Our Heritage

The name Humphries Weaving has been at the pinnacle of high quality British custom fabric design for over 40 years.

The silk weaving industry, established in the 17th century was originally based around Spitalfields, Bow and Bethnal Green in London. In the early 19th century many workers and masters were forced to move away from this area to avoid heavy taxation imposed on them by the city. Locating themselves outside the geographical boundary but maintaining access to London for trade, the weavers settled in towns such as Braintree, Halstead and Sudbury, on the Essex and Suffolk border.

 

In 1966, Richard Humphries began his design apprenticeship under the tutelage of Frank Davies RCA at Warner and Sons Braintree, Britain’s leading silk weaving company at the time. Richard was to become the last to graduate from the design apprenticeship as five years later, Warner and Sons were taken over and subsequently closed the entire weaving operation, threatening the 300 year old silk hand weaving tradition.

Richard was just 20 years of age but with his entrepreneurial spirit, combined with his passion to continue being creative, he grasped the opportunity to start his own Silk Weaving company.

Encouraged by his uncle, he managed to raise what capital he could to save some hand looms, a few Jacquard cards and the Jacquard card cutting machine.

Established in 1972, Humphries Weaving started manufacturing in Ashburton Lodge, the very place they work from today on the historic Cornard Road, Sudbury, Suffolk. As the business flourished, Richard was able to move to Devere Mill, Castle Hedingham where he reinstated Jacquard looms. What started as a very small operation, was soon to become one of the country’s most prestigious and renowned silk weavers. The firm enhanced its reputation by undertaking orders for the refurbishment of the King’s Apartments at Hampton Court Palace and further expanded the business to a second site in Braintree, Essex.

By the year 2000, the company had adapted to remain competitive in the market and modernised its manufacturing processes, weaving with the latest loom technology. Today, Humphries Weaving is equipped to custom weave figured textiles in silk and many other sumptuous qualities, designing fabric for some of the most celebrated palaces, houses and national treasures both in the UK and internationally.