Celebrations as historic mill marks 250 years in business

Workers at Joshua Ellis pose for a photograph to mark the firms 250th anniversary.
Workers at Joshua Ellis pose for a photograph to mark the firms 250th anniversary.

A Batley-based woollen mill that supplies luxury designer fabrics to fashion houses is celebrating 250 years of cashmere and woollen cloth production.

Joshua Ellis, which is owned by SIL Holdings, was established in 1767 originally as a clothiers before diversifying into woollen textile manufacturing in the late 18th Century.

MEMORY: A presentation for chairman David Huxley in 1964.

MEMORY: A presentation for chairman David Huxley in 1964.

Two-and-a-half centuries later the business now supplies some of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses, with its fabrics adorning top models on the catwalks of London, New York, Paris and Milan.

Originally based in the historic building of Batley Carr Mills, the Ellis family was instrumental in founding the business but it wasn’t until the late 1830s that the name Joshua Ellis was adopted.

The company remained in the family until the early 1930s, when Peter Ellis died and John Huxley became the managing director.

His son, David Huxley, succeeded him as chairman, before the company was sold to the SIL Holdings Group in 2008 when David retired.

In 2003 the factory was moved to its current location on Grange Valley Road, where all weaving and finishing continues in a modern production facility with a dedicated workforce of 55 staff, with all other processes commissioned locally including fibre blending at Group headquarters, SIL Holdings, based in Bradford.

The company’s design director Kristie Reeves said: “We are really excited to be celebrating such a significant milestone this year.

“It’s incredible to think that Joshua Ellis has now been manufacturing the most sought after cashmere fabrics, scarves and accessories in the world for more than two centuries.

“Joshua Ellis has a fascinating history and we are now looking forward to watching the business continue to evolve and develop in the future embracing ‘exclusivity’ becoming the new luxury.”