Monday, 29 January 2007

MEMORY LANE: George Weil & Sons Ltd

FIBRECRAFTS, as it is today, has taken more than 115 years to create. The story is the blending of two distinct family businesses set up by George Weil & Sons in 1891 and Anna Bowers in 1982.

George Weil was a Silk Merchant from Alsace in the border region of France and Germany, who moved to London to set up business trading in silk fabrics as linings to the fur trade. We still have his original copperplate hand written order books and cash book. The business was based around the fur auction rooms by the river Thames near St Paul’s Cathedral. It thrived, being handed from father to son and becoming a prosperous limited company in 1934.

In the 1970’s public opinion began to turn against fur coats, and the business first adapted by moving to the West End of London into the ‘rag trade’ area and selling a wider range of lining fabrics to the fashion shops. Later the Weils noted that they were making more fabric sales to individual artists as silk screen printers and then to silk painters. They extended their product range to include the DEKA silk, fabric and glass paints. DEKA were one of the first makers of these items, and the business still holds the UK distribution agency for these products. They also added the Sinotex silk fabric agency.

Recognising that London was an expensive base, and that mail-order was becoming increasingly popular the main part of the business moved to a warehouse in Reigate, leaving a fabric shop in London.

Do you remember George Weil & Sons Ltd all those years ago?

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