My name is Anthony and I will be posting blogs on our website. Just to give you a background of who I am, I am thirty two years old and I live with my wife Nina, three-year-old son Owen and my twelve-month-old daughter Eden. They are my Three Bears! I have three dogs, a toy poodle called Bella and two teacup Yorkshire Terriers called Henry and Sophie as well as a tortoise called Michaelangelo.
I have worked for Blackburn Yarn Dyers since leaving college in 2002, where I started as a Lab Apprentice. After spending five years in the lab, I became more involved in the day-to-day planning and running of the business and I am now the Production Manager. I lead our LEAN manufacturing classes, which is an initiative designed to involve all staff in making the business more efficient. This is where the idea of Three Bears Yarn was founded. I believe in what I have been taught in my time here, that businesses should involve and engage with their staff, treating them well and recognising achievement. I also believe in producing products the right way, with quality being paramount in everything that we do. It is with these fundamentals that I believe that Three Bears Yarn can produce quality yarns at competitive prices while 'made in the UK'. I hope that you enjoy my blogs and our yarn.
I have decided to use my first blog to speak about textiles around Lancashire and my dream of reinvigorating the nostalgia that surrounds our towns before it is all forgotten.
Being from Blackburn, the history of the textile industry is everywhere to see. The big derelict mills standing alongside the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, holding inside them memories of the industrial revolution as thousands of people worked tirelessly among the noise of the looms. It was at its peak that Lancashire was seen as the textile capital of the world. In fact in the early 18th century Blackburn’s population rose from under 5,000 to over 130,000.
Lancashire has produced some of the most pioneering inventions in the textile world. It was James Hargreaves, a hand-loomer from a small village called Stanhill near Blackburn, who invented the Spinning Jenny in 1764. Also John Mercer, a dye and fabric chemist from Great Harwood, a small town by Blackburn, who developed ‘Mercerised Cotton’, a process that gives cotton extra strength and a lustrous appearance.
There was also a very famous visitor for Lancashire's textile industry in 1935 when Ghandhi was invited to visit Blackburn’s close neighbour Darwen at a time when he had ordered a boycott of Lancashire cotton products in his homeland India, as he sought independence from Britain. It was the fact that the very same mill workers that were being affected by Ghandhi’s actions actually cheered and welcomed him with open arms to the town that epitomises the great ethics, generosity and behaviour that generations of Lancashire people had developed through their ‘textile togetherness’.
I personally have fond memories of my Grandma Green telling me her stories from her time working in the mills, the friends that she made and the great times they shared. I also often think about my Great Grandma, who used to work on the canal, guiding the horses that pulled the barges loaded with cotton along the banks. Just reflecting on all of the above, together with my personal experiences of working for and with some extraordinary people that I really start to understand how important textiles has been to our town.
It is my dream that through leading Three Bears Yarn, I can produce a textile product of real genuine quality that is enjoyed and respected around the world and seen as ‘Made in Lancashire’.