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'200 years of history vanished in minutes' 40 jobs axed as the last card clothing firm closes down.

Byline: By HENRYK ZIENTEK Business Reporter

A COLNE Valley firm which has supplied the textile trade for more than two centuries has collapsed with the loss of more than 40 jobs.

Marsden-based James Holdsworth and Brothers Ltd has gone into liquidation after battling unsuccessfully to stay in business in the face of dwindling profits and the loss of markets to overseas competitors.

The company, founded in 1790, was the last card clothing company in the UK. The firm supplied carding equipment to customers in the UK knitwear, spinning and cashmere processing industries.

Last May, the company moved from Station Road, Mirfield, to a 28,000sq ft purpose-built factory at Holme Mills, Marsden, as part of efforts to cut costs.

Greg Duffy, union representative for the Community Union, said the closure decision has left employees stunned.

He said: "We turned up for work as normal on Monday and did a morning's work, but were then called together at 2pm and told the place was in liquidation. Ten minutes later and the liquidator was in the place.

"The firm started in 1790, so 200 years of history vanished in a few

minutes.

"They told us to leave at once, no wages, no redundancy money, no holiday pay, no overtime. We are all stunned.

"We moved to Marsden last April and we lost about a third of the workforce at that point, but we seemed to be doing okay. There is a lot of competition from China, but we had no inkling things were bad."

Mr Duffy said: "We feel badly let down.We have been sacrificed for the sake of the directors with the workers hung out to dry. Many of the people there have worked there for up to 40 years and there was a real family feel to the place."

Peter Sargent, of Begbies Traynor in Halifax, said: "This was the last thing the management wanted to do and they are really distraught about the situation. It was with great reluctance that they called us in to place the company into liquidation."

Mr Sargent said: "It is really a case of loss of markets and the inability to make a profit at what they are doing.

"They have manfully kept going as long as they can. This is a long-established local company which has survived the ups and downs for many generations.

"Sadly, the company has succumbed. is also a sad day for the Colne Valley, which has lost another 40-odd manufacturing jobs."

Mr Sargent said the liquidators had already received a lot of interest in the plant and machinery, mainly from potential buyers overseas.

Steady decline of an industry

JAMES Holdsworth and Brothers Ltd is the latest in a long line of world-renowned textile names to disappear from the Huddersfield area - following such well-known companies as Globe Worsted, C & J Hirst and Huddersfield Fine Worsteds Its demise echoes the closure of Lindley-based English Card Clothing in 2006 with the loss of 40 jobs when production was transferred overseas. Estimates say fewer than 1,700 people are now employed in textiles in the town against 18,000 in 1970.

CAPTION(S):

LIQUIDATION: Joint managing director of James Holdsworth and Brothers John Murray (left) and Financial Director Martin Campbell at the new factory and (above) the old factory
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Jan 31, 2008
Words:547
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