Tailors receive special business accolade for 150 years of success

Cleckheaton-born clothing company Sugdens
Cleckheaton-born clothing company Sugdens

Cleckheaton-born clothing company Sugden’s has had 150 years in business recognised by a special accolade at the Professional Clothing Awards.

Sugden’s was also highly commended in the Best Managed Contract (Major) category at the awards.

William Sugden first opened a tailors shop in his home town of Cleckheaton in 1869.

By the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, his two eldest sons had begun to produce their own shirts on a sewing machine in the back of their father’s shop. The business gradually evolved enough to a factory at Water Lane Mills in Cleckheaton and from there further factories were opened across Yorkshire.

In addition to factories, Sugdens acquired its own weaving mills to enable them to produce the cloth needed for garments.

During the first and second world wars, Sugden’s produced close to six million shirts and work suits for the armed forces.

The 60’s were a tough time for the company, by now a third generation family business. Despite supplying workwear to many distinguished companies including Ford Europe, Sugden’s were losing money. But the Sugden brothers formed a partnership with good friend Richard Donner of another Wakefield based, Double Two Shirts. The Sugden brothers focused on the workwear business until retiring in 1998 and 2001.

Recent achievements include the Queen’s Award for International Trade, while clients include St John Ambulance, BP, The Salvation Army and many UK police and fire services.

Richard Hopwood, group marketing executive, said: “Our future involves expansion into new markets in India and the Far East. With increased tourism there are increasing demands for smart corporate uniform from new hotels, for example. We also have a commitment to reduce our use of plastic and care for the environment.”