Southowram company Avena keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing alive in Halifax

A business in Southowram is keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing in Halifax alive by using looms that were located in Dean Clough at John Crossley and Sons.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 9:48 am
Updated Friday, 13th August 2021, 9:55 am
Avena Carpets, keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing alive in Halifax

Crossley Carpets were the largest manufacturers of quality carpets in the world, but last year they stopped producing in Bankfield, meaning there were no narrow-loom manufacturers left in Halifax and only three in England.

But Avena Carpets have recently purchased the Crossley looms once again, which date back to the 1850’s, meaning narrow-loom carpet manufacturing will start again in the town.

Avena Carpets will provide employment for local weavers and tuners who, through an apprenticeship scheme, will pass on their skill and expertise to a future generation of Halifax carpet makers.

Avena Carpets, keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing alive in Halifax

Richard Hughes, from Avena Carpets, said: “After the negotiations were completed and we started bringing all the aspects together, it was obvious how important this story is locally and how much interest it received.

“We feel we’re now in charge of looking after the heritage of carpet weaving in Halifax.”

Avena acquired ten looms, five of which will be in use and the other five will go into storage.

“They’re known for a very particular, fine pitch quality, and there aren’t many looms in the world that can manufacture this quality.

Avena Carpets, keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing alive in Halifax

“We’re also able to manufacture additional qualities called three shot and 13 row per inch, which is quite special and heavily sought-after in the decorative and historic market.”

As part of the asset purchase, the archive and designs dating back to the mid 19th century have also been inherited. Avena’s aims are to document and promote these historical documents to interior decorators and curators throughout the world.

The company has taken on six full-time staff and two part-time staff, as well as looking to start an apprenticeship scheme towards the end of the summer and working with local charities to offer work experience.

“We’re not going to have a business unless the skills are transferred to the next generation,” said Richard.

Avena Carpets, keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing alive in Halifax

“Taking on apprentices is top of our list. The weavers and tuners are also motivated to make sure their specialist skills aren’t lost.”

You can follow Avena Carpets on instagram, where they’re documenting the story.