit.
During her visit, the Princess took a keen interest in how the mill is developing more sustainable manufacturing methods, and is training younger generations to help ensure the longevity of the textile industry. In addition to taking steps to reduce our energy consumption and waste, Hainsworth is also investing heavily in new talent. Working closely with local communities, we have funded several apprenticeships and have funded student projects to support young people in pursuing careers in textile manufacturing.
Amanda McLaren said, “Her Royal Highness had been well-briefed ahead of her visit to our iconic mill, and as such she was eager to better understand our business and manufacturing processes. Like many visitors to the mill I don’t think she truly appreciated the sheer range of technical and woollen fabrics we product until seeing them for herself, and she was highly impressed by the intricacies of our operations.
“All in all, it was a highly successful visit and one which our employees will recall for many years to come.”