There’s a sense of nostalgia as you approach the stone cobbles leading to the factory gates, with part of the factory housed in the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway cotton warehouse and the mill chimney’s in the distance, you could easily have been transported back in time.
Newhey village, on the outskirts of Manchester, has seen the demolition of Coral Mill where tubular bandages were woven for the NHS, making way for housing developments and the uplifting of the train line in 2009 to be replaced with the Manchester Metrolink, regenerating and reviving the area into a thriving place to live and work.
The company was established in 1968 by current company Chairman, Anthony Whitehead, as a traditional weaving operation manufacturing narrow-loom bespoke Axminster carpets. Anthony and his wife Josephine, current Company Secretary, have dedicated the last 50 years of their life to bring the company to its current successful position in the industry.
Initially concentrating on the domestic market, the company started out with two 27” wide Axminster looms, then the UK standard for carpeting, progressing to broadloom weaving in 1970. It was only in 1974 that Newhey launched their first narrow loom stock collection.
In 1998 Newhey progressed from producing their sampling by hand, to a new computerised method created by Modra Technology called Kibby. The Kibby sampling machine was originally developed for axminster carpet manufacturers who needed a machine to produce carpet samples quickly, efficiently and economically. In order to produce each 18” x 18” sample by hand, it would take around 5 hours, whereas the Kibby machine takes an hour. Over 180 units have been sold in over 20 countries around the world and allows almost infinite possibilities in design and colour to produce beautiful samples.
In 2002 Newhey installed their first Colortec machine and began to produce high speed patterned tufted carpets as well as traditional Axminster which they had manufactured for the previous 34 years.
With tufted production being a successful addition to company’s range of manufacturing techniques, Newhey made the biggest decision in their history, to remove Axminster from their production line, it was the end of an era.
In December 2008 Newhey installed the world’s first 4 metre wide hot melt carpet secondary backing line. This impressive backing system utilises a unique solvent free application process to apply the revolutionary evobac which is produced using post-consumer recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate). The development of this unique plant enabled the company to move away from traditional brittle hessian backing to a recycled softer material which has many benefits to the installer and end user, such as less wear on blades and skirtings and reduces the possibility of delamination, not to mention being kinder to the environment.
By this point, Newhey had really shown the industry what they were made of, but felt the addition of an 1/8th gauge Graphics Tufted machine would further strengthen their position in the market. This machine allows smaller geometric patterns to be tufted, unlike the colortec machine’s capabilities.
In 2014 Newhey launched Colortec Express allowing clients to choose from over 60 designs, recolour using their 290 colour tuft box, receive a sample within 48 hours and crucially all with 4 week manufacturing lead times. Supported by a fully interactive online design tool allowing users to search designs, re-colour and view in a host of 3D room settings, the whole collection is based around providing clients a fast and efficient service. Due to the popularity of the online design tool, Newhey decided to introduce graphics designs to the offering in 2018, therefore relaunched it simply as Newhey Express, along with a refreshed new look which offers a host of new functions.
Whilst interior designers are being influenced to use sustainable products Newhey launched their first ever eco-friendly stock range in 2015 called Natural Wool Collection which is manufactured using 100% undyed wools. All the yarns used showcase completely natural mountain sheep fleece colours with no colour dyes or chemical treatments applied during the process and only minimal scouring to clean off the natural grease in the fleece.
Newhey constantly embrace the very latest production techniques in order to deliver reliable, high performance products to their global customer base and will continue to reduce energy consumption in every aspect of their business.
Today, the company is still privately owned and operated by the second generation of the family. Anthony & Josie’s son’s Lees and Howard are joint Managing Director’s whilst their sister Emma is Marketing Manager and Lees’ wife runs the sales office.
With 2018 marking its 50 years in business, Newhey has seized every change and major shift in the carpet industry and turned it into an opportunity to evolve and remain an active and innovative partner for its clients which include InterContinental Hotel Group, Rezidor, Sheraton Grand, Mercure, Radisson, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Grosvenor Casino’s.