Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited Haworth Scouring and Combing Companies in Bradford on the 24th July. She officially opened The Wessex Room which was so named in honour of the Royal visit. The wool processing companies are owned by Curtis Wool Direct Ltd, the parent company of Jamieson and Smith Shetland Wool Brokers Ltd.
Her Royal Highness found the tour of the plant interesting and it served as a useful introduction to the Campaign for Wool, which was convened by HRH The Prince of Wales, her brother in law. Her Royal Highness was particularly pleased to meet the guests at the event as they represented many different sectors of the wool industry.
Among the guests were Mike Meehan, Managing Director and Chris Harrison the Operations Director of Vi-Spring who showed her the Real Shetland cut-away display bed. Adam Curtis Managing Director of The Real Shetland Company showed the range of Real Shetland carpets, one of which is fitted in the wonderful Wessex Room, throws, duvets, scarves and knitting kits which are all made in Real Shetland wool.
Haworth Scouring is probably the most environmentally friendly scouring plant of its type in the world. On the same 12 acre site is the combing plant, which increases efficiencies hugely and is where the Real Shetland tops are combed before being spun into the new Real Shetland Heritage Collection of yarns that have been developed in association with The Shetland Museum and Archives.
In the Wessex Room Jamieson & Smith knitting kits, yarns, accessories, and books are all on display. The Countess was presented with a 1ply Shetland Supreme lace scarf called the St. Ninian, designed and knitted by Mary Kay of Lerwick. The yarn used is worsted spun from 100% Real Shetland wool, this method of spinning captures the main characteristics of Real Shetland wool, exceptional soft handle, combined with a subtle strength. It was explained that Real Shetland wool is seen as the pinnacle of Curtis` British wool production but that within the Campaign for Wool, all wool is equally important. The knitwear designer Kate Davies, the ambassador of Shetland wool who designs items made from Jamieson & Smith yarns, was there to demonstrate hand knitting.
With an array of products made from wool, from carpets to bespoke hand made suits, from tennis balls to handbags, throws to dresses the whole display was epitomised in the installation created by artist Angela Wright which was made with wool that came from 40 different countries – that is what the Campaign for Wool is all about and it included Real Shetland wool, one of the great fibres of the world.
read how Kate Davies enjoyed the day here