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W.M. Christy & Sons Ltd Archive

Date range: 1833–1966.

Records of W.M. Christy & Sons Ltd, the famous towel manufacturers from Droylsden, Manchester.

The company was founded by William Miller Christy in the early 1830s. He went into partnership with his sons in 1843, but the company owed its success to the Royal Turkish Towel with its looped surface, exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and favoured by Queen Victoria.

Christy & Sons underwent sweeping modernization programmes in the twentieth century in order to remain competitive.

In 1955 it was taken over by Fine Spinners and Doublers Ltd, and from 1964 until 2000 it was part of the Courtaulds Group.

It is now privately owned and continues to manufacture and retail high-quality towels.

Records include stock books and financial, legal and statutory documents, as well as some correspondence and an interesting series of patents and colourful samples of towel labels. 

The collection also contains histories of W.M. Christy & Sons and of the House of Christy in London.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library