Wyedean Weaving: Our StorySusannah Walbank
Disaster also threatened in 2001 when a fire in the adjoining factory very nearly destroyed Wyedean. The fire brigade attended with 16 engines and managed to hold the fire back at the party wall, but Wyedean still suffered substantial water and smoke damage.
As if the threat of fire were not serious enough, next to test the company came MORE water. In 2004 Haworth was hit by an exceptional flood and Wyedean suffered considerably due to its position adjacent to Bridgehouse Beck. The flood caused extensive damage to the ground floor main offices and some of the computerised machinery in the rear weaving shed.
Manufacturing in the UK today is a much less viable proposition than it once was, and so the business has had to adapt accordingly. Whereas in the past Wyedean was primarily a manufacturer, these days, while some manufacturing is still done in-house, the business’s focus is much more on managing its suppliers and importing goods. This adaptation has also allowed the company to expand its product range and diversify considerably. In fact, Wyedean’s ability to be flexible and nimble on its feet is one of its greatest strengths.
Throughout Wyedean’s history and right up to the present day, its main customers have been the British Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. But Wyedean also supplies the Metropolitan Police Force and many other uniformed services around the world not least the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Armed Forces and the Oman Police. Wyedean even supplies the Canadian Mounties with rank and designation insignia. Without Wyedean’s products a uniform is just a plain suit.
Such is Wyedean’s reputation the world over, its products have also been supplied to a surprisingly wide range of customers such as Michael Jackson, General Idi Amin and Colonel Gaddafi (before the latter two became despots). The company has also supplied products for many popular movies such as: Saving Private Ryan, 007: Die Another Day, Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Master and Commander, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Last Samurai, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Company founder David Wright died in 2007, and at Wyedean his business philosophy still continues: “Wyedean is to appear in every parade.”