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About Us


About Empress Mills


The story began over 90 years ago when John Ball (my Grandfather) moved ‘over the border’ from Yorkshire to Lancashire to manage a mill producing yarns for the then thriving weaving trade. Ownership was in the hands of a few textile magnates whose idea was to have control of their own mills yarn supplies. Human nature got in the way – profit sharing was a huge issue – the mill faced failure!

At a meeting of creditors in 1927 John scraped together enough resources to buy the business which continued successfully with his daughter Kathleen and husband John until the 1970s when the weaving trade in the UK collapsed.

By this time my brother & I we were involved – very young, very enthusiastic, absolutely steeped in textiles. Our thinking was – the cloth isn’t woven here anymore but it is still ‘made-up’ – let’s make thread!

For 30 years we manufactured sewing threads which could be sewn at simply amazing speeds.

In the mid 2000s trade once again shifted with a move towards off shore sourcing of most stitched textile products. We are delighted to say our product range had by this time spread to include haberdashery, fabrics and accessories.

With the shift in the production industry we began to concentrate on supplying retail shops, schools, colleges, universities & other institutions.

Empress has adapted and changed throughout the years, and I am delighted to now be working with my son Charles as an equal shareholder, but we still maintain the core values that you would expect when dealing with a long established family company; superb service, complete honesty, great selection & keen pricing. We hope to be working with you and your organisation soon.

– Christine


2 thoughts on “About Us

  1. I cannot access your website. Your representative demonstrated some interested products on Hochanda tv. I would like to purchase some of the products that they do not sell. Can you help me? My phone no. is 01606 883464.

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