The original 1919 factory was extended several times, and in 1939 a new large building was added for manufacturing. In 1954, a dye house was added on the opposite side of the road, next to the railway lines, but connected to the main building by a bridge over North Street. A modern office block was added adjacent to the railway in 1963.
A shortage of labour was a common feature of the industry after the war
and Aristoc suffered along with many other firms. A factory was set up at
Maltby in Yorkshire, in partnership with D Byford and Co of Leicester.
This remained a joint venture until 1952 when it was passed over to
Byfords. It was around this time that nylon became the preferred yarn for
stockings which then became generally described as 'nylons'.
In 1955, Aristoc also set up a factory on the Isle of Man. Although the firm
had built its reputation on the manufacture of fully-fashioned stockings,
it was responsive to fashion changes and began the manufacture of seamless
stockings. In 1961 it bought the Meridian knitting plant on the withdrawal
of that firm from the stockings industry.
In 1957 there were still three directors of the firm who were sons of the founders of the company. By 1966 responsibility had fallen on H E Williams, the elderly chairman, and the firm passed into the ownership of Courtaulds. Aristoc remained successful and was able to command the highest prices for its product. As a brand leader Aristoc was a useful acquisition for Courtaulds who needed customers for their own brand of nylon (Celon) and were able to use large quantities of that product. At the time of the takeover, Aristoc employed 1300 workers making hosiery.
Despite the loss of many famous brand names Aristoc survived to become Courtaulds' preferred brand name for stockings at the top end of the market, and this continued in 2000, under the new owners of the brand, Sarah Lee Corporation.
The factory site was demolished in 2002, and now forms a residential area
are grateful to Dorothy Hill for supplying names to the two girls with Josie
Sumner in the "Factory Girls" photograph.
Last modified on 13/12/09