RECORDS OF NEEDLE INDUSTRIES AND ASSOCIATED COMPANIES.
1744 - 1980s
The archive comprises the records of two companies and their associates and subsidiaries. The majority of the material comes from Needle Industries Ltd that includes amongst others the records of Henry Milward & Sons Ltd. There is also a small amount of material relating to Aero Needles Group Ltd which included Abel Morrall Ltd.
The following collection was given to the Record Office in 1994 having previously been held at the Forge Mill Museum, Redditch. It comprises the records of various needle companies straddling the Warwickshire/Worcestershire border in the Redditch, Studley area.
A fire at the Redditch Works of Aero Needles in 1979 destroyed some records including Abel Morrall minute books from 1898 onwards. In 1989 ledgers, cash books and similar material, totalling 68 items, were deposited with Worcestershire County Record Office. Some further material relating to Abel Morrall and The British Needle Co Ltd (acquired by Abel Morrall) was transferred from Warwickshire to Worcestershire Record Office in 1997. The source of this collection appears to be different from the main archive deposited in Warwickshire Record Office.
Administrative / biographical background:
The two companies merged in 1987, operating under the name of The Needle Industries Group. The vast majority of this archive however predates this. The following pages include diagrams found in the collection which map out earlier amalgamations and include the names of many companies mentioned in the catalogue.
Of particular interest are the collection of deeds relating to the ownership of the original Washford Mill near Studley which dates back to 1744. Secondary sources suggest that the property was used as a needle mill by J& M Mills from 1780 to 1800 and then by Morrall, Archer & Morrall (an earlier incarnation of Abel Morrall Ltd.) until succeeded by Milwards & Son in the 1830s. A second Washford Mill was built in Redditch on a site purchased by Milwards in 1800. The original Washford Mill continued to be used as a scouring mill until the 1890s.