Dalton Barton & Co was a textile manufacturing company founded near Coventry on the 16th of January 1852. The name Dalton and Barton corresponded with that of its two founding weavers: Robert Arnold Dalton and George Samuel Barton. Robert Dalton was born in 1825, the son of a plumber and glazier, but at the age of 14 he started a 7-year apprenticeship with William and John Sargent, who were ribbon makers in Coventry. In 1847 he became a ribbon manufacturer. Later in life he was elected an alderman and mayor of the city. Little is known of George Barton, only that he was a year younger than Robert Dalton. It wasn’t until 29th May 1872 that the company became a limited company. Dalton Barton & Co Ltd had an incorporated number of 6313, meaning that there were only 6312 incorporated companies before it so it was one of the first few. The company flourished and extended its range from ribbon making to narrow fabrics, braids, upholstery trimmings, uniform regalia and lanyards. The Company had a huge boost when it received the contract to produce Australian moquette tape used in railway carriages. Both the Coventry factory and its London marketing company continued to prosper and they became one of the largest haberdashery wholesalers in the world. In 1940 during WWII disaster struck when an air raid destroyed the whole Coventry factory. By this time the factory had focused all of its efforts on military narrow fabrics such a chevron lace, medal ribbon and parachute harnesses etc. This meant it was able to obtain Government funding to build a new factory on Mason Road, Coventry. As the war progressed, sourcing the pure silk for the weaving of medal ribbons became increasingly difficult. Nylon was suggested as an alternative - at the time it was a newly-developed material. King George VI refused stating that his award medals were for superior acts of gallantry which would be manufactured from only the finest materials. David Wright, father of Robin Wright, the present owner, joined the company in 1959. He had no experience of narrow fabrics but was skilled in textile manufacturing management and design. He joined the company and moved the factory near the river Wye in Gloucester, which is close to the Forest of Dean. David then renamed the company Wyedean Weaving. In 1964 a severance was proposed by Dalton Barton and its subsidiary Wyedean Weaving. David Wright struck a deal to transfer all of the haberdashery production looms, in exchange for him being allowed to purchase the military production machinery. Wyedean Weaving was relocated to Haworth, West Yorkshire where David grew up and focused its energies on uniform accoutrement such as sergeant sashes, chevrons, RAF rank braid and naval collar tape which was mainly sold to customers such as the Ministry of Defence. To view our range of narrow fabrics click here.
The Wyedean Weaving Company established itself in Haworth in 1964 as a manufacturer of narrow fabrics, braid and uniform accoutrement. The business originated in Coventry around 1850 and was previously known as Dalton, Barton and Co Ltd. During WWII, the main factory in Coventry was completely destroyed during the Blitz in 1941. The company’s East End London warehouse and store in Jewin Street London were also later destroyed. For this reason the company possesses no artefacts or records dating from before the Blitz, nor evidence of this difficult time in the Company’s history…that is until recently when the letter shown below came to light from one of Dalton Barton’s war-time customers. Gary Smith is the current owner of fourth-generation upholsterers JE Smith and Son, and he tracked Wyedean down when he found the letter from Dalton, Barton hidden away in the company’s workshop. Gary’s grandfather purchased webbing from Dalton, Barton during the war and his company manufactured sewing bags for gas masks. JE Smith and Son is approaching its 100th year in business and these days focuses on high quality upholstery work. The company recently helped manufacture a bespoke chair called the Windsor Castle chair designed by Shaun Brownell from RhubarbLondon. The chair imitates the scarlet woollen ceremonial uniform of the Irish Guards and is replete with detailed buttons, buckles and accoutrement, which coincidently Wyedean manufactures and supplies to all the Guard’s regiments. To view Wyedean’s range of ceremonial regalia and accoutrement items click here.
The Military Medal (MM), created by King George V in March 1916, was a way to acknowledge the acts of bravery in war which were not considered worthy enough to receive a Distinguished Conduct Medal. Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men on the recommendation of a Commander in Chief in the field were awarded this medal. During WWI, 108 members of the Royal Newfound Regiment received the Military Medal. A silver bar was also given out to eight of these recipients which signified subsequent acts of bravery. The Military Medal is shown below feturing a picture of the sovereign. In the First World War this medal depicted a bare-headed King George V in a Field Marshall’s uniform. The reverse of the medal reads “For Bravery in the Field”, circled by a laurel wreath with the Royal Cypher and Imperial Crown on top. The medal is displayed on a dark blue ribbon with red and white stripes. It is this medal ribbon which was made by Wyedean, formally known as Dalton Barton. Notes for this order are shown in the bottom right image. Quotations and sample production took place in 1916. The top middle image with the ribbon design features King George V initials – G.R.I which stands for “George Rex Imperator”. Ribbon delivery to the War Office, now known as the Ministry of Defence (MoD), would commence 10 to 14 days after 2nd March 1916. The Dalton Barton factory was bombed during the WWII Coventry blitz on the 15th November 1940. The factory was destroyed along with all its archives, hence we have no records whatsoever dating prior to the air raid – except these. It is noted in the letters from Buckingham Palace that the medals, produced by The Royal Mint, would take much longer to make. The King instructs that recipients of the award should receive the ribbon ahead of the medal – most likely because he knew that many were badly wounded and were unlikely to survive long enough to receive the medal itself. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon” – Napoleon Bonaparte, July 1815.
Wyedean was previously known as Dalton Barton, the names of two Coventry ribbon weavers: Robert Dalton and George Barton, who formed a partnership in 1851. This partnership later diversified into the manufacture of coach lace and upholstery trimmings and the company then won orders to supply the newly-formed Australian railways with tape to join moquette seat covering, which proved to be a great boost to the firm. David Wright joined the company in 1959 and was given the responsibility of further developing the business and increasing its product scope. His first major decision was a location change, moving the company away from Coventry where there was extremely high competition for labour. Newly situated in Coleford, Somerset, it was here where Dalton Barton was also rebranded as Wyedean Weaving. But many people ask - why Wyedean? Well, the new location at Coleford was situated between the River Wye and the Forest of Dean, thus inspiring - Wyedean Weaving. Of course the "Weaving" part of the company's name is self-explanatory. Fast forward a few years to 1964, and David, by then a director of the company, struck a deal with the owners and purchased part of the company. He again relocated the company to its current premises at Bridgehouse Mill, Haworth. The photo to the left shows the very first clocking in card, dated the week ending 25th of December 1964.