This film is part of Free

The Story of Viyella

A sheep-to-shop tour of production of the ultra-soft fabric in its Nottinghamshire birthplace.

1930 24 mins Silent


The awesome scale of a busy textile mill comes through in this fascinating promo film, which offers a unique step-by-step tour of the production process. Developed by William Hollins & Co, Viyella was an ultra-soft blend of merino wool and cotton, a "practical family fabric" also "extensively used by leading designers for the smartest fashions". Much of the production takes place at Hollins' Pleasley Works, near Mansfield, home to Viyella since the 1890s (not the 1780s, as one intertitle here misleadingly implies).

There are dramatic shots of imposing mill buildings as well as "the immense Weaving-Room of nearly one thousand high-speed automatic looms." Demand for Viyella was booming into the 1930s, even as the British textile industry was beginning to pass its peak, and the film shows off Hollins' expanding operation, with a glimpse of the Viyella garment factory in Nottingham. Unusually, this silent film has dual-language intertitles - in English and Spanish - demonstrating that the popularity of Viyella was truly international.