INDUSTRIAL SOUTHWOLD
Hosiery and Bedding
 
9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ - Tel: 01502 726097 email
 
 
 
 
 
On the production floor of Homeknit
In the beginning
The Sea
Natural Southwold
Fishing
Transport to Southwold
Southwold at war
Christianity in Southwold
Arts & Crafts
Holidays & Leisure
Southwold the town
Southwold Shops & Trades

 

 

 
 
 
 

Homeknit Hosiery

Started by Mr and Mrs Andrew Critten in 1909, Homeknit originally occupied the upper floor of New Hall, the building in the Markeplace now housing the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (P429).

Click the picture to enlarge

Homeknit Hosiery's first premises - in New Hall.

Starting 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.

In 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.

At 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.

Homeknit closed in the early 1960s.

Fordux Bedding Manufacture

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'.

Fordux 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 into flats.

Use the links below to explore the history of Southwold’s other industries.

Brewing
Hosiery and bedding manufacture
Iron founding
Milling
Public Utilities (Gas, water, electricity)
Rope making
Salt manufacture
Shops and Trades

 
 


...faithfully serve the master ... his secrets keep, his lawful commands everywhere gladly do.

Part of the standard wording of a Homeknit apprentice's indenture. In return, the youngster would receive...

sufficient meat, drink and lodging and all other necessaries.

 

 
Homeknit workers in 1930s
Part of the Homeknit workforce posing for a publicity shot in the 1930s. P2446
Click to enlarge
Listen to the experiences of two former Homeknit employees.


The 13-year-old who longed to join Homeknit and later begged to leave.


The sack for taking a half-day's unpaid leave to get engaged.



Advertisement for Fordux
Sole Bay Bedding.

Click the image to enlarge

     
 
 

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Southwold Museum & Historical Society, 9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ
Tel: 01502 726097 email

A Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Registered Charity No 1159790,