Scabals Bower Roebuck Mill Visit

October 11, 2013

On Wednesday I visited two legendary companies, making some of the World’s finest fabrics. Nestled in the Yorkshire hills in a valley by a stream rests the Bower Roebuck mill owned by Scabal. Cloth making has flourished here for almost 500 years. It has supported generations of skilled Yorkshire people – many family names have remained on the pay roll since pre-Elizabethan times.

Within the mill, every manufacturing process is the personal responsibility of a craftsman who has previously served as an apprentice at the mill. Skills are passed on with great pride from each generation to the next.

The mill is a sensory explosion, the sounds, smells and sights are incredible. Coming from The Cotswolds, an area previously famed for its cloth production, but now more known for tourism, the fact that there is a pocket of the UK keeping the tradition alive is inspiring to see. The factory is a hive of activity, and a display of rich colours. There is no getting away from the fact however that is an industrial factory, the heavy grunting of machinery growls away in the background as we struggle to hear our tour guide, the factories design director, describe the intricate role that each machine performs. It’s difficult to comprehend how such large industrial machines, makes something as luxurious and beautiful as it does. The Bower Roebuck mill sources some of the world’s finest yarn before taking it through its journey to weave it in cloths finished in the UK by Johnsons, another family firm. This specialisation allows Bower Roebuck to focus on what they do best, weaving some of the finest fabrics in the world. The pictures below show the step by step processes required to make these celebrated fabrics.



 “Even With our high standard of machinery, another mill would not achieve what we do. Weaving is a technical skill, but the creation of the finest cloths is an art, as much a product of the eye and hand of the operator, as of the machine which moves the yarn”

The World’s leading designers, garment makers, merchants and tailors turn to Bower Roebuck to create elaborate and adventurous fabrics that enhance their latest styles. The Cotswold Tailor has recently teamed up with Scabal the owner of Bower Roebuck to start offering a selection of this fine fabric to our customers.

If you ever get a chance to hold a piece of Bower Roebuck cloth in your hand, you will understand what all of the fuss is about. Cool, fluid lengths, some so light you can barely feel them, others so smooth they feel as if they could melt in your hands, the depth of colours and the delicacy of the design, offers luxury beyond definition.


In 1938, Scabal had just 6 employees, today Scabal employs approximately 600 staff worldwide. Over the years, Scabal has evolved from a simple supplier of fabrics into a supplier of top quality fabrics to the most prestigious tailors and textile businesses around the world.

Each season, Scabal's designers develop 20 to 30 new fabric qualities and for each fabric, 30 to 40 new designs and colours. All fabrics are stocked at the Brussels headquarters.