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In 1979 Springfield Mills was acquired by the Charlton family to display, store and distribute American furniture made by Broyhill Furniture Inc., one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the US.
This furniture was supplied to Harrods, Debenhams, Selfridges, John Lewis Partnership and other stores nationwide.
After trading successfully for several years, the business suffered greatly by the strength of the dollar and it was decided to create and rent off separate units for retail and business use.
To help their tenants they offered short term contracts which, at that time, was almost unheard of.
When the mill was bought from Qualitex it was closing down with around 105 people having to loose their jobs.
Now it gives the Charlton family great pleasure that 100 or so people from the surrounding area are employed at the Mill full or part time!
The Mills history is a little sketchy as to when it was first opened but records indicate that Brownhills & Scatchard moved to Springfield Mills in 1900 from nearby Inkerman Mills where they had been from 1868.
These owners occupied the mill for many years specialising in the making of fine silks and chiffon for gowns and wedding dresses. In fact the company produced a bolt of silk for the Queen Mother’s wedding dress for her marriage to the future George VI in 1923.
During the war years the company also produced parachutes.
Brownhills was taken over in 1961 by Qualitex Silks of Colne, Lancashire and this company ended manufacturing at the mill in 1979 where it was let dormant until it was purchased by the Charltons.
Opposite is an illustration of a J. Brownhill & Co. Ltd bill head, dated March 31st 1904.
You can also see from this that the company had offices in Bradford and Glasgow, and established in 1858.
Owner and Business Manager.
Some of the “older” staff of the Mill!