Reproduced from "Matlock & District Industrial Exhibition" catalogue.
Stand 24. John Smedley Ltd., Lea Mills, Matlock.
"The firm of John Smedley Limited was founded some 150 years ago
by John Smedley near the picturesque village of Lea overlooking
the River Derwent. The second John Smedley, born in 1803, who was
a man of outstanding character, was apprenticed to the trade in
1819. This same John Smedley built Riber Castle, and, after studying
hydropathy, founded the world renowned Hydropathic Establishment
in Matlock, which bears his name.
Since that time, every process from the sorting of the raw
material to the finished article has been carried out at Lea
Mills, a most unusual feature in the hosiery trade. This is one
of the reasons why the house of "Smedley" is able to
achieve the high grade of workmanship for which it is noted.
The hosiery underwear manufactured at Lea Mills is mainly what
is known as the "fashioned" type. This means that the
garments are knitted to "shapes" which make them fit
the body in contrast to the other methods which are not shaped
to the figure, but must rely upon the elasticity of the material
to adopt the appropriate shape when they are worn.
The wool is brought to Lea Mills, where it is treated and blended
before being spun into yarn. It then undergoes spinning, doubling
and twisting into suitable yarns ready for knitting into garments,
then washing, finishing and trimming, and lastly (each individual
process having been examined in the departments) the final examination
before packing for despatch.
Before the war, many of the garments made
at Lea Mills were sent to all parts of the world. During the
war, production was largely for men and women in the Services,
but the Company also produced very large quantities of the utility
garments for the Government, and much of this class of work is
still being done. Now John Smedley Limited is beginning to turn
its attention to the home market for speciality goods, and is
also taking its part in the drive for exports which are such
an important national need".
Group on the left hand side of the image. Names
currently unknown although the woman front, right could be Ada
Group on the right hand side of the image. Names