BRIEF HISTORY OF C.B. BROOK & Co Ltd — Now trading as BROOK INTERNATIONAL
- Cyrus Brook was born in Otley in1836 and had a worsted factory in the 1871 census
- He had 10 children, most of which were sons and one was called Cyrus Barker Brook who established C B Brook & Co in 1898 (my great grand father)
- He had a son called Geoffrey Brook (my grand father)
- The Company became Ltd or incorporated in 1928 the same year that my father, Michael Brook, was born.
- The office was in Harris Street in Bradford and the mill was in Drighlington with a work force of over 80 people at one stage. Management would visit the mill at Easter and Christmas.
- The main products were worsted fabrics, including suitings, panama, serges, veilings etc.
- In the early 50’s my Father and Uncle joined the business and by this time we were supplying all wool worsted cloth for flags to the Admiralty.
- The dockyards were booming places and had their own sail lofts in which they also produced flags for the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Airforce
- By the early 1980’s the Company was focusing on only a few products which were flag fabrics, inter and tie linings, veilings and abba cloth for the Arabic gentleman’s cloak, in the Middle East.
- The office had moved to the same site as the weaving factory in Drighlington by this stage and manufacturing was done on the 150 Swiss made Ruti shuttle looms. Warps were made on Hattersley warping machines.
- In the early 90’s we invested £600,000 in new weaving machinery, installing Vamatex rapier looms.
- In 2000 we made the major strategical decision to cease weaving and knitting as we no longer had a viable unit size given the large amount of investment needed to produce in the UK.
- We had decided that we could compete better by sourcing from other larger UK sites and from anywhere else in the world that we chose. Our time was better spent in sales, marketing and product development.
- Instead of being constrained by the capability of our own production plant we could develop new partners with much wider manufacturing capabilities.
- In 2003 we finally left Drighlington and moved to our current location in Cross Hills. We had purchased a site and created our own, purpose built 2,000 square foot, open plan mezzanine office and 10,000 square foot warehouse.
- From here we source, stock and despatch fabrics into the Flag and Banner markets worldwide. Currently we export about 45% of our sales.
- We are now very much involved in developing sales into the Digital Print market. New products have been carefully developed over the last fifteen years specifically for this purpose. Sales have grown, European distributors have been established and new ones are being sought.
- The textile products are being sold into a wide range of applications such as: point of sale – soft signage for the retail sector, household textiles, places for entertainment, theatrical use, front or back lit banners, pop up or roll up banners and exhibition signage, stretch canvas for art reproduction etc.