Records of the Wholesale Textile Association and the Textile Distributors Association,1913-1999

Scope and Content

The collection comprises:

  • Memoranda and articles of association, January 1926-January 1964 (WTA 1).
  • Signed minutes of council meetings with an index to some, March 1912-November 1993 (WTA 2).
  • Signed minutes of committee meetings with an index to some, March 1912-December 1990 (WTA 3).
  • Signed printed meeting minutes of the Wholesale Distributors Association, December 1946-January1947 (WTA 4).
  • Minutes of the Federation of Wholesale and Industrial Distributors, January 1977-May 1987 (WTA5).
  • Annual reports and accounts, 1913-1996 (WTA 6).
  • 'Weekley Review', February 1940-December 1999 (WTA 7-8).
  • Printed trade talks, October 1939-January 1949 (WTA 9).
  • Other printed items published by the association, 1930-c.1980 (WTA 10).
  • Case files, September 1984-October 1993 (WTA 11).
  • Ink stamps (WTA 12).
  • Newspaper cuttings (WTA 13).
  • Printed books published by other organisations (WTA 14).

The collection, particularly the printed minutes and the association's published 'Weekly Review',provides a valuable record of the proceedings and activities of the association. Its representationof wholesalers and distributors from small independent operators to giants such as Courtaulds isreflected in these records. The records reflect the changes taking place in the textile industry inthe twentieth century.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Wholesale Textile Association was formed in London in 1912. It was a federation of severalhistoric textile trade associations and textile wholesalers based almost exclusively in the City ofLondon. The function of the wholesalers was to acquire textiles in bulk from manufacturers, takingrisks on the stock, and then selling it on in manageable sizes for retailers. By 1914, wholesalersfrom other parts of London and other towns in the United Kingdom were represented, includingNottingham.

The Association was incorporated on 11 January 1926 and was affiliated to the London Chamber ofCommerce operating from its offices in Cannon Street, City of London. The association was formed topromote the wholesale textile industry in the United Kingdom through exhibitions, publication, tradeconferences, and research. It was divided into committees for specialised fields such as men's andchildren's clothing, and overalls.

The Association thrived in the 1930s but after the second world war the development of chainstores and mail order shopping meant that retailers were able to buy stock in bulk themselves,removing the need for wholesalers. The textile wholesale trade declined in the 1960s and textilegiant Courtaulds acquired many of the larger surviving wholesalers.

The Wholesale Distributors Association was set up in 1946 to serve the distribution sector of theindustry but on 1 January 1964 the Wholesale Trade Association became the Textile DistributorsAssociation representing both wholesalers and distributors. The Association was wound up in 2001when membership dwindled to eight. In the same year, the trustees of the Association decided to putsurplus funds into education.


The collection has been divided by document types into 14 series. Within these series, items havebeen arranged chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.

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

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 is often difficult andthe responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the personwishing to publish.


Custodial History

The collection was given to The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and SpecialCollections on three occasions between January 1997 and July 2000.