James Marriott and Sons Ltd
Marriott's Mount Mills (copyright Aerofilms Ltd).
Dates of operation: 1904
Origins and history
The Marriott family were involved in the woollen industry in
Witney for hundreds of years. A William Marriott is known to
have been working in the trade locally in 1628, and over 300
years later the family was still making blankets. John Marriott
(born 1708) was so successful in the family business that he
became known locally as the 'Great Blanket Maker' and was
elected Master of the Company of Blanket Weavers in 1766.
From the 17th century we can find examples of the Marriott and
Early families working together as well as examples of the two
By the early 19th century the Marriott family's only connection
with blanket manufacturing was in dyeing, their other
occupations being coal merchants and farmers. As the major
manufacturers took on more business in-house, however, the
Marriott's ceased even to be dyers during the second half of the
19th century .
James Marriott decided to re-enter the blanket business in 1897
and began to build Mount Mill which was completed in 1901, only
three years before his death. His four sons succeeded him in the
business and by 1909 Marriott's had became a private limited
company, although it was still very much a family firm in
character. Marriott's became a public limited company in 1948,
three years before Early's .
In October 1960 Marriott's concluded negotiations with Early's
to merge and become Charles Early and Marriott (Witney) Ltd.
Products and operations
Marriott's generally concentrated on the wholesale blanket
business, in contrast to Early's who tended to deal with retail.
Some of their blankets were tabbed with a 'Marriott's' label
rather than the name of their customers though, so presumably a
proportion were made for the retail trade. Unlike some other
Witney blanket makers Marriott's only made blankets and no other
Marriott's operated mainly from Mount Mill, adjacent to Witney
railway goods station, which was a fully integrated factory that
dealt with all the processes of blanket making. From 1924
however, they also acquired Worsham Mill, which they used mainly
for willeying, spinning and warehousing. Worsham Mill came into
its own after the fire at Mount Mill in 1953, when it was
pressed into use for carding, spinning and warping while Mount
Mill was being refitted.