Our story began in 1968, a time when the reshaping of the British Railway network was in full flow. You might ask what this has to do with carpet! A great deal for Anthony Whitehead, the current company chairman who bought the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway goods yard from British Rail following the decline of goods transportation and the decimation of the railway network.
The goods yard housed the Lancashire & Yorkshire Cotton Warehouse, a large red brick building which once upon a time provided a centre for distribution of cotton to most of the mills in Lancashire & Yorkshire. Built circa 1913, this impressive building still stands today and is very much the heart of the factory.
Anthony had an ally in his father Lees Whitehead, who had a history within the textile industry himself, spinning yarn and eventually manufacturing carpet. Lees had sold up and retired in the mid-sixties and therefore had valuable knowledge and expertise to help guide his son through the process of setting up his own business, Newhey Carpets Limited, named after the village in which it is situated in Rochdale, Lancashire.
Starting out with two 27” wide Axminster looms and 6 employees, Anthony soon progressed to broadloom weaving and the days of seamless carpet soon emerged for the domestic market, eventually also running 36” wide, 2.00 metre and 3.66 metre wide machines.
By the mid 90’s, both Anthony’s sons Lees and Howard joined the company working their way up through the ranks from manufacturing to sales, at which point the company was firmly established supplying Axminster carpet to the domestic and contract markets, soon after concentrating solely on the contract market.
At the start of the millennium, Axminster manufacturing throughout the U.K began to decline, due to a combination of economic factors including rising production costs and global market pressures. In response to these difficulties, several companies made the strategic decision to relocate their manufacturing plants abroad. While this shift had economic advantages, it also had a significant impact on the traditional textile industry in the UK, with a decline in local employment and the loss of an age-old craftsmanship tradition.
It became clear that times we’re changing with regards to sustainable manufacturing and so we developed a plant that was less labour intensive and would provide a foundation for a new future.
In recent years, our factory has made remarkable strides setting new benchmarks in sustainable manufacturing within the carpet industry. Now manufacturing carpet on high-speed tufting machines, this process is cleaner, faster, more economical and also less labour intensive. We are constantly exploring innovative, greener approaches to carpet production with sustainable materials such as natural yarns and ‘evobac’ our secondary backing made using post-consumer PET. All of these energy-efficient processes have become the cornerstones of our transformation.
We also source most of our raw materials from within a 35km radius of the factory with our spinners and dyers located in West Yorkshire, keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.
We take immense pride in being a family-owned and operated carpet manufacturer. Our heritage and tradition are woven into every fibre of our products. Our family has dedicated itself to crafting quality carpets for the hospitality & leisure sector and our commitment to excellence, passed down through the years, is what sets us apart. We cherish the personal touch and attention to detail that only a family-run business can offer. Our carpets are a testament to the enduring values of hard work, integrity, and dedication, and we’re thrilled to continue sharing our family’s passion with you.