David Wright Founder of WyedeanSusannah Walbank
Wyedean was formally founded on 7th April, 1964, by David Wright. Before starting his own business, David’s first job after leaving school was as an apprentice textile designer at Bridgehouse mill. Little did he know that 34 years later he would purchase the very same building. At the age of 18 and at the outbreak of the Second World War, David volunteered for the Royal Navy, specifically The Fleet Air Arm. After pilot training in Canada he qualified as a commissioned Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve fighter pilot and served with the now- Legendary Catapult Aircraft Merchant ships NAS (Naval Air Station). 804 Sailing from Belfast in 1941. This squadron provided Air reconnaissance from mid Atlantic to the Western approaches, in trying to protect the British desperately needed convoys from submarine attacks, which were being alerted by the long range German Focke Wulf Condors and causing terrible shipping losses. The Hurricane fighters would have been rocketed fromthe converted Merchant ships to engage in combat with the Condors. The successful or wounded aircraft would ditch in the sea, mostly too far from land. The Hurricane pilot had three minutes to get out before the plane sank, and he would hope to be rescued and not always, before hypothermia killed him. David survived many rocket launches, later becoming C.O. of NAS 702 for a time. During his later pilot career, in 1942-1943 he served in the Aircraft Carrier Formidable in 893 during the Mediterranean invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Wyedean was established in 1964 as a manufacturer of braid and uniform accoutrement. Previously the business was known as Dalton Barton. David joined Dalton Barton in 1959 and was taken on to introduce new blood to the company, to take a hard look at the firm and to move the business away from Coventry as it was proving increasingly difficult to compete for labour with the booming motor industry. New premises were found at Coleford between the River Wye and the Forest of Dean – which eventually inspired a new name: Wyedean Weaving.
In 1964, David bought from Dalton Barton the military side of the business manufacturing narrow fabrics and military ceremonial products. This decision started the process of turning Wyedean Weaving into the business it is today. He set out purchasing the appropriate machinery and moving the business to Haworth.
From the early days of the business, David’s father, Frank Wright M.B.E. served as company director until his death in 1975. Frank was a textile machine designer who worked at Keighley’s Prince, Smith and Stell for over 40 years. He was awarded the M.B.E. in recognition of his inventing an entirely new yarn spinning technique called centrifugal spinning.
Norma, David’s wife, has also been involved in the business for the last 50 years, serving first as Company Secretary and currently as Chairman. In fact, since 1964 there have been four generations of the Wright family working in the mill with three still actively involved.
In his younger days, David enjoyed stunt motor cycling and for charity he rode through flaming hoops and fire towers of boxes at Haworth Gala. He was also the Bradford and District Motor Cycle Club Trials organiser for many years. David died at the age of 85. But not before leaving behind something to remember him by. He and a fellow pilot produced the original verses of the Fleet Air Arm “A25” song, written aboard HMS Formidable. The song has been sung in ward rooms of every carrier and naval air station all over the world. David was also an accomplished stone carver and enjoyed doing lettering for house names and inscriptions.
Robin Wright, Davids son, contiunes to manage The Wyedean Weaving Company and Susannah and Rosie are the 4th generation to have recently enteres the business.
David Angus Wright passed away in 2007 but his precept lives on:
‘Wyedean is to appear in every parade’