A COLNE Valley textile firm has axed its entire workforce, it emerged today.
Family-run woollen yarn spinner John Edward Crowther said in March that the business was being put up for sale.
At the time, the Marsden firm warned that unless a buyer was found, the business would be wound down and its 244 workers would be made redundant - with the first job losses taking effect in June.
Now, the company has completed the summer redundancy programme and shed its entire workforce.
Speculation is now mounting about the future of the firm's sprawling industrial complex at Bank Bottom Mills.
Several redundant Holme Valley Mills - including ones at Holmfirth and New Mill - are getting a new lease of life by being converted to high-quality flats.
John Edward Crowther Ltd refused to comment on its plans for the mill site today, but said it would make a statement later.
Bosses at the firm had been holding a series of talks with the recognised union, the Transport and General Workers' Union, as part of the formal 90-day closure notice.
A spokesman for the union said the company had been trying to sell the business in tandem with the run-down.
But he said the economic climate for textiles and UK manufacturing in general had made finding a buyer difficult.
The job losses are a major blow to Marsden, where the company has been a major employer for more than a century.
The current company was founded by John Edward Crowther in 1902, but traces its roots to 1840 when John Crowther, of Golcar, set up a carding and spinning business in Linthwaite.
The redundancies come during a dismal summer for the Holme Valley textile industry.
In June, Moorhouse and Brook axed about 70 jobs at its New Mill premises with the transfer of cloth manufacturing to Scotland.
And Copley Marshall, also of New Mill, said 18 jobs would go with the decision to end commission dyeing at its Wildspur Mill site.