Bill Beaumont Textiles can trace it’s history back to 1888, when Towns Green Mill on Dole Lane, Chorley was taken over by Joseph Hargreaves and his weaving operation began. At the time, Lancashire’s 2,500 plus mills produced over half of the World’s cotton.
The business began to turn profit in the early part of the twentieth century under the proprietorship of Joseph Hargreave’s nephew, Joseph Blackledge. The Company, then called J. Hargreaves & Co, came to an effective end in 1913 when part of the mill collapsed. By this time, Joseph Blackledge’s collateral was good enough to allow him to buy land nearby and build a new mill, and despite being closed for over a year, the Company welcomed back practically all its workforce.
This business was re-named J Blackledge & Son.
Weaving took place at Park Mills, Chorley, from 1914 up until the mid 1960s, when cheap foreign imports made weaving in the UK unsustainable. The Company re-established itself as a textile converter and supplied the apparel trade for many years until the late 1990s. During this time, the business passed from Jospeh Blackledge’s son William, to his son Joseph, and then upon his retirement, his nephew Bill Beaumont tookover the Company.
Bill had joined the family business from school and balanced his full time job with his hobby and passion of playing rugby at Fylde Rugby Club in Lytham, Lancashire. From starting his first game in the 6th XV at the age of 17, Bill worked his way up through the teams at Fylde, then achieved selection for Lancashire and then for England, where he made his debut in the Second Row at the age of 22 against Ireland in Dublin in 1975.
Bill won 34 caps for England and 7 for the Lions between 1975 and 1982, where injury forced his premature retirement. Bill captained England 21 times and won the Grand Slam with England in 1980. He toured with the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand in 1977 and Captained the Lions in South Africa in 1980.
When Bill played rugby, it was an amateur sport so he always worked in the family business, which he eventually bought from the family in 1998 and renamed the business Bill Beaumont Textiles, to take advantage of his high profile name gained from his sporting achievements, and also from his role as a team captain on the BBC quiz show ‘A Question of Sport’ from 1982 to 1996.
When Bill took the business over, his wife Hilary joined the business as Design Director and the business moved away from apparel and into the soft furnishings industry. Today, the business is run by Bill and Hilary’s eldest son Daniel, the sixth generation of the family to run the business. We moved from Park Mills in 2011 and are now located in modern warehousing and office units in Chorley.