The last man standing in a once thriving industry

David Hughes
David Hughes

The last remaining carpet manufacturer in Halifax is laying the foundations to secure its long-term future.

Ladyship Carpets Ltd employ 22 staff at their office in Ovenden and is owned by former Crossley’s worker David Hughes.

Dean Clough was once the world’s largest carpet factory, with Halifax boasting a thriving carpet industry.

But Ladyship Carpets is now the last business standing in Halifax, and Mr Hughes, 67, is planning how his company can survive in a changing environment.

“My son-in-law Richard Wood is more involved now, as well as Alison Howell, who has worked for me for 20 years,” said Mr Hughes.

“They’ve brought in more structure and discipline - they run it better than me.

“It’s been more like a social club for 30 years, as we’ve employed a lot of friends and neighbours.

“All our employees are local people and they’re all very loyal.

“Whenever I’m out in town people come up to me and say ‘I used to work for you’.

“The fact we have a lot of long-serving staff shows we’ve been a social club rather than a sweat shop.

“But we’ve got 22 employees now so the atmosphere has changed a bit.

“Plus there’s a lot more red tape to do with health and safety and regulations.”

Mr Hughes’ father was Bill Hughes, former secretary and chairman of Halifax RLFC.

He has more than 40 years experience in the industry, and says moving with the times has been vital in sustaining his business.

“I started at Crossley’s in the late 60s before working for Heckmondwike Carpets in the 1970s.

“I then went out on my own in 1980 but I didn’t think I would ever progress to running my own company when I first started out.

“I haven’t been overly ambitious over the years - I’ve just run it to keep going.

“We’ve had to move with the times and I think that’s why we’re still around.

“When we started we used to buy waste left over during the manufacturing process and sell it on to rug manufacturers.

“I approached Nick Crossley, part of the Crossley carpet family, and we moved to Ladyship Mills in 1986 where we moved into manufacturing.

“But we ended up going into liquidation in 2000. However, we rebuilt the business and rather than buying the waste, we then were paid to collect it on behalf of the spinners.

“We then moved on to buying and selling carpets and manufacturing once more.

“We manufactured stripey carpets but they’re out of fashion now so we adjusted to manufacture more plain, tonal carpets. We’re very aware of trends and move with the times.”