The Bradford Dyers' Association was registered on the 3rd December 1898. It was formed principally to acquire the businnesses of the various companies and firms engaged in the Bradford/ Yorkshire piece dyeing trade. The businesses that were originally acquired comprised of about 90 per cent of the Bradford piece dyeing trade (see details below), and were in the midst of the great textile industrial district of which Bradford was the centre. The goods passed from the manufacturers to the dyers and then to the merchants much more smoothly and with reduced costs. Amongst other advantages to be gained because of this amalgamation of interests, competition was reduced and experience and know-how was passed on by members of the board of directors who served as a consulting and advisory body available for each branch, and centralisation of the running of the Association meant lower administrative costs. Control of each firm was to remain in the hands of those who were responsible for it in the past, but managing directors were to retire from their present firms and companies and devote themselved solely to the business of the Association.
The value of the goods dyed annually by the Associated firms in 1898 amounted to around 12 to 15 million pounds. The number of people employed by the Association in 1898 was about 7,500, and the goods treated were in use in almost every household in the United Kingdom, besides being shipped to all parts of the world, from silk, mohair and wool as well as cottons. Other concerns were also acquired and by 1906 the Association had 37 branches in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
(The following were the original 22 firms to enter in to contracts (in 1898) with the Association for the sale of their businesses:- George Armitage Ltd, Bradford, William Ackroyd & Sons, Bradford, Bradford District Dyeing Co Ltd, Halifax, George Briggs & Sons, Cleckheaton, Craven Pearson & Co Ltd, Brighouse, Fountain Finishing Co Ltd, Bradford, W Grandage & Co Ltd, Bradford, Harry H Hall & Co Ltd, Guisely, Hunsworth Dyeing Co Ltd, Cleckheaton, Samuel Kirk & Sons, Leeds, John Mitchell & Co, Keighley, James Reffitt & Sons, Leeds, Edward Ripley & Son, Bradford, James & M S Sharp & Co Ltd, Low Moor and Heckmondwike, Shaw & Co Ltd, Shipley, John Shaw & Co Ltd, Bradford, Sam Shepherd & Co Ltd, Yeadon, Samuel Smith & Co, Ltd, Bradford, John H Stott & Co, Bradford, Thornton, Hannam & Marshall, Brighouse, Ward & Sons, Ltd, Halifax, Whitaker Bros & Co Ltd, Newlay. The Association took over the trace of all but two of the companies (not Harry H Hall of Messrs James and M S Sharp.)