Exhibition to celebrate 19th-generation family business

By Attracta Mooney

Getting a family business to survive past the third generation is a difficult task, it is often said. But not for one British company - John Brooke and Sons is currently in its 19th generation.

The Huddersfield-based business, which can trace its history back to 1541, will soon be celebrated in a new exhibition called A Story of a Yorkshire Mill: 400 Years of Cloth Making.

Brookes stopped manufacturing wool cloth in 1987, amid competition from low-cost countries, but the business has since diversified and the mill has been transformed into an office park, which includes North Light Film Studios and North Light Gallery.

Company director Mark Brooke said the new exhibition, set to open on 4 October, will honour those who have worked in the mill, as well as celebrate the business’s impact on community life.

As for the Brooke’s Mill’s future, Brooke remains broadly optimistic. “The recession is a difficult time to run a family business, but we’ve known booms and busts in the past and survived them. We’re hoping to carry on for years to come,” he told CampdenFB.   

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