Prince Charles has been hailed as “the saviour of wool textiles” by a Bradford textile chief whose firm is investing a seven-figure sum in expanding its wool processing.
Simon Curtis, joint managing director of Curtis Wools Direct, said the five-year Campaign for Wool instigated by the Prince had galvanised firms to work together to boost demand.
The campaign was a major factor in the decision to invest heavily in expanding the combing operations at Haworth Scouring in Birksland Street, Bradford, which will create between ten and 20 new jobs.
Sixteen new combing machines are to be installed at the firm’s Cashmere Works, which will feature innovative processing techniques.
Engineers will work through the Christmas holidays to ensure it is ready for production early in the New Year.
Haworth Scouring and Haworth Combing are the largest wool processing operations of their kind in the world, and Prince Charles enjoyed an extended tour of the company during his visit to Bradford this week.
He unveiled a plaque to mark the expansion project, which will double the firm’s combing capacity to 100 tons of wool a week.
Simon Curtis said he and his brother Martin had been inspired by the Campaign for Wool to make the investment.
“The Prince’s instigation of and involvement in the campaign is fantastic and is already providing a big boost for the industry, he said.
“The past 25 years have been very difficult for the wool trade, which was steadily going down the pan until the Campaign for Wool. Now, I’m more confident about the future than for many years, and I believe that Prince Charles will be regarded as the saviour of the wool textile industry.”
He said the Prince’s involvement had helped restore the price of wool which had doubled over the past year, helping sheep farmers who had found it uneconomical to shear their sheep.
The Prince’s involvement was also welcomed by Jo Dawson, chief executive of H Dawson Sons & Co (Wool) Ltd, merchants and topmakers, of Essex Street, which imports wool from 35 countries and sells to 75.
He said: “I don’t believe any other figurehead could have made this campaign as successful as it is. The Prince has a real commitment to wool.
“His passion is clear to see and his knowledge about wool and the industry is impressive.”