Heritage and textile enthusiasts in Huddersfield were last week treated to an exclusive tour of Dugdale Bros’ Victorian-era home, located on Northumberland Street in the heart of the town.
Organised as part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days festival of history and culture, the opening was one of the most highly sought-after events in the Kirklees area, with the limited places filling up in a matter of days.
Three tours were conducted on the Thursday afternoon by the company’s MD, Simon Glendenning, and around 40 guests were shown around the historic premises. The lucky visitors were given a rare insight into the inner workings of our world-renowned cloth merchants’ long-standing headquarters, learning about the role the town played in the development of fine cloth production during the Industrial Revolution along the way.
Beginning in the pattern room, guests were first given an overview of the origins of weaving – which can be traced back to 3000 BC in the UK – and the history of woollen and worsted manufacturing in the town, followed by a brief narration of the Dugdale story.
They were then taken up to the second storey and into one of the building’s three remaining, fully-functioning cutting rooms, where Simon revealed more about the tailoring process and why the Dugdale name has become so revered across the globe.
For both textile enthusiasts and those passionate about Huddersfield’s history, the event provided an eye-opening glimpse behind the scenes of the last remaining, independent cloth house in the centre of the town.
A resounding message from the tour was that although the longevity and esteemed reputation of Huddersfield’s illustrious textile heritage is appreciated by those within the industry, it is barely recognised within the wider region or the town itself. So, if there’s one thing that guests took away from the opening – and undoubtedly other Kirklees events too – it’s that rich history and world-renowned craftsmanship are right on our doorstep, we just need to step a little closer to see them.