Records of Dalkeith Knitwear Ltd, 1953-1985

Scope and Content

The collection comprises:

  • Memoranda and articles of association, September 1960-May 1967 (BDA 1).
  • Draft agreements, 1953-1969 (BDA 2).
  • Annual accounts, December 1962-December 1985 (BDA 3).
  • Annual general meeting agenda papers, May 1968-May 1978 (BDA 4).
  • Reports, 21 March 1963-February 1978 (BDA 5).
  • Administrative records, 1974-1976 (BDA 6).
  • Correspondence, January 1963-May 1977 (BDA 7).
  • Subject files, 1968-1978 (BDA 8).
  • Printed product catalogues, 1966-1978 (BDA 9).
  • Pension and assurance scheme booklets, 1962-1973 (BDA 10).
  • Assorted printed, typescript and manuscript papers about the company, 1964-1979 (BDA 11).
  • Photographs, c.1964-c.1979 (BDA 12).
  • Newspaper cuttings, 1965-1978 (BDA 13).
  • Personal papers of Dennis Walton, 1963-1983 (BDA 14-15).

The records in this collection are essentially the private papers of Dennis Walton and relatedirectly to his management of the company's factory in Alfreton and the marketing of its products.Despite the absence of formal meeting minutes and a comprehensive run of annual reports andfinancial statements, the collection provides a good record of the firm's constitutional history,business activities and products during the period when Dennis Walton was managing director,1963-1979. The collection has general relevance for studies of the British clothing industry duringthis period. The product catalogues and fashion photographs would support research into fashion orclothing design history.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alfreton Knitting Mills was incorporated on 11 January 1951 by Mr Walter Hambleton and a group oflocal people. The company began operating in a disused schoolroom in Alfreton, Derbyshire usingknitting machinery that dated from the 1890s. In 1958, the company purchased land in NottinghamRoad, Alfreton and the creation of a new purpose-built factory commenced. The firm expanded itsproduction and entered the Canadian market in 1953 through the efforts of Mr Fred Edy of what becameDalkeith Agencies Ltd, Canada.

Alfreton Knitting Mills changed its name to Dalkeith Knitwear Ltd soon after Dennis Walton tookover as managing director in April 1963. In 1964, the company merged with Dalkeith Agencies Ltd, itsCanadian agents. Also in 1964, the firm extended its premises on Nottingham Road and equipped itwith Bentley-Cotton knitting machines. At this stage, it employed 470 people, over 400 of whom werewomen.

The company used fine gauge machinery (mainly 27 gauge machines that produced a greater yarncount) to manufacture premium knitted garments such as sweaters made from high quality yarns.

In 1965, the firm bought Hawick Knitwear Ltd, a manufacturer of lambswool and cashmere knitwearwhich had been incorporated on 11 January 1928. Hawick Knitwear Ltd was sold to Jaeger's Hawicksubsidiary in 1983-84 and closed.

Dalkeith Knitwear Ltd merged with Coats Paton (UK) Ltd in 1969, becoming part of Coats Paton'sKnitwear Division along with Donaldson Brothers (Alloa 1937) Ltd (Donbros), Herbert L. Driver Ltd,Jaeger (Holdings), and D. Byford Ltd.

Dennis Walton was managing director with Dalkeith at Alfreton from 1963 to 1979. He was born inWatford, Hertfordshire in 1920 and studied for a degree at Emmanuel College Cambridge. The secondworld war interrupted his studies and he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in March 1941. Hewon the Military Cross during an attack in Italy in 1944 and he ended the war as a regimentalsecond-in-command with the rank of major. After the war, he completed his degree and joined TootalBroadhurst Lee, a Manchester based textile firm, as a production management trainee. He left, asspecial adviser to the board, after 17 years to join Dalkeith as managing director.

While at Dalkeith, Walton became president of the Nottingham and District Hosiery Manufacturers'Association and remained a member of the Territorial Army until 1967. He was married and had twodaughters.


The collection has been divided into 15 series by document type. Within these series, items haveusually been arranged chronologically where it has been possible to date items.

Conditions Governing Access

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers with theexception of a few files containing personal information that are restricted at present (BDA14/3-4).

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection and copyright on the description belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must besought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and SpecialCollections (email Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but this can be difficult and theresponsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishingto publish.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The collection was given to The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts in twoparts; in December 1986 and October 1987. It contains records accumulated and kept by Dennis Waltonduring his time as managing director of the company. The existence or whereabouts of other recordsrelating to the company are unknown to the department.