Love of textiles that runs in west Leeds firm’s blood

Caroline Allison is keeping the Leeds firm's prospects and profile higher than ever.
Caroline Allison is keeping the Leeds firm's prospects and profile higher than ever.
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When young go-getter Abimelech Hainsworth founded his textile mill in 1800, he was at the vanguard of a boom that brought untold riches to Yorkshire’s towns and cities.

Cheap imports brought that golden era to an end but Pudsey-based Hainsworth’s survived, thanks to entrepreneurial and creative genes that continue to drive the business forward.

The latest member of the family-run firm is textile designer Caroline Allison, the great-great-great-great-great grand-daughter of the mill’s founder.

She has just created a new collection for Scarlet and Argent, a spin-off interiors brand selling contemporary wool blankets and throws, now for sale on the company’s website www.scarletandargent.co.uk

Caroline, 29, said: “I think a love of textiles and the beauty of wool must be in my blood. As well as being a direct descendant of Abimelech Hainsworth, my great-grandmother, Anne Rhodes, was also a Hainsworth.

“On the other side of my family there are strong spinning and weaving links and I was brought up with a love of crafts: my mum taught me to cross stitch from an early age and I started weaving when I was a teenager. It seemed natural to make a career in the textile industry.”

She has spent the past year researching, designing, weaving and sewing the new Scarlet and Argent collection, which looks set to be snapped up by top stores and interiors boutiques.

Hainsworth and Sons is one of Britain’s oldest textile manufacturers and made the uniforms worn in the Charge of the Light Brigade. It continues to weave the scarlet cloth of the Royal Guards and the fabric for ceremonial uniforms of the Royal Family.

Caroline added: “Not so long ago the British textile industry was seen as a dying trade but I’m proud that there has been a huge resurgence.”