Liddell History

Donacloney, at the heart of a global industry

The Company

The William Liddell Company was founded in 1866, a time when Belfast was the largest linen‑producing centre in the world. In 1908 the company took part in the British-Franco Exhibition and won the prestigious gold medal for bringing linen from field to home. In 1973 William Ewart & Sons and William Liddell & Co merged to become Ewart Liddell and were acquired as part of the Coats Viyella Group. At the turn of the century Baird McNutt bought the company renaming it Liddell Limited. In 2004 the company was acquired by Hilden Manufacturing Ltd. In 2008 Vision Support Services acquired Hilden and Liddell.

Donacloney Factory

The William Liddell was at the heart of a global industry.

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After the Second World War the Irish linen industry started to decline rapidly as the demand for cotton and easy-care fabrics increased. By 1964 one third of Northern Ireland’s mills had closed. In 1973 William Ewart & Sons and William Liddell & Co merged to become Ewart Liddell and were acquired as part of the Coats Viyella Group. In the 1980s Ewart Liddell underwent a major modernisation programme. During the 1980s and 1990s the company’s luxury linen products could be found in stores such as Harrods, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer and Bloomingdales in the US. The company’s international clientele continued to expand in the sales of linen tableware to airlines, including British Airways Concorde, Quantas, Emirates and Air New Zealand. Hospitality clients included Raffles Hotel, Singapore, The Mandarin Hotel, Hong Kong, and the Ritz Hotel, London.

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