Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,480 pages of information and 245,913 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Hollins and Co

From Graces Guide


April 1922.
June 1932.
1947. Viyella.
1949. Viyella.
September 1962.

of Viyella House, Castle Boulevard, Nottingham. London Office at Exchange House, Old Change, EC4. (1947)

of Pleasley Works, Mansfield, Notts (1914)

Makers of Viyella, Dayella and Clydella

The name Viyella is based on the unusually-named valley road, Via Gellia, (the A5012) near Matlock, Derbyshire.

See also Hollins, Siddon and Co‎

1784 William Hollins started business in Pleasley on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border.

1848 Partnership change. '...the Partnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned, Charles Paget, William Hollins, Edward Hollins, and William Paget, carrying on business at Pleasley, in the county of Derby, and at the town of Nottingham, as Cotton and Merino Spinners, under the firm of William Hollins and Co was, in so far as the said Edward Hollins is concerned, dissolved...'[1]

1882 Private limited company.

1890 Partners are: Charles Paget Mee, William Byerly Paget, and the nephews of William Hollins - Robert Arthur Hollins and Henry Ernest Hollins.[2]

1890 Hollins and Co acquired a mill used for the early production of Viyella.

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 Sissons and Robert Sissons of William Hollins and Company, spinners and hosiers. It was the "first branded fabric in the world".

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

At first this was made by a separate business but it was not long before Hollins started producing their own clothes and offering franchises to manufacturers who would use the Viyella label.

1907 The trademark was registered in the USA.

1908 Company re-registered.

1914 Listed as spinners and manufacturers of "Vyella" and "Aza" cloths and spinners of hosiery and other yarns. [3]

1924 Public dispute between the company and Arthur Hollins. The directors are Charles H. Hill, E. L. Paget, Marcus L. T. Hare and C. Warren.[4]

1932 Chairman of the company is Sir Ernest Jardine.[5]

1947 British Industries Fair Advert: Viyella for Men, Women and Children everywhere. Spinners and Manufacturers of "Viyella" and "Clydella" Fabrics, Women's Underwear and Nightwear, Men's Shirts, Pyjamas and Hosiery; Nursery "Viyella" and Clydella Children's Wear. (Textiles Section - Earls Court, Ground Floor, Stand No. 238) [6]

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[7] 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[8]

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[9]

1970 ICI acquired Viyella and, later in the year, Carrington and Dewhurst, forming Carrington Viyella of which ICI owned c.80 percent[10].

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

In the 1980s built a new mill to produce Viyella cloth in Barrowford, Lancashire, but this was demolished in 1999.

Following an increasing emphasis on garment manufacture over the years, Viyella is now a fashion brand for clothes and home furnishings made of a variety of fabrics. The original wool/cotton blend is no longer on sale.

In the 21st century much of Coats manufacturing (now specialising in thread) has been moved abroad and it is no longer possible to buy Viyella fabric. Coats underwent major restructuring in 2002 and sold off its Viyella fashion retail business (and Jaeger) to entrepreneur Richard Thompson in 2003 for £1, who re-sold Viyella weeks later to venture capitalist Harris Watson. Viyella Ladieswear has since added home furnishings to its range of goods.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette Publication date:17 October 1848 Issue:20906 Page:3740
  2. Derbyshire Times - Saturday 24 May 1890
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. Nottingham Evening Post - Thursday 21 February 1924
  5. Western Mail - Friday 18 March 1932
  6. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 248; and p138
  7. The Times, Jun 11, 1964
  8. The Times Oct 04, 1967
  9. The Times, Dec 24, 1969
  10. The Times Aug 08, 1970