Cotton spinning will return to the northwest thanks to a £5.8m investment from a textiles company in Greater Manchester.
English Fine Cottons is investing £4.8m of its own money, £2m of which is a loan from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, to regenerate a former Victorian cotton mill and install new technology to create luxury yarn.
A further £1m has been awarded as a grant by the N Brown RGF6 Textile Growth Programme, marking the largest single award from the fund. The £97m programme aims to support a national revival in textiles, led by an industry board chaired by N Brown and including Marks & Spencer and other UK firms.
The cash boost secures the launch of the mill and growth plan for three years. The company has already placed orders for key equipment and started recruiting staff, with the aim of restarting cotton spinning in the UK from the middle of next year.
It is expected to create 100 new jobs.
English Fine Cottons will base its production facility in the refurbished Tower Mill in Dukinfield in Tameside, Greater Manchester. It will be the only cotton-spinning company in the UK, after the last mills closed in the 1980s.
The mill will use raw materials from Barbados, India, the US and Egypt to target the premium fashion market.
“We are extremely proud to have won this major government grant today to help us make real our dream of bringing cotton spinning back to where it belongs – the northwest of England,” said Andy Ogden, general manager of English Fine Cotton’s parent company Culimeta-Saveguard.
“There is a strong demand across the world for luxury goods with the Made in Britain stamp, and English Fine Cottons has the pedigree for the job.”
Culimeta-Savegard was established more than 20 years ago and manufactures technical textiles for automotive and personal protective equipment applications, employing more than 230 people in two adjoining former cotton mills in Dukinfield.
It operates the only remaining cotton system spinning plant in the UK, though it is today used to spin technical fibre yarns for protective clothing.
“The global industry could never have predicted that cotton spinning would come back to the UK,” added Lorna Fitzsimons, director of the TGP. “Our programme is giving companies like English Fine Cottons the confidence to invest, and at a scale that makes it possible to build one of the most advanced cotton spinning plants in the world - in Greater Manchester.”