with a handful of employees, Homeknit
soon began recruiting apprentices
and prided itself as a caring and
paternalistic firm, pioneering equal
pay for equal work. Apprentices
would start at the age of 14 and
would be provided with their food,
lodging and a wage. For that, they
worked a five-day week from 8am
to 6pm, plus Saturday mornings.
1914, after landing a big government contract to make underwear and socks for the troops, it moved to larger premises
on the corner of Pier Avenue and
Station Road - where the telephone
exchange is now - and began to automate
production. By 1921 it boasted the
latest Swiss technology.
its height, Homeknit employed about
100 people, many from surrounding
villages. It made bonnets for local school
girls, stylish knitwear for Knightsbridge
stores and, later, even silk jumpers
for the royal princesses.
In spite of Homeknit's
apparently enlightened employment
policy, not all its employees were
impressed, as you'll hear if you
click on the audio extracts! right.
closed in the early 1960s.
Fordux Mills took
over the Smith
& Girling flour mill on
the corner of Field Stile Road and
the High Street, after the latter
had closed down in 1918. It was named 'Fordux' by its founder, F L Pallant, as a back-to-front version of 'Duxford', perhaps in celebration of the brand new RAF station in Cambridgeshire. The name led to the firm's popular advertising image featuring 'Four Ducks'.
started primarily as a flock mill
and diversified into making high-quality
mattresses, divans, pillows and
other accessories which were supplied
to leading bed manufacturers.
The company had mixed fortunes, going into voluntary liquidation twice - in 1928 and 1947. In the 1950s it was taken over by Its best known
customer, Slumberland. When the factory closed
in 1974 the building was converted
Use the links
below to explore the history of
Southwold’s other industries.
and bedding manufacture
Utilities (Gas, water, electricity)
Shops and Trades