Project Description

After Abraham


A photograph from one of WH Laverton’s family holidays. Copyright Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre.

Abraham Laverton did not have any children to inherit his business, so when he retired in 1880, he passed his entire estate to his nephew, William Henry Laverton. By this time, the business was worth £648,000 (around £75 million in today’s money).

WH Laverton was not as technically qualified as his uncle, so another employee, JS Hoare, son of a London wool merchant, was promoted to partner the firm. The pair changed what the mills produced, moving away the fine cloth Abraham preferred to equally high quality ‘worsteds’, a heavier cloth that did not require carding or fulling. Arthur H Hoare, JS Hoare’s son, joined A Laverton & Co Ltd. in 1901, and took over the business when WH Laverton and JS Hoare retired in 1913.
However, the since the turn of the century, the business had been struggling. There was a brief upturn during 1914-1918 as the mills produced cloth for military uniforms during World War One, but in 1921 the business failed. To help save the business, WH Laverton moved from his home, Leighton House, which was sold as an asset to the business.


A fabric sample from an A Lave


WH Laverton (third from right) and family on holiday in Scotland. Copyright Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre.

Following its failure, A Laverton & Co Ltd. reformed; steam power was replaced by electricity, and mills were specialised – Angel Mill focused on weaving, and Bitham Mill on spinning. A Laverton & Co Ltd. continued operating until 1969, when it went into liquidation. The business was wound down and its buildings and machinery sold.

Much like his predecessors, AH hoare strove for quality, and the cloth produced in this period was considered the best in the world.

A Laverton & Co Ltd. produced cloth used for military uniforms in World War One.


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