Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford wool firm helps Cutty Sark display
by Chris Holland Business Reporter A historic Bradford wool firm has helped put wind in the sails of Britain's newest tourist attraction by donating samples of raw and processed fibre that form an important part of the visitor experience.
International wool merchants and topmaker H Dawson, Sons & Co, based at Essex Street, Bowling, has helped to bring history to life at the exhibition associated with the famous 19th century clipper Cutty Sark.
The ship has been returned to its dry dock in Greenwich after a six-year restoration project following a serious fire and was recently re-opened by the Queen.
H Dawson, a global wool trader, which has operations in England, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Italy and Ireland, has supplied the wool for an interactive installation built to coincide with the reopening of Cutty Sark.
The company was founded in 1888 Australia by Harry Dawson and its main business in those days was to buy wool and ship it to the UK in vessels similar to Cutty Sark.
The raw wool donated by H Dawson will help to tell the story of the valuable fibre ‘from sheep to jumper’.
Cutty Sark was built in 1869 and in December, 1883, it departed Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia with 4,289 bales of wool and 12 casks of tallow, arriving back in London in just 83 days.
This was 25 days faster than its nearest rival that year and heralded the start of a new career taking Australian wool to Britain in time to catch the January wool sales.
Cutty Sark is one of only three remaining original composite construction – a wooden hull on an iron frame – clipper ships from the 19th century. The wool donated by H Dawson will form the centrepiece of a permanent, hands-on experience for visitors.
H Dawson chief executive Jo Dawson, great grandson of the company’s founder, said: “It’s highly likely that wool sourced by H Dawson in Australia travelled back to the UK on Cutty Sark at the end of the 19th century.
“We were delighted to be asked to contribute to this important project which will help not only educate visitors to Cutty Sark about the vital part the clipper played in our history, but to offer an insight into the story of wool and its importance, versatility and wide-reaching environmental benefits.”
Speaking from New York, where he is attending the annual conference of the International Wool Textile Organisation, of which he is treasurer, Mr Dawson said his firm was “very busy” supplying all grades of wool . He said: “Because it is a natural biodegradable product, wool is enjoying a resurgence, both among processors who are returning to it and from a new generation of designers and producers who recognise its green credentials and we are benefiting from that trend.”