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Willet, Nephew & Co.

Willet Nephew & Co
This company was mentioned in the Bolingbroke & Jones entry as being silk weavers of Norwich circa 1860. The following entry is of interest although it may not be directly connected with Willet Nephew & Co.
"One man who made a significant contribution to the industry was a distinguished dyer, Michael Stark (the father of James Stark the Norwich painter), who among other innovations - early in the century - discovered how to dye silk and worsted yarns to exactly the same shade of red. The colour gained fame; was known as Norwich Red and yarns and yardage were sent from other parts of England and Scotland to be dyed in the city. Recently the colour has been analysed, and the brilliance would appear to be due to a mixture of madder, with a tin mordant and the hard water of the River Wensum, where Michael Stark had his dye works. The museum has shawls dyed and woven with patterns in this colour, and after nearly two hundred years Norwich Red glows with an amazing radiance."

 

 

 

Willet & Nephew & Co. first appeared in an 1850 trade directory for Norwich although the firm of Willets was established in 1767. By 1839, Henry & Edward Willet had a large-scale business with at times, as many as 800 to 900 looms in operation. The company ceased trading in 1904. A unique collection of their pattern books dating from the establishment of the firm was sold to a Mr Galey of Aberfoyle Mills, Chester, Pennsylvania USA.





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