A heritage of manufacturing and textiles forms the identity of much of West Yorkshire. With the canal came the mills and factories and with those came the workforce. The Industrial Revolution shaped the landscape and character of Yorkshire and to this day we maintain a strong willed work ethic of integrity, diligence and straight talking.
But that all began to change…
When globalisation entered the North’s modern lexicon, it was already too late. Once the jobs started drying up as we couldn’t compete with such reduced costs, the industries of the North began to slump. You can blame Thatcher, you can blame the global economy. Doesn’t matter. It’s done now.
Empty mills converted into flats and offices, some left derelict and abandoned. Even places like Leeds has an abundance of empty factories and industrial units. Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Bradford, Keighley. The list goes on. Textiles and manufacturing had had its day.
The regeneration of our area, seeing brands such as Burberry relocate to historic flax mills in Leeds, relies very much on the success of both small and large businesses. Small businesses carve out their own niche while larger entities arrive and co-opt a part of Northern identity, strengthening everyone’s position on the world stage.
Now, with the Chancellor talking of a Northern Powerhouse, we’ve been presented with a rarely acknowledged truth that we in the North have long held in our hearts: we are a capable, hard-working and potent workforce, ready to contribute and demonstrate what we can do. And we have been doing. Now we have the chance to step back up to the world stage.