A STRANGE hunt is under way in Calderdale.
Organisers of the 2013 Halifax Festival are trying to trace hundreds of former employees of Crossleys Carpets.
They want to add more detail to an art exhibition which is being resurrected for the festival.
At its height, the Crossleys carpet factory at Dean Clough Mills was the largest in the world, employing 4,000 people.
But by the time the factory shut down in 1988 there were only about 100 workers.
Six years after the shutdown, in 1994, the renowned artist Christian Boltanksi exhibited at the Henry Moore Studio which had been opened in part of the at Dean Clough mills complex.
He created an exhibition called The Lost Workers.
The exhibition – which is located in a basement room under E-Mill – comprises over 100 cardboard boxes, each of which bears the name of someone who used to work in the mills when it was the world’s largest carpet factory.
Festival spokesman Victor Allen said: “In each box is at least one item that either belongs to or represents the worker.
“This might be a photograph, a newspaper clipping or – ideally – a personal object such as a spectacle case or a face mask used by them when they worked for Crossleys Carpets.
“As part of the 2013 Halifax Festival we are keen to find more people who would like to add to the collection.
“There is nothing intrusive about the process and no need for biographical details.
“The exhibit simply aims to show how a mundane object has the power to provoke questions about the way we are remembered after we die – and about the meaning of what we do while we are alive”.
There are public viewings of The Lost Workers on July 6 and 14, from 10am to 3pm.
Former workers can contact curator Cath Graham via the Dean Clough switchboard (01422 250250); via email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax HX3 5AX.
Crossleys first began weaving in Halifax in 1621
The firm was at a peak in the 19th and 20th centuries when it was regarded as the biggest carpet factory in the world
At its peak, Crossleys employed 4,000 workers
It was run for many years by John Crossley, succeeded by his sons John, Joseph and Francis
Crossleys’ carpets have been laid in the Old Bailey, Covent Garden Opera House and Buckingham Palace
The firm shut down in 1988