The Princess of Wales visits textile manufacturers
Published September 2023
The Princess of Wales visited textile manufacturers in Leeds and Lancaster, to learn more about the heritage and history of the industry, the technical processes involved and how vital the sector is to the UK economy. She heard how the industry is modernising and taking on sustainable approaches to production as well as how it is working to educate and upskill young people.
Her Royal Highness has long been passionate about the importance of the textiles industry. The Princess’ paternal ancestors were the owners of the woollen manufacturer and merchant, William Lupton & Co, which was based in Leeds.
AW Hainsworth, Leeds
The Princess started her day in Leeds, where she visited AW Hainsworth, a family-owned heritage textile mill which was established in 1783 and manufactures British woollen cloth, high-performing technical textiles, and iconic fabrics. In 1958, The Princess’ great-great grandfather sold William Lupton & Co to AW Hainsworth. Her Royal Highness was pleased to learn more about the mills’ historic connection to her ancestors during her time there.
Today, AW Hainsworth is a fully integrated, vertical textile mill which supplies fabrics to a wide range of industries – from fashion to the Armed Forces. It is proud to hold a Royal Warrant and its fabrics were on display during the Coronations of both Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1953 and His Majesty The King earlier this year.
During her time at AW Hainsworth, Her Royal Highness received a tour of the mill, learning about the traditional processes deployed as the fabric is refined. She then visited the new state-of-the-art on-site laboratory which the company is using for cutting-edge innovation and product development, and heard about the importance of innovation in the textiles industry as it looks to the future.
Standfast & Barracks, Lancaster
The Princess next visited Standfast & Barracks, a Lancaster printworks dating back to 1924. The company is renowned for its impressive heritage in textile and places design, creativity and innovation at the heart of its product development. Standfast & Barracks has expertise in both conventional printing techniques including rotary and flatbed printing and ground-breaking digital inkjet technology.
While at Standfast & Barracks, Her Royal Highness learnt about the history of the company and was shown artefacts from the company’s archive. She then met with the owners of House of Hackney, who have partnered with Standfast & Barracks since they established their company in 2011. House of Hackney is an interiors brand that champions print, colour and British craftsmanship; aiming to rework tradition for a new generation by inspiring people to bring the beauty of nature into their home. The Princess will hear about how Standfast & Barracks and House of Hackney’s creative and production process.
Her Royal Highness was then given a tour of the printworks, taking in both the traditional and modern processes. The development of digital printing has provided a more sustainable approach to fabric printing, with each metre of fabric produce estimated to use approximately 80 litres less water than traditional processes. During the tour, The Princess met with young trainees who Standfast & Barracks are training as part of their commitment to education and skills development.