About Us

John L Brierley Limited is a family owned textile manufacturer and merchant based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Our history

JLB started in 2 rooms at Commercial Mills, Firth Street, Huddersfield. Machinery was installed a few months after. JLB made a loss during this year according to the trading figures.

JLB made a very good profit during this year.

Turnbridge Mills (Brierley mill only) was purchased in November from Messrs A Jubb and J H Hanson. The ground floor was let to a firm of rag dealers and the 3rd floor to Mr J R France, cotton doubler and winder. The remaining mill was occupied by Haigh and Brierley.

They bought Mr France’s doubling and winding machinery and he was appointed manager. During this year 125 members of staff were employed.

The business became a limited company which was named ‘’The Fancy Cotton Spinner Ltd’’ with directors John L Brierley and Arthur Dawson.

The manufacture of elastic webbing was started during this year and 2 men were engaged to run the looms.

During this year, 10 new spinning frames were bought.

Shedding was erected over the mill dam and webbing looms were transferred there from the 4th floor.

St Helens Mill, Almondbury, was purchased and 24 webbing looms installed as well as winding, doubling, warping, rubber covering and calendering machine.

During this year the business was transferred back to Mr John L Brierley as a private company.

Jere Brierley started work at the mill.

Jere was away in the army for this full period.

A serious fire took place which lead to the engine room, part of the shed near the chimney and the raw cotton stock being burnt. The oak panelling in the engine house was destroyed. Because of this many people worked day and night to clear up.

Jere Brierley returned to the business after the war ended.

Trade began to turn down and by the end of the year a real slump had started. The mill went on short time after 27 years of good trading conditions.

William Hirst and Son Ltd (Huddersfield), the mill immediately across the Quay Street from Brierley’s, was purchased and John L Brierley Ltd became a private limited company with John L and Jere Brierley as directors.

Before and during the General Strike the mill was stopped for long periods because of lack of coal.

Production has stopped completely due to bad state of trading and in December Mr France retired.

The demand for fancy yarns increased during this year and the machine at Almondbury ran day and night.

It was decided to sell the Almondbury mull and re-start production at Hirsts. At the same time John L started to develop machine for making chenille yarns.

Chenille trade turned down in 1935. These were gradually converted to make smoker’s pipe cleaners and being sold by JLB

John L died in March. John L left the company, almost bankrupt, to his son Jere.

The company survived because of an increased in the political tension and the outbreak of war; this brought large orders for the armed forces.

Brierley’s mill was closed by Government order under what was known as’’ concentration’’. All machines were stored appropriately, and the mill was used by David Brown Ltd for making and storing engineering patterns for the rest of the war.

Jere Brierley attended lectures at Leeds University on Work Study and consultants were involved to install systems in the mill.

The period up to this year was post- war boom and all the profits were ploughed back into the mill The trade remained stable up to 1961 with a few ups and down.

John B Brierley started working full time at the mill after gaining a textile degree at Manchester University and 2 years’ National Service.

The first new type of double twisters in the UK were installed which were followed shortly by automatic cone winding.

Company made a tiny loss in the year ending March 1963 in the post war period.

The last ring doubling machines were replaced by double twisters.

The productivity has increased at over 9% a year.

The company saw stable conditions and it was going to benefit because of its high rate of investment.

John L Brierley purchased the only other pipe cleaner manufactured in the country (in Wallasey) called Hewitt and Booth Ltd.

Some machines were purchased from a bankrupt Danish manufacturer.

A factory was purchased in St Andrews Road which is about 500 metres from the mill. The pipe cleaner machine from Wallasey and Turnbridge were transferred there.

The trade was very difficult in the year ending March 1980 and the company made a significant loss. A new storey extension was added to Hirsts mill for warehousing and beaming. Sarah Brierley started working for Hewitt and Booth in 1980 to develop sales outside of smoking.

Sarah Brierley became Managing Director.

The old office was demolished, and new block erected the opposite side of Quay Street on the site of a 4 storey mill block which was no longer in use. The first of the next generation of Brierleys joined the company when Ian gained his degree in Textile Engineering in 1988.

A separate electronics department was set up to design, manufacture and sell monitors for textile and other applications.

Automatic cone winding machines replaced and re-equipped the whole of the cardroom and spinning.

Hamel Elastotwist machine were purchased specifically for stretch yarns. Mark started to work in the business in April 1992 with an Engineering degree from Cambridge University and 2 years’ work experience in Japan. Graham started in July 1992 with a degree in Textile Marketing from Huddersfield University.

The company started sizing weavers beams.

The company purchased a new SSM winding machine.

Purchased Macphearson North - a Textile Merchant.

Thornton Kelly and Victoria Warping both purchased a Textile Merchant and Warper.

Purchased Choicelatch which is another Textile Merchant.

John L Brierley has consolidated its position and in 2018 celebrated its 125 years anniversary.