This section of the website covers two distinct eras of carpet making in Axminster.
From 1755 until 1835 Thomas Whitty and his family made hand-knotted carpets on special vertical looms which had been designed by Thomas himself. These early carpets were individually designed for the houses and palaces where they were to be installed, and the link above will take you to descriptions of some of the more famous carpets that they made, as well as accounts of various key events and stages in the business, up to and including the bankruptcy of Thomas’ grandson, Samuel Ramson Whitty, in 1835. This was followed by the sale of the factory and looms a year later. This important aspect of Axminster’s heritage provides the major focus for the exhibits in the Axminster Heritage Centre.
In 1937, 101 years after the sale of the original Whitty carpet factory, Axminster’s second carpet-making era got under way when Harry Dutfield moved here from Kidderminster with a small handful of trusted and skilled carpet makers with whom he had been working for several years. The Dutfield family’s stewardship of Axminster Carpets Ltd ended in 2016, but the factory continues to work under new ownership.
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