John Smedley Ltd
Business Address: John Smedley Ltd, Lea Mills, Lea Bridge, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5AG
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About John Smedley Ltd
Just 13 years after Richard Arkwright develops the first water-powered spinning mill, Peter Nightingale and his associate John Smedley established John Smedley as an enterprise at the original mill in Lea Mills.
Lea Mills was founded in 1784 by Peter Nightingale (a relation of Florence Nightingale) and John Smedley. It was set up on a hilly site straddling a brook at Lea Bridge, just outside Matlock. The brook was used to both clean yarn and power machinery.
The mill specialised in the production of muslin and spinning cotton to send out to local cottages with hand frame looms. Towards the end of the 18th century, the company had extended its activities to include knitting and hosiery manufacture - said to be the origin of Long Johns. By this time, John Smedley was running the business alone.
Today, Lea Mills remains open and an operational building, manufacturing the company's range of designer knitwear.