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BEHIND THE SCENES COTTON COMES HOME Simon Cronin visits the company bringing cotton-spinning back to the UK. THERE IS a mini-industrial revolution taking place in a quiet corner of Tameside, as English Fine Cottons brings cotton-spinning back to its spiritual home in Greater Manchester. Decades after the last cotton mill in the UK closed, the company has re-opened the historic Grade II listed Tower Mill in Dukinfield to manufacture high quality cotton yarns. The new business was launched by Chamber member Culimeta-Saveguard, which manufactures technical fibre yarns, for use in protective clothing and the automotive industry, in the nearby Tame Valley Mill. Culimeta-Saveguard decided to revive cotton-spinning because of the global demand for luxury British-made goods and a desire to reverse the decline in the UK’s textile industry. The General Manager of English Fine Cottons, Andy Ogden, explains: “There is a demand for quality, which we are responding to. If you look at the likes 12 of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, they aren’t struggling, they’re thriving, because there is that demand for high quality British-made products. “Germany and Italy have managed to retain their high quality textile manufacturers. If they can do it there, why can’t we do it here? Our main cost is labour, but the modern machines we’re using don’t require large numbers of people to operate them, so it’s perfectly possible for us to compete at the quality end of the market with manufacturers from Europe and the Far East. “You can also look at the example of the suit. It’s still possible to buy a British-made suit: wool from a British sheep can be woven into cloth in Yorkshire and then made into a suit by a tailor in Savile Row. We aim to replicate that supply chain with our cotton, so that, for example, a British shirt-maker can use our cotton to create a high-quality, British-made garment.” In the 1880s, Manchester supplied a staggering 80% of the world’s cotton. The city became so synonymous with cotton, that it was known as ‘Cottonopolis’. Greater Manchester remained a centre for textile production well into the 20th Century, but the industry declined due Tower Mill Spinning frame set-up


53º Degrees
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