Founded in 1783 Royal Warrant holders A.W. Hainsworth & Sons Ltd. manufacture a wide range of wool and textile products for both home and international markets. Best known for manufacturing the scarlet cloth from which the Queen’s guards uniform is made, Hainsworth manufacturers – protective fabric for fire services and military personnel; snooker and pool cloth; woollen coffins; car headlining cloth for the likes of Jaguar, Austin and Bentley; blankets; Newmarket horse blankets; interior fabrics; curtain fabric; military uniform cloth; ceremonial uniform dress cloth; tribal blankets; textiles for the theatre and cinema industries; specialised industrial cloth such as biscuit cloth, a woollen baize used for conveying biscuits; academic scarf cloth; blazer fabric; fabric for clothes making; fabric for making into re-enactment clothing; uniform caps; hats and badges; hot air balloon fabric; table coverings; floor coverings, hotel blankets; laundry textile products; piano baize for companies like Steinway and Renner; gaming and card table cloth; cabinet linings; etc. As far I can tell all their fabrics are made at their mill in West Yorkshire. Trade but they also have a retail site selling finished products. Hainsworth also manufactures the historic Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket, which has iconic status in Canada. I am not sure how much Hainsworth use British wool.
Hainsworth is one of the few companies still making blankets in the UK.
Hainsworth also make Newmarket Horse Blankets in England.
Hainsworth’s retail site is Scarlet and Argent – http://www.scarletandargent.co.uk
Each Scarlet and Argent piece is created exclusively and entirely in their specialist Yorkshire mill. Woollen blankets, throws and accessories (cushions, teddy bears and hot water bottle covers) made in England.
What’s the link between one of the oldest textile mills in the UK and the Royal baby? – See more at: http://makeitbritish.co.uk/gifts/what-is-the-connection-between-one-of-the-oldest-textile-mills-in-the-uk-and-the-soon-to-arrive-royal-baby/#sthash.TvXYBwfy.dpuf
John Lewis blankets
Some John Lewis blankets are made in Britain. John Lewis is one of the few retailers still selling British made blankets. John Lewis UK made blankets are excellent quality and reasonably priced.
DreamGB sell a lovely British made recycled wool rug, and I have seen similar rugs / picnic blankets in department stores such as Daniel in Windsor and Boswells in Oxford. Possibly these rugs are made by a company called Tweedmill, who do have some UK manufacturing, but I am not sure. I have also seen Tweedmill rugs on eBay.
The Tate Gallery Shop sell a range of blankets and cushions designed by artist Jacqueline Poncelet and woven in Wales at the Melin Tregwynt Mill. As well as blankets, Melin Tregwynt Mill make throws, cushions and upholstery fabrics in Wales. They also sell slippers, dressing gowns, socks, hats and scarves, jackets, coats and skirts, bags and lampshades, which might be made in Wales (but do check before buying).
FelinFach design and make handmade cushions, throws, bedding and other soft furnishings in Wales. They also design Welsh blankets which are traditionally woven for them in local mills – http://www.felinfach.com
For over 300 years the small Oxfordshire town of Witney was famous for its blankets, which were exported all over the World. Sadly, the last blanket mill in Witney has now closed. Witney Blankets were not made by a single company or business but by lots of separate individuals and firms over the years. They came in very many different sizes, patterns, qualities, colours, materials and different methods were used to make them.
The nemesis of Witney Blankets was probably the introduction of widespread central heating, the rise in popularity of the duvet and cheap imports. Blankets are still made in the UK (for example by Hainsworth) but Early’s, the last blanket making company in Witney, closed down in 2002 (Witney Mill).
According to the Witney Blanket Story after the Early’s closed in Witney, the weaving machinery and the Early name was acquired by Quiltex, an American company, and transferred to their Derbyshire factory. BBC news states that Quiltex had already taken over Early’s of Witney by the time the Witney factory closed. After 2002 when Quiltex bought Earlys of Witney the blankets were produced at their factory in Derbyshire, and the company traded as Quiltex Earlys. The Quiltex website selling baby blankets and so on no longer works and it transpires that the sorry tale of Early’s solvency gets worse though as in 2012 Quiltex Earlys went into administration also and it seems a buyer for the company has not been found.
You can find out more about the history of Witney Blankets on this website:
You can still find new (old stock) Earlys of Witney blankets on eBay for example, where you will also find used Witney blankets.
As of 3rd October 2013 Friday Fox have new (old stock) Earlys of Witney blankets for sale, including one 1960 s “Blanket in a Day” left, a number of Earlys Points blankets from 2001/2, and then a number of blankets from the Quiltex range such as the Henley Merino blanket.
Friday Fox also sell Hainsworths John Atkinson (Scarlet and Argent) cellular blankets and Scarlet and Argent scarves and throws.
Friday Fox also sell horse blankets (on their other site at http://www.fridayfox.co.uk). Currently these are Witney horse blankets from Quiltex stock (please note the wool used in these is not British wool), but when stocks run out these will be replaced by blankets made by another supplier (Hainsworth?) Friday Fox tell me. Friday Fox also make other products out of this blanket (as well as some using other fabrics), including dog coats, human clothing, picnic blankets, and bags, and they sell scarves, throws and cellular blankets by Scarlet and Argent and the remaining stocks of Witney Point Blankets on this site, plus English made horn and antler products, an English made hunting stock, English made knitted hunting gloves and English made pocket knives. Some of their products are foreign made. It will say next to a product if it is made in Britain and if it does not then it is foreign made.