A global deal will see an historic textile mill in Huddersfield become a new star of the Orient.
Workers at Taylor & Lodge are world-renowned for their quality craftsmanship and their cutting-edge work has now been snapped up by one of the world’s top textile groups.
The company at Folly Hall has teamed up with China’s biggest name in fashion textiles.
Owners Bulmer & Lumb Group Ltd has agreed a deal for its Taylor & Lodge manufacturing unit at Albert Street, with the giant Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co Ltd, based in China’s Shandong province.
One of the key “assets” they have acquired is the expertise of the Huddersfield millworkers.
Bahman Mostaghimi, managing director of Shandong Ruyi UK Ltd, said: “This joint venture will bring the world-class textile technology, marketing and financial power of Shandong Ruyi together with the manufacturing and design skills of Taylor & Lodge.
“Shandong Ruyi will help Taylor & Lodge to improve the international markets through upgrading its equipment and expanding its marketing.”
He said: “We want to expand the business and we want, if necessary, to renew the machinery. We want to invest and create employment. Every single member of staff is important to us.”
Mr Mostaghimi, who had his textile training in Yorkshire, said: “China is known for its cheap products. From the start, we wanted to be one Chinese company where the customer is happy about the quality and service, but complains about the price!
“England has the tradition and heritage when it comes to worsted cloth and we respect that highly. We have learned a lot from it and we want to return the favour.
“China is discovering what Britain can offer and we have decided to invest in Britain and we were racing to be the first. Where we go, others will follow.”
Taylor & Lodge manager Edward Waterhouse said British manufacturing had to recognise that China was one of the key markets, adding: “We believe this joint venture is the way to break into the market.”
A new company has been formed under the name of Taylor & Lodge (Huddersfield) Ltd, which will be 80% owned by Shandong Ruyi and 20% by Bulmer & Lumb Group. Taylor & Lodge employs 65 people at its Rashcliffe Mills site.
Shandong Ruyi supplies high-end suits to customers including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis and indirectly to other retailers such as Moss Bros. Taylor and Lodge has built its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest, luxury British worsted cloths.
It has established a fine reputation for quality since it was founded in Huddersfield in 1883.
In 1966 it was the first textile company in the world to get the Queen’s Award to Industry. Among many prestigious assignments, it has woven fine quality worsted for the Duke of Edinburgh and Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, it supplied two lengths of luxurious worsted for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
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