This record is held by Oldham Local Studies & Archives

Details of D-AAJ
Reference: D-AAJ

These records were donated to Oldham Museum with a number of artefacts relating to R R Whitehead and Brothers Limited, which have been retained by the Museum. The Museum's entry forms for them are numbers E1368 to E1370. There were also a number of items which were not felt to be suitable for preservation in the archives, and these have been passed on for inclusion in the Local Studies collection.


There is only a very small amount of material, and it can in no way claim to comprehensively represent the activities of the Royal George Mills. Nevertheless, these records do provide important evidence of the foundations of the company, and they include a photograph album, featuring the various processes carried out in the mills, and a very detailed inventory of the mill. Both of these items help to provide a highly informative snapshot of an industry which no longer exists in Oldham.

Date: 1799 -c.1980
Related material:

Oldham Local Studies:


R R Whitehead & Bros Ltd, product literature, 5 items (refs TJW)


R R Whitehead & Bros Ltd, letterhead (ref TJW)


Saddleworth Heritage by Bernard Barnes (ref FZ)


Early Woollen Mills in a Pennine Parish by Bernard Barnes (ref TJW:FZ)

Held by: Oldham Local Studies & Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

R R Whitehead and Brothers Limited

Physical description: 1 small box
Immediate source of acquisition:

Accession 2000-004 donated by David Paul for P & S Textiles of Bury via Oldham Museum

Administrative / biographical background:

History of R R Whitehead and Brothers Limited


R R Whitehead and Brothers Limited traced its origins back to the seventeenth century, when their farming ancestors began to act as woollen merchants or staplers in their native Saddleworth. In 1713, some of the family moved into Shaw Hall in Greenfield, and in 1822, William Whitehead joined his brothers, John Dicken and Edward at Oak View Mill, also in Greenfield. In 1837, William's four sons, Ralph Radcliffe, James Heywood, Francis Frederick and John Dicken, established a partnership under the name of R R Whitehead and Brothers to carry on business as woollen manufacturers and general traders and moved into the Royal George Mills, Greenfield.


The Royal George Mills were built in 1786 by James Harrop, John Smith and James Scholefield, originally under the name of Gibbs Mill. They had become the Royal George Mills by 1800, and were later recorded as being the property of James Harrop and Sons. This company had been declared bankrupt by 1826 and the mills were then operated until 1837 by Taylor, Son and Gibson.


In 1870, R R Whitehead and Brothers became a limited company. They specialised in the production of felts produced from wool, and also in the manufacture of flags. In 1932, they became part of Porritts and Spencer of Bury, who were, in turn, taken over by the Scapa Group in 1969. In 1980, further amalgamation took place with Bury Masco Industries and Cooper and Company, both of Brynmawr, South Wales. These concerns later closed. During the twentieth century, the Royal George Mills specialised in producing two types of felt; Taper Hammer Felt and Technical Felt. Taper Hammer Felt was used on the hammers in pianos, and the Royal George Mills were renowned for it throughout the world, exporting to Japan, Korea, China and Germany. Technical Felt was used throughout industry in a wide range of machinery. Work at the Royal George Mills gradually decreased throughout the 1990s and they finally closed in 1999.

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