The History of Luxury Linen Supplier Liddell

Posted By on June 19, 2017

The History of Luxury Linen Supplier Liddell
Liddell has supplied the finest luxury linens over 150 years.



Liddell: 150 years in the making

During the 18th and 19th century Ireland is widely regarded as the linen capital of the world

In 1866, after serving his apprenticeship in the linen trade, William Liddell goes on to set up William Liddell & Company

Founded in Donaghcloney, Ireland, the factory is the largest Irish jacquard weaving company in Ireland

His aim is to make the cloth he manufactures known around the world… It’s an objective he will gloriously achieve

By the start of the 20th century, Belfast is the linen export capital of the world

In 1908 William Liddell & Co takes part in the Franco-British Exhibition winning a gold medal award for bringing linen from the field to the home

The gold medal status brings the company global recognition

By the end of 1908, the company has its own offices as far afield as London, Melbourne, Toronto, Christchurch New Zealand, Shanghai, Yokohama Japan, Buenos Aries, Rio De Janeiro and Capetown, South Africa

In 1912, William Liddell supplies the White Star Line, owners of the RMS Titanic

The ship sets sail with the finest Irish damask linen on board
In 1919, William Liddell & Co employs over a thousand people, including 150 people from the local village

William Liddell commissions the build of new neighbourhoods around the factory site for his employees, as well as recreational facilities

This combined with a unique health scheme, shows his devotion to improving the lives of his workers

The company goes onto prosper through the Great Depression and the Second World War, when linen is in high demand

The Donaghcloney factory is put on a war contract to help produce ammunition for the front line, whilst unbleached linen is used to cover the control services of military aircrafts

By the 1950s Liddell has high profile customers such as The Dorchester Hotel in London, the B.O.A.C Comet 4 world’s first passenger jet and the SS Orsova, the fastest liner of the time
However during the 190s, an industrial shift if happening… with many factories moving production abroad to lower-wage countries such as India, Bangladesh and China

1961 – William Ewart & Sons receives a visit from the Queen during her tour of Northern Ireland. Just 11 years later William Ewart & Sons will merge with William Liddell

1973 William Liddell merges with William Ewart & Sons, ending one of the largest rivalries in linen trade history

They seek to join forces to combat the decline of the Irish linen industry. The company renames to Ewart Liddell

In the 1980s Ewart Liddell is going strong and digresses into the retail trade. Liddell’s finest Irish linen can be bought in Harrods UK and Bloomingdales in the US

Customers include luxury hotels such as Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Savoy in London, as well as 14 of the world’s major international airlines

In 1999, the company is asked to provide the linen for the world famous Burj Al Arab 7 star hotel

2004 Ewart Liddell having suffered from a lack of investment and finally bowing to competition abroad, begins to struggle…

…but with a prestigious customer base and reputation for quality the company is quickly snapped up

Ewart Liddell is acquired by Hilden Manufacturing Ltd, based in Lancashire, England

Established in 1874, Hilden is a similarly rich textiles business and played a key part in the cotton boom of the 19th and 20th centuries

2008 Vision Support Services Group Ltd acquires Hilden and Liddell on its quest to unite the world’s leading luxury textiles suppliers

2013 Liddell unveils collections at The Dorchester – revisiting the hotel for a three day experience, showcasing the finest collections of bed, bath, spa and table linen

By 2014, the Vision group has a concrete network of global operations including over 50 manufacturing partners and 20 distribution partners

Using this unique global sourcing network, Liddell linen is taken to the four corners of the globe – trading in five out of seven continents worldwide

2015 Customers include the Atlantis Palm, Dubai, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, the Hilton Group, Shangri La Hotels & more

2015 Liddell’s finest Irish linen is sold in luxury UK department store, John Lewis Sloane Square and Jashanmal in Dubai

The Liddell name is fully integrated into the Vision group, becoming Vision’s leading luxury product brand, servicing some of the most prestigious hospitality and retail clients in the world

2016 Liddell celebrates its 150th anniversary as a luxury linen supplier, over the past 150 years, the brand has never changed its core proposition…

…Or its promise of luxury to the customer

Today… Liddell produces the finest luxury linen for the world’s most exclusive hotels, spas and restaurants. Operating with the passion and knowledge passed down through 15 decades of experience

To be continued…

The History of Luxury Linen Supplier Liddell