Christy (towel manufacturer)

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Christy UK
Industry Home Textiles
Founded 1850
Founder William Miller Christy, Henry Christy
Products Towels

Christy (also known as Christy UK and Christy Towels) is a long-established manufacturer of household linens and is known as the inventor of the first industrially produced looped cotton (terrycloth) towel. It was founded in 1850 in the mill town of Droylsden, Lancashire (now part of Greater Manchester).


John Rylands Library archives show that the roots of the Christy company date back to at least 1833, when the Stockport firm of W.M. Christy & Sons Ltd – established by banker and hatter William Miller Christy – was manufacturing cotton goods. It was his son, the noted collector and ethnologist Henry Christy, who discovered the product that would make the company famous.[1] While travelling in Istanbul, he discovered an example of the looped pile fabric that we know today as terry towelling, but which was initially known as the 'Turkish towel'.[2] The company found a method of recreating the looped pile fabric on an industrial scale using a machine which was successfully patented. The first Christy towels factory opened in Droylsden in 1850. A year later, Christy towels were displayed at The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace and Queen Victoria became an early client.[3] By 1891, the company's Fairfields Mill in Droylsden had 310 looms and 30,000 spindles, according to Worrall's Cotton Spinners Directory.[2]

Christy was bought by Fine Spinners and Doublers in 1955, and became part of the Courtaulds group eight years later.[1] The company relocated from its Droylsden base to Hyde, Greater Manchester in the late 1980s.[4] When Courtaulds divested itself of its textile businesses in 2000, Christy was sold to a management buyout team.[5]

The company today[edit]

Christy became a subsidiary of Welspun India Ltd in 2006, shifting towel manufacturing from its base in Hyde, Greater Manchester to Gujarat in 2010. The company's UK headquarters was relocated to Cheadle in 2012.[3][6][7] In addition to retailing towels, bathrobes and bedlinen in stores throughout the UK, the company sells online and in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Notably, it supplies towels to Bloomingdale's.[7]

Christy also produces for other brands, including Harlequin and Agent Provocateur.[citation needed] The company has a long-term relationship with tennis, producing the towels used by players on court at Wimbledon since 1987. In 2012, the company produced over 99,000 Wimbledon towels, which are also sold to visitors to the tournament.[3]

In 2013 it was reported in The Times that only a third of the towels Christy supply to be used in the Championship are returned due to the players keeping the towels or throwing them into the crowd as a memento for loyal supporters.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b "ELGAR: Electronic Gateway to Archives at Rylands :: Search :: Results :: Display in Summary". 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  2. ^ a b "W. M. Christy and Sons". 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  3. ^ a b c "Wimbledon Throws in the Towel -". 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  4. ^ "Facts about Droylsden". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  5. ^ Fisher, Geoff (2000-09-20). "Courtaulds Dumps Furnishings, Towels; Walker Greenbank Buys Standfast, Weavestyle". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  6. ^ Nayan Dave, TNN Jun 29, 2011, 12.28am IST (2011-06-29). "Gujarat wipes away Wimbledon sweat n toil - Times Of India". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  7. ^ a b "Christy to relocate HQ to Cheadle". Manchester Evening News. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  8. ^
  9. ^

External sources[edit]