‘Bring cotton back to Britain’: Dukinfield cotton mill reviving traditional industry

Cotton spinning is set to return to its Greater Manchester home with the opening of a high-tech mill in Dukinfield.

English Fine Cottons will create over 100 new jobs at the plant, which will be based in a refurbished Victorian cotton mill.

The company is investing £5.8million in the project, £2million of which is a loan from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

An additional £1million has been awarded as a grant by the N Brown Textile Growth Programme (TGP).

The facility, which is set to open in the middle of next year, will be the UK’s only cotton-spinning company and is a sign of the industry’s revival.

Andy Ogden, General Manager at English Fine Cottons’ parent company Culimeta-Saveguard, said local decision-making had played a key role in supporting the business.

He told MM: “Our local authority, Tameside Council, has certainly created an environment that’s helping us thrive.

“They have been hugely supportive over the last two years and their continued help and advice has contributed significantly to our success, as will the loan we have just been given by another local entity, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

“The separate grant from the Textile Growth Programme comes with a fantastic local resource – the programme’s textile advisors are based in Manchester.”

Manchester was one of the main centres of the cotton industry until the late 20th century, when it began to decline in the face of competition from overseas.

Between 1979 and 2013 the number of people employed in the sector fell from 851,000 to 85,000, creating huge social problems for many northern towns.

However, the industry has started to enjoy a renaissance in recent years, fuelled by demand for high-quality products in countries across the globe.

The Dukinfield mill will spin some of the most luxurious yarn in the world, using the finest raw materials from Barbados, India, the USA and Egypt.

Produced using cutting-edge technology, its yarn will be used in collections for the high-end fashion market.

Mr Ogden added: “Infrastructure, a good skills base and proximity to other textile businesses make the North West a great place for us, and we have been running our technical textiles business successfully in Dukinfield for 20 years.

“We have a great team and a lot of knowledge in the business, which is the perfect basis for doing something as ambitious as bringing cotton spinning back to Britain.”

Earlier this year, the Alliance report predicted up to 20,000 jobs would be created by the UK textile sector by 2020, generating £9billion for the UK economy.

The TGP aims to create or safeguard over 2,000 jobs in the industry’s northern heartlands as it capitalises on the sector’s significant growth potential.

Image courtesy of Kelly Short, via Flickr, with thanks

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