St Edmundsbury Weavers 1900-1920s

During the 1920’s there was little business and by 1927 James Morton of Morton Sundour approached Edmund, with an offer to buy the company. He had in mind a new enterprise in Edinburgh called Edinburgh Weavers to produce high quality expensive woven furnishing fabrics with a modern look ‘to evolve decorative fabrics suited to modern civilization’.***
It was surprising that Morton choose the Hunters, steeped in the hand-loom, fine-silk jacquard tradition, to help him. He admired ‘the fine skill of weave. sensitivity of colouring and directness of design that their products showed” .*** Alec and his wife Margaret moved to Edinburgh to establish a small weaving unit to explore the links between textiles and architecture. He developed a range of modern hand-woven textiles, initially produced at Letchworth, but the business was damaged by the slump of 1930. The looms were moved to Carlisle where most of Morton Sundour fabrics was situated.  Both Edmund and Alec’s services were reluctantly dispensed with. Edmund retired to Hampstead Garden Suburb. Alec’s technical skills were enthusiastically appreciated when he joined Warner and Sons at Braintree, Essex in 1932, first as a designer and in 1943 becoming a Director, staying until he retired.

 

*Yeats and Women edited by Deirdre Toomey, 1998. See the Chaper
‘The Music of Heaven’ Dorothea Butler.  Warwick Gould p 132….

I would suggest that the banner was applique and not woven, which would have been too costly. The majority of banners were worked in this technique.

** William Butler Yeats.  Anthony Bradley (Unger)

***  Three Generations in a Family Textile Firm.  Jocelyn Morton. Routledge & Kegan Paul. London 1971 p 297

**** The Silk Journal, 1927 (British Library)

The St Edmunsbury Weaving Works. Leaflet from The Garden City Collection Study Centre, Letchworth, Hertfordshire. 1981

Jackson, Lesley 20th Century Pattern Design. Textile & Wallpaper Pioneers.  Mitchell Beazley 2002.

The Studio, Issue 165, Vol 39 St Edmundsbury Weaving Industry.

Yeats. A Life Foster, R F.

You can see St Edmundsbury fabrics at the Letchworth Garden City Collection Study Centre, Hertfordshire; the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Several of Edmund's pieces were exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum's 1952 Exhibition of Victorian and Edwardian Decorative Arts. The Warner Textile Archive, Braintree, Essex has Alec Hunter designs.

My thanks to The Garden City Study Centre, Letchworth for permission to reproduce photos:

Page 1- nos 1,2,3; Page 2 - no 2; Page 3- 1,3; Page 4- 1,2,3

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