George Brettle & Co. Ltd.

George Brettle & Co. Ltd.

George Brettle & Co. Ltd. was a wholesaler of hosiery in Belper, Derbyshire.

The company had its origins in the hosiery business established by John Ward and James Sharp in 1801 in Belper. In 1803 George Brettle became a partner in the company which was renamed Ward, Brettle & Ward.

Business prospered, and by the end of the decade the firm employed 1,000 people and had opened a new warehouse in Wood Street, London to supply the city’s drapers with cloth, hosiery, haberdashery and blankets. By the 1830s the company was one of the biggest hosiery firms in the UK.

In 1833 George Brettle took full control of the business, which he renamed George Brettle & Co. The company became limited in 1914.

The 1920s saw a boom in the demand for hosiery and knitwear. George Brettle & Co. Ltd. extended their factory in Belper and a new factory was established in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Brettles growth declined following the Second World War.

In 1974 the company was acquired by Courtaulds and became Cortaulds Hosiery Ltd. By the 1970s, the factory in Belper was producing only knitted stockings and tights. In 1997 Chilprufe bought Brettles from the Courtaulds Group and production was moved to Leicester.