Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company

£26,000 grant funding from the Growing Business Fund for new looms and six jobs.

About Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company

Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company has boosted its productivity by 40% as a result of a grant which has helped to purchase a modern loom to help the company develop new fabric ranges.

Since 1903, Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company has created exquisite furnishing fabrics; designed, dyed, warped and woven with care.    Sudbury in Suffolk has been a centre of silk weaving since the arrival of French Protestant Huguenot weavers in the 19th Century. Gainsborough holds a Royal Warrant of Appointment and has supplied silk for the interior of Meghan and Harry’s wedding carriage and for palaces, art galleries and homes throughout the world.

However, the production of inexpensive, high quality polyesters to rival the look and feel of silk, has provided new competition for the company.  Managing Director, Emerson Roberts saw an opportunity to diversify.

The Vision

Emerson’s vision was to launch a number of new, inexpensive collections, which can be produced in higher volumes on a modern loom.  However, the cost of a second-hand loom, a Jacquard Harness to shape the design, upgrading the dye house and delivery and installation came to more than £160,000.

So, he contacted the New Anglia Growth Hub.  Working with Business Advisor Richard Glinn, the company undertook a rigorous process of evaluation and were given the green light to apply for a grant to support the development costs involved.  

“The Growth Hub provided fantastic support to our business.” said Emerson.  “It helped us secure a good proportion of the financing needed to take this business into the new markets we want to exploit.”

They were awarded a grant of £32,000 towards the costs.  This enabled Gainsborough to purchase the loom and has helped to create six additional roles, with a 40% increase in productivity.

Get in touch to find out how the New Anglia Growth Hub could help you.  Call 0300 333 6536 or email

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