History of the Bradford Textile Society

Joseph Dumville (1862-1959)
Joseph Dumville (1862-1959)

It is remarkable that Bradford Textile Society, which celebrated its centenary on December 3rd 1993, has out-lived many other societies, federations and even institutions that were once as

much a part of the fabric of Bradford life as the arrival of wool from Australia, and white flowers at Eastertide. It is surprising that its contribution to the city’s business life and the service it has provided to the wool-textile industry have largely been ignored by historians. As the Society approached its 100th anniversary it was clear that a good deal could be gained and a certain amount of north country fog could be dispersed by publishing an account of its proceedings.

Joseph Dumville, a pillar of Bradford Textile Society for more than 60 years

Fifty years ago, Joseph Dumville, one of the pillars of local education, remarked that of all the organisations connected with the textile industry none had played a more useful part than the Bradford Textile Society. As lecturer in combing and spinning at Bradford Technical College, the co-author of a number of standard textile works, including a definitive monograph on the carbonising process, and with the distinction of having started the mohair spinning department at Bradford’s largest mill, Lister & Co., he was in the position to make that observation.

In fact, by 1920 the Society had become the largest and most influential organisation of its kind in the world. It had been transformed from a small group of enthusiasts, whose original aim was to provide a forum for present and past students of the Technical College, into a body of immense authority. Since that December evening in 1893 when the Society took its first, tentative steps, a second industrial revolution has taken place, and the Society has monitored almost every trend or change in fashion and textile science and technology as closely as an astrologer records the movements of the stars.

It opened its doors to the young designers and technicians of the future, offering them a glimpse of the richness and complexity of their profession. It discussed and assessed – as it does to this day – problems and opportunities it felt members should be aware of. It paid as much attention to sensitive subjects such as bankruptcy as it did to the techniques of salesmanship. Boiler-house practice was debated with the same thoroughness tariff barriers or pastoral conditions in Santa Cruz and New South Wales were described.

The Society has been addressed by Secretaries of State, High Commissioners, foreign ambassadors and bankers, and by those who set the fashion and make the clothes and accessories we buy. It has been a magnet to clever and famous people, and to many whose contribution to textiles may never be known. The history of Bradford Textile Society is a pageant, though most of those taking part wear nothing more elaborate than a worsted suit. They have, however, made wonderful things, and made Bradford famous wherever tradition, good taste and honourable conduct are esteemed.

Extract from ‘Woven with Wisdom & Skill’ the History of the Bradford Textile Society 1893–1993 by Mark Keighley, available from The Society

Past Presidents

Arthur Priestman
R A Ebstein
Sir W E B Priestley FTI, JP
David Wade JP
Sir J Arthur Goodwin JP
W A Whitehead JP
Sir J H Robinson JP
Arthur James Hill JP
John Emsley FTI JP
John Bland JP
Sir Henry Whitehead FTI, JP
Arthur E Raper
Walter Scott
Wilfred Turner OBE, FTI, JP
Arthur T Robertshaw
G H Tattersfield FRGS
Geo Whitaker FTI, JP
Douglas Hamilton
Sydney E Illingworth FTI
Arthur Hitt
Henry Binns FTI
Arthur Davy
Charles Raper
Arnold Highley FTI
Edford Priestley FTI
Charles Hainsworth
Sir Reg G Bailey CBE FTI
J W Shelton
J W Downs FTI, JP
H Riddiough JP
Wm Hunter
Sir Jas L Wood JP
E Vincent Heaton JP
Walter Hodgson JP
Herbert W Peel
John Foster Beaver CBE, JP
George C Hopkinson ARIC
Joseph Dumville FTI
George E Birkenshaw CBE, FTI, FIIA, MIEx
Donald Bulay-Watson AFC
Tom Joy
Maurice Fisher JP
Sir Kenneth W Parkinson Kt, MA, JP
John Emsley OBE
D W M Scott
James H Shaw CBE, JP
David Gaunt
W W Early ORE
J R Stanley Raper
Benson Turner JP
P A Holt Bsc, Tech
F W Garnett BEM
A Geoffrey Peel 0BE, JP
H F Hartley JP
J I Wade
Prof J B Speakman CBE, DSc
C Darnton Wade
G Phillips ATI
J HardyJP
G A Shaw
J R B Turner JP
J Hainsworlh ATI
W J Shelton
D Hanson
James H Gill
R D Wade
C J Renard
Sir James F Hill Bt
E K Macaulay

Gerard Litten ATI
Nicholas Gaunt
David Hainsworth
Derek W Gallimore
Michael H E Dracup
Roy V Stroud OBE, JP, DL
P Barry F Whitaker BSc, CText, FTI
C W David Sutcliffe BA, CText, FTI
John Knox V
J Brian Whitaker
Robert E Halstead
Tom H ElkIngton
John H O’Neil
Anthony H B Turner
Dr Derek H Wood
Harold Harvey
John Hodges
S M Simmonds
D Wilford
E S M Stanners
P J F Vickers
A Berry
C Ferriday
D Gallimore
M Campbell
C J Wall
M Verity
T Hainsworth
R P Ackroyd MBE
J Dyson
M Jarvis
Geraldine Clark
Richard Poole
Bill Skidmore
Pam Brook, MA, FRSA
Caroline Hodgson BSc (Hons), MA, CText ATI