Document ReferenceWTA
TitleRecords of the Wholesale Textile Association, 1912-1964, and the Textile Distributors Association, 1964-2001; 1895-2000
Extent21 boxes
AbstractThe collection comprises records of the Wholesale Textile Association and its successor, the Textile Distributors Association, including signed printed minutes, accounts, annual reports and printed works, along with associated organisations the Federation of Wholesale and Industrial Distributors and the Wholesale Distributors Association.
Access ConditionsThe bulk of the collection is accessible to all readers. However, access to some items is restricted under current Data Protection legislation. Please see our Access Policy or contact us for further advice.
Admin HistoryThe Wholesale Textile Association was formed in London in 1912. It was a federation of several historic textile trade associations and textile wholesalers based almost exclusively in the City of London. The function of the wholesalers was to acquire textiles in bulk from manufacturers, taking risks on the stock, and then selling it on in manageable sizes to retailers. By 1914, wholesalers from other parts of London and other towns in the United Kingdom were represented, including Nottingham.

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

The Association thrived in the 1930s but after the second world war the development of chain stores 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 textile giant Courtaulds acquired many of the larger surviving wholesalers.

The Wholesale Distributors Association was set up in 1946 to serve the distribution sector of the industry but on 1 January 1964 the Wholesale Trade Association became the Textile Distributors Association representing both wholesalers and distributors.

The Federation of Wholesale and Industrial Distributors (FWID) was formed in 1950, representing a range of national trade organisations from the non-food sector, including electrical goods, footwear, musical instruments, and machine tools. It played a role in co-operating with the government in the transition from Purchase Tax to VAT, and was consulted by various government departments and the European Economic Commission, acting to protect the interests of wholesalers and industrial distributers. The TDA were members, and it was also based at Berners Street, London.

The Textile Distributors Association was wound up in 2001 when membership dwindled to eight. In the same year, the trustees of the Association decided to put surplus funds into education.
Custodial HistoryThe collection was given to The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections on three occasions between January 1997 and July 2000.
DescriptionThe collection comprises:

Memoranda and articles of association of the WTA and TDA, January 1926-January 1964 [WTA 1].

Signed minutes of WTA council meetings with an index to some, March 1912-November 1993 [WTA 2].

Signed minutes of WTA committee meetings with an index to some, March 1912-December 1990 [WTA 3].

Ledger of Textile Distributors Association subscriptions, 1963-1999 [WTA 4].

WTA/TDA Staff Training Course (Summer School) handbooks; 1948-1968 [WTA 5].

Annual reports and accounts of the WTA/TDA, 1913-1996 [WTA 6].

'Weekly Review of the Wholesale Textile Association' and 'Weekly Review: The private bulletin for members of the Textile Distributors Association', February 1940-December 1999 [WTA 7-8]. Vols 9-12, January 1972 to December 1975, are not present. Vol. 6 issue 19 of the Weekly Review copies the text of a speech which gives information about the origins of the Wholesale Textiles Association. Also Export Bulletins, a supplement to the Weekly Review, for the period 1969-1971. Vols 1-793, and 935 onwards are missing.

Staff training lectures, or Trade Talks, held under the auspices of the Wholesale Textile Association Staff Training Committee, October 1939-January 1949 [WTA 9].

Other printed items published by the association, 1930-c.1980 [WTA 10].

A small number of TDA files, 1920-1993 [WTA 11].

The Textile Distributors Association ink stampers; c.1964 - 2001 [WTA 12].

Newspaper cuttings and WTA Golden Jubilee album of cuttings; Nov. 1933 - Jul. 1964 [WTA 13].

British Standards and books published by other organisations; 1895-1968 [WTA 14].

Signed printed meeting minutes of the Wholesale Distributors Association (WDA), December 1946-January 1947 [WTA 15].

Minutes, bulletins, files, etc., of the Federation of Wholesale and Industrial Distributors (FWID), 1967-1990 [WTA 16].

Bundle of papers and documents relating to the Commission of the European Countries and the British Importers Confederation; 1980 [WTA 17].

The collection, particularly the printed minutes and the WTA/TDAs published 'Weekly Review', provides a valuable record of the proceedings and activities of the association. Its representation of wholesalers and distributors from small independent operators to giants such as Courtaulds is reflected in these records. The records reflect the changes taking place in the textile industry in the twentieth century and the issues impacting on small business, such as Sunday trading, use of casual staff, VAT, European legislation, customer protection, etc.

Visual material can be found in the printed volumes and newspaper cuttings, but the 'Weekly Reviews' are not illustrated.
MgtGroupTrade Union and Trade Associations
ArrangementThe collection has been divided by document types into 17 series. Within these series, items have been arranged chronologically.
TermTextile industry - Great Britain
Clothing trade - Great Britain
Trade associations - Great Britain
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript catalogue, 39 pp. Online: Catalogue available from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1285Wholesale Textile Association
NA1286Textile Distributors Association
NA1285Wholesale Textile Association
NA1286Textile Distributors Association
NA1287Wholesale Distributors Association
NA1288Federation of Wholesale and Industrial Distributors
PL456/City of London/London/England
PL456/City of London/London/England
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