Thursday, 4 December 2014

Shoddy in Khaki

From the Huddersfield Examiner, Thursday December 3, 1914.



The recent criticism in the House of Commons by Sir Joseph Watson regarding the quality of khaki made in “the home of shoddy” was referred to at a meeting of the Dewsbury Chamber of Commerce, which was attended by Sir Mark Oldroyd, who explained that he was willing to be catechised by any member of the Chamber.

He added that there was some foundation for the allegations regarding the inferior quality of some of the khaki supplied, but it was not sent from the Heavy Woollen District, and Sir Joseph Watson’s insinuation was that the Heavy Woollen District should be avoided.

In the course of a discussion it was freely admitted that khaki, which had been submitted by manufacturers to the War Office and rejected, had afterwards been accepted from other quarters for the use of the Territorials.  It was, however, stoutly denied that the cloth in question came from the Heavy Woollen District, one member asserting that it was made in the Leeds District.

It was further stated that more wool had been used in the Heavy Woollen District during the past two or three months than ever in the history of the trade, and as a proof that shoddy was not being used in making khaki, it was pointed out the whilst spinning machines were running night and day, rag machines for the manufacture of shoddy had practically nothing to do.

[Shoddy is cloth made from recycled wool, and Dewsbury was one of the main centres of production. The Heavy Woollen District is an area of woollen manufacture consisting of  Dewsbury, Batley, Heckmondwike, Ossett, and surrounding smaller towns.  It seems a typical reaction to say that poor quality cloth must have come from  Leeds, i.e. blame the neighbours.]        

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