Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,950 pages of information and 233,606 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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August 1918.
July 1919.
November 1920.
March 1922.
December 1927.
April 1928.
April 1933.
April 1933.
June 1933.
December 1946.
January 1947.

1893 Viyella was a blend of wool and cotton first woven in 1893. It was made of 55 per cent merino wool and 45 per cent cotton in a twill weave, developed by James and Robert Sissons of William Hollins and Company, spinners and hosiers. It was the "first branded fabric in the world".

1894 The brand name was first registered as a trademark. It soon covered not only the original fabric, to be sold by the yard (piece goods), but also clothing.

1961 After a merger, Hollins became Viyella International, led by Joe Hyman, who in the next few years acquired a series of related companies, with Viyella growing to be one of the biggest textile businesses in the UK, owning 40 factories across the country.

1964 Viyella International acquired Bradford Dyers Association[1] ICI provided a loan and took a 20 percent interest in the company as part of a strategy to link the production and use of fibres[2]

1967 Viyella repurchased the shares held by ICI and repaid the loan; special arrangements for purchasing dyestuffs and sourcing fibres were discontinued.

1968 Acquired 2 factories from Cyril Lord

1969 ICI reversed its policy of non-involvement in textiles and announced a bid for Viyella and plan to merge it with Carrington and Dewhurst[3]

1970 ICI acquired Viyella and, later in the year, Carrington and Dewhurst, forming Carrington Viyella of which ICI owned c.80 percent[4].

After a few years as Carrington Viyella and then Vantona Viyella, in 1986 the company owning the Viyella brand became Coats Viyella.

1986 Became part of Coats Viyella

2003 Sold the Viyella fashion retail business to Richard Thompson for £1. Weeks later he re-sold Viyella to Harold Tillman. The brand name Jaeger was also sold. Viyella Ladieswear has since added home furnishings to its range of goods.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jun 11, 1964
  2. The Times Oct 04, 1967
  3. The Times, Dec 24, 1969
  4. The Times Aug 08, 1970