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AW Hainsworth – Legendary Woollen Mill

The firm has its roots in the traditional economy of pre-industrial West Yorkshire with the forebears of the mill-owning dynasty earning a living as makers and merchants of cloth. As sources of power, production methods, modes of transport and markets evolved, the firm invested in machinery, buildings and staff. For more than 200 years, shares in the firm have been spread amongst a few members of the family, with managing partners bringing different skills to the business. Resilience was boosted from the 1970s by adding specialist products, often through acquiring small businesses that were struggling to maintain viability. AW Hainsworth has survived despite adversities of mill fires and a flood, premature death of members of the family in positions of responsibility and market fluctuations. Exports have always been important and sixty per cent of their varied output now goes abroad. The aspiration is for the firm to continue as a family business, providing unique products for world markets and employment for local people.