Bringing the Textile Business Back to Norwich

19 07 2009

I have set myself a very large task, and I’m not sure I’m up to the job, but I’m going to give it one heck of a try. Norwich graduates textile students from at least three different schools every year. This means that the skills for a textile-based business are here, just as they were in the 1500’s when Norwich’s textile industries were going strong.

There are sheep being raised all over Norfolk, and the wool can be gotten for free aside from paying for the sheering.Otherwise, it is being burnt. True, by now, these sheep are not bred for the quality of their wool. I’m told that this makes a huge difference. But there is certainly no reason why sheep could not t be raised for fiber in the county, aside from it not being a profitable business. And why not?

Yes, back in the day, the textile industry was a back-breaking industry not known for being a good place of employment. But is there any reason that must be? There are new technologies such as computer controlled dobby looms that make it possible to weave all kinds of patterned fabric quite easily as a cottage industry. There are also new technologies for many of the other textile arts, everything from knitting to embroidery. Why aren’t we buying our clothing made to measure from local makers? Why are we settling for Pri-Mark with all the associated moral weight of abused workers in the far east?

Not that I have any of this high tech equipment. Like the song says, “I’m stuck like a dope with a thing called hope, and I can’t get it out of my mind!” I just know that everything needed is here, and with a little organization and pulling together, it should be possible to identify textile products that can be made profitably in Norwich.

Am I crazy? Am I tilting at windmills? After all, they are available in the area for tilting with, but I think I’ll need a rather tall horse. Where does one go for a grant to start up something like this? Who do I present my vision to? I’ve got all the BizFizz ideas to push me along, and in fact, this post amounts to a first draft of a press release. Would you read the story?

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