Sarah Hartwell, 2014

Aspinall Bros. (Huddersfield) Limited was set up on 17 Feb 1940 with the registered address at Carleton New Mills, Skipton, Yorkshire. In 1948, they registered "Pandatoo" for their woollen and worsted yarns (UK ID 674858). Their "PANDA" trademark was registered in 1969/70 for “pre-cut lengths of woolen yarn intended to be used for making rugs” and for “floor covering products” (rugs) and was allowed to expire in 1992. I can’t find much about them, but they produced rug kits, at least one "book of rugs" (i.e. catalogue) called "The Panda Rug Book - The National Guide to Rug-Making" and they are referenced in “Huddersfield at War” by Hazel Wheeler:

“Entrepreneurs, out to turn wartime conditions to their advantage, soon stepped in with their slogans and cajoling ways. ‘Send for Panda Rug Wool Catalogue and Wool Fringe, You must do something to keep your mind occupied in the Blackout;” suggested Aspinall Bros, Colne Road Mills.”

While I can't find much on Aspinall Bros (Huddersfield), this notice in The Gazette (where public notices are published) links their name to several other carpet and crafts companies via the Gaskell plc pension scheme. Notices under the Trustee Act 1925 relating to the Gaskell plc pension scheme mentions "(previously employers include: Andrew Gaskell Ltd, Aspinall Bros (Huddersfield) Ltd, Bamber Crafts Ltd, Bamber Carpets Ltd, British Needlefelt Co Ltd, Broadloom Carpets Ltd, Gaskell & Co (Bacup) Ltd, Gaskell & Co (Floorcovering) Ltd, Gaskell Broadloom Plc, Gaskell Carpets Ltd, Gaskell Carpet Tiles Ltd, Gaskell Contracts Ltd, Gaskell Flooring Ltd, Gaskell Logistics (Northern) Ltd, Gaskell Logistics Ltd, Gaskell Non-Wovens Ltd, Gaskell Plc, Gaskell Textiles Ltd, Hothfield Carpets Ltd, Marminister Ltd, Modulus Flooring Systems Ltd, Summit Carpet Manufacturing Co Ltd, Tomkinsons Carpets Ltd, Wycombe Fillings Ltd)"

According to the obituary of Bruce Aspinall (Contract Flooring Journal, July 1, 2011): Former owner and board member of the Gaskell Group, Bruce Aspinall died recently, aged 71. Bruce will be remembered for having introduced the all wool berber to the UK. Bruce joined the family business producing woolen yarns and rug kits in 1961 after leaving Art and Design College. He discovered the berber in North Africa made with no dyes or colourings, and was convinced that a wall to wall version would be a success in the UK, and so it proved to be. He worked with yarn suppliers, carding engineers and tufting machine manufacturers to create his first berber range Rusticana, which became a best seller in both retail and contract sectors in the UK and Continental Europe. He followed Rusticana with a succession of top quality loop-pile all wool products and soon was struggling to meet the demands. Combining forces with the Gaskell Group gave him and even greater demand for his products and this success carried right through to his retirement in 1990." The Aspinall Bros family business evidently expanded out of the yarns and rug kits market and into the hugely successful berber carpets business.

This means Aspinall Bros (Huddersfield) Ltd was one of several textiles companies that became part of the Gaskell carpets/textiles empire. Gaskell Plc began in 1948 and dissolved in 2010, having only one subsidiary, Gaskell Carpets Limited. Its previous trading names were Gaskell & Co. (Bacup) Limited (1948 - 1980), Gaskell Broadloom, PLC (1980 - 1989) and then Gaskell plc from 1989. Its subsidiary, Gaskell Carpets Ltd was incorported in 2004, having previously been Gaskell Flooring Limited (2004), Gaskell Textiles Limited (1989 - 2004), Gaskell & Co. (Bacup) Limited (1980 - 1989) and G. & Co. (Bacup) Limited (1980). As far as I can tell, Aspinall Bros (Huddersfield) Ltd was dissolved in 1993, but was restored (reincorporated) in 2010 though it appears to be dormant.


Footnote: In the 1876 "Handbook of European Commerce, What to Buy and Where to Buy It" by George Sauer, a correspondent of the New York Herald, there are these tantalising snippets that link a branch of the Aspinall family to trade in woollens: Carpets and heavy woollen goods head the list of exports from Leeds to the United States [...] The following firms are established at and near Leeds : Aspinall Brothers, Russell st. Then there is another reference: The trade in woollen goods between Huddersfield and the United States is of greater importance than the export from Leeds. The declared value annually of goods shipped from Huddersfield exceeds three millions of dollars. Vestings and trousering, shawls and mantle cloths, are largely comprised in these exports [...] The names of manufacturers are given in the subjoined list: Woollen Manufacturers Plain and Fancy [...] Edwin & Philemon Aspinall, Market st." Aspinall is a common surname in the region so it might be coincidence.


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