The Fox Brothers
Born into a family with a rich heritage in the textile industry it was almost inevitable that Thomas Fox would become an apprentice aged just 14 to his maternal grandfather, Thomas Were, a woollen merchant from Wellington in Somerset.
In 1796, aged 49, Thomas Fox took control of the family business and, despite a decline in the industry at the time, he had plans to improve the business and the machinery it used. It was his idea to purchase and renovate Coldharbour Mill.
He married Anna Were and they had 15 children of which two of their seven sons, Thomas and Edward would become known as the Fox Brothers and would continue to expand the family business, employing over 5000 people.
As part of a Quaker family, Thomas Fox believed in looking after people. He built a steady workforce, sometimes with different generations of the same family working together at the mill. One of his notable acts was that he would not employ children younger than 8 years old, even though other companies employed children as young as 4.
He also acquired around 70 cottages near Coldharbour Mill to provide reasonably priced accommodation for his workers and established a “Working Men’s Institute” in Uffculme for “Recreation and Improvement” which still exists today.
Five generations later, descendants of the Fox family still live in Wellington, with the house Thomas Fox owned still in the family’s possession.
Following the successful involvement of local investor Deborah Meaden, the brand lives on today weaving for some of the worlds leading luxury brands. www.foxflannel.com/