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 7th of April 2014 was a momentous day for Wyedean as it celebrated its Golden Jubilee. With 50 years of manufacturing in Haworth since 1964 this was a proud achievement for the Wright family and employees of Wyedean. Wyedean opened its doors to employees old and new, local dignitaries, friends and family. The day was spent looking back and reminiscing to see how the mill and its work has changed over time. In 1995, the company employed over 150 staff with what was a very labour-intensive industry, today 21 staff work at Wyedean with very different roles to previous years. Over the years, Wyedean’s product range has also evolved from solely manufacturing tapes, braids and laces, to manufacturing all kind of uniforms and accessories, such as badges, epaulettes, ship plaques and additional unique ceremonial items. Other events included tours of the mill, speeches and demonstrations, with a light lunch in between. Presentations took place to commemorate those who have achieved 25 years of service at Wyedean, making it a fantastic day all round. Robin Wright, now managing director, was awarded for 35 years’ service at Wyedean, starting from when he was just 18 years old. Speeches from the Golden Jubilee can be seen in this clip here.