Ward, Sturt & Sharp was a hosiery manufacturing company.
The origins of the firm go back to 1801, when John Ward and James Sharp established a hosiery business in Belper, Derbyshire called Ward, Sharp & Co. The company soon opened a warehouse in London where the products made in Belper could be sold.
Following financial problems, William Ward invited George Brettle to join the partnership in 1803 and the firm was renamed Ward, Brettle & Ward.
Prosperity soon returned and by the end of the decade the company was employing 1000 people. Another warehouse was opened in Wood Street to supply London’s drapers with cloth, hosiery, haberdashery and blankets. By the end of the 1830s, Ward, Brettle & Ward was one of the biggest hosiery firms in the country.
The death of William Ward in 1833 left the company in the hands of Brettle alone, and he renamed the business George Brettle & Co.
The Ward family, excluded from the business but still in possession of the premises in Belper, set up the company Ward, Sturt & Sharp with John Ward’s brother-in-law John Sturt. In the mid-1830s the factory in Belper was producing well over a million pairs of stockings every year.