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 [...]
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.