After being founded in 1784 by Peter Nightingale, company John Smedley have since grown to become one of the most world renowned producers of fine gauge knitwear clothing worldwide.
With over 200 years of expertise under their belt, John Smedley has gone from strength to strength through the decades, solidifying itself as the world’s finest knitwear.
Established in Lea Mills, Derbyshire; the mill was the perfect location for the business, as the brook that ran through the village at the time provided power and a constant source of running water.
It was towards the end of the 18th century that the company extended its production line to include knitting and hosiery; around that same time, a Mr John Smedley had taken over and was running the business solo.
In 1825, Smedley’s 24 year old son took over and set about materialising his dreams for the company, expanding the business with the intention that all goods produced from start to finish should happen under one roof using only the finest quality raw materials available.
Upon his death in 1875, the business passed onto yet another John – this time a cousin – who, after his death left the company to his son, yet another John – John B Marsden-Smedley.
This fourth John was to remain the chairman for 70 years, during which time he revolutionised the company even further, installing the newest and most proficient knitting machines as well as honing the companies specialities.
Eventually, he extended the company’s production to incorporate swimwear and nightwear. As of right now, the company produces all manner of clothing items.
The company has since earned itself a number of accolades and is now world renowned producer of knitted products, satisfying customers in over 35 different countries worldwide.
Of its positive recognitions, the first was in 1960 where the company hosted a tour of the Lea Mills location for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth; a visit which granted John Smedley the title of official knitwear supplier to the Palace.
Over 50 years later, John Smedley’s royal appreciation was renewed and formalised, as the company received The Royal Warrant of Appointment, yet again from Her Majesty the Queen, as ‘Manufacturer of Fine Knitwear’.
The company has continued to go from strength to strength, working with a number of huge designers, including Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Prada.
More recently, In 2015 the brand saw their first ever London Fashion Week showcase which also announced the start of a new John Smedley womenswear joint label project with some of the country’s most promising design talent.
Written by Aaron Thompson