The Princess of Wales will Visit Textiles Manufacturers in Leeds and Lancaster

The Princess of Wales, Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, reopens the Gallery following an extensive, three-year refurbishment programme, June, 2023
The Princess of Wales, Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, reopens the Gallery following an extensive, three-year refurbishment programme, June, 2023


Tuesday 26th September 2023

The Princess of Wales will visit textiles manufacturers in Leeds and Lancaster on Tuesday 26th September to learn more about the heritage, history and innovation of the industry, the technical processes involved and how vital the sector is to the UK economy. She will also hear about how the industry is transforming to place emphasis on sustainable practices as well as how it is working with academic institutions to educate and upskill young people.

Her Royal Highness has long been passionate about the importance of the textiles industry. The Princess’ paternal ancestors were the owners of the woollen manufacturer and merchant, William Lupton & Co, which was based in Leeds.

Engagement 1:



The Princess will start her day in Leeds where she will visit AW Hainsworth, a family-owned heritage textile mill which was established in 1783 and manufactures British woollen cloth, high-performing technical textiles, and iconic fabrics. In 1958, the Princess’ great-great grandfather sold William Lupton & Co to AW Hainsworth. Her Royal Highness will learn more about the mills’ historic connection to her ancestors during her time there.

Today, AW Hainsworth is a fully integrated, vertical textile mill which supplies fabrics to a wide range of customers – from fashion and homeware brands to the Armed Forces. It also produces woven felt for pianos and other musical instruments, designs national and international transportation fabric, and creates protective materials for emergency services and military personnel worldwide. AW Hainsworth is proud to hold a royal warrant and its fabrics were on display during the coronations of both Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and His Majesty The King earlier this year.

During her time at AW Hainsworth, Her Royal Highness will receive a tour of the mill, learning about the manufacturing process of textile – from yarn to fabric – and how traditional machinery and techniques are the backbone of today’ s industry. She will meet a number of the company’s apprentices, alongside their mentors, who are passing down generations of specialist skills.

The Princess will then visit the new state-of-the-art on-site laboratory which the company is using for cutting-edge innovation and product development. Here, Her Royal Highness will be joined by Professor Stephen Russell, the Founding Director of Future Fashion Factory (FFF), an industry-led collaborative R&D programme that harnesses academic and business expertise to design and deliver innovation in fashion and textiles. Stephen is also the Director of the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour (LITAC), a world leading research institute bringing together expertise in design, technology, science and engineering. He collaborates with the team at Hainsworth regularly. Her Royal Highness will hear about the importance of innovation in the textiles industry as it looks to the future.

Engagement 2:



The Princess will then travel to Lancaster where she will visit Standfast & Barracks, a printworks dating back to 1924 which is now part of the Sanderson Design Group. The company is renowned for its impressive heritage in textile design and creativity. It places innovation at the heart of its business and product development. Standfast & Barracks has expertise in both conventional printing techniques including rotary and flatbed printing and ground-breaking digital inkjet technology.

While at Standfast & Barracks, Her Royal Highness will learn about the history of the company and see artefacts from the company’s archive. She will then meet the founders of House of Hackney (a British interiors brand), Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle. Champions of print and craftsmanship, House of Hackney work closely with small-scale factories, including Standfast & Barracks, preserving specialist, age-old trades and local jobs whilst delivering high quality products. House of Hackney and Standfast & Barracks are working together on a pioneering idea to pilot end-to-end regeneratively farmed materials, which would improve sustainability and ensure that people and planet are considered at every touch point. Their approach will also support the next generation by co-creating design and manufacturing apprenticeships. The Princess will meet young people who have benefited from the apprenticeship programme and hear more about the creative product development process between Standfast & Barracks and House of Hackney, including how inspiration becomes finished product.

Her Royal Highness will then be given a tour of the printworks, taking in both the traditional and digital processes. The development of digital printing has provided a more sustainable approach to fabric printing, with each metre of fabric produced using approximately 80 litres less water than the traditional processes. During the tour, the Princess will meet young apprentices who Standfast & Barracks are training as part of their commitment to education and skills development.

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