45 jobs go as Huchnall textile firm closes

Bamkins factory, Hucknall.
Bamkins factory, Hucknall.

Around 160 years of manufacturing history has come to an end in Hucknall following the closure of one of the town’s longest-established companies.

Administrators were called in to try and save one of Hucknall’s oldest companies earlier this month, but a buyer could not be found and the company has now closed its doors with a loss of 45 jobs.

Workers at textile company, FJ Bamkin and Son, have been made redundant and administrators are now in the process of selling off company assets to claw money back for creditors.

Specialising in the production of heavy duty socks, the King Edward Street family business supplied the retail and outdoor sectors, as well as the Ministry of Defence, and brands such as Barbour and Blacks.

Administrator John Lowe, from Begbies-Traynor said the company had been refinanced last year, but had been hit by cashflow problems due to the closure of a key supplier.

He told the Dispatch: “We were unable to find a buyer for the business, despite talking to a number of interested parties and FJ Bamkin and Son has now closed and the workforce have been made redundant.

“The business was refinanced last year but trading remained difficult and when a key supplier to Bamkin went into insolvency in February this significantly disrupted production, restricted cashflow and contributed to the failure of this historic Hucknall business.

“The directors very much regret the action they have had to take but felt they had no other options.

“We will now attempt the sale of all assets, including the company name and key brands to maximise revenue for the creditors.”

Ashfield District and Notts County councillor, John Wilmott, spoke of his shock at the news this week.

This is very sad news for Hucknall as many local people have worked there over many years,” said Coun Wilmott. “The regeneration of the town and new jobs is a priority for both councils and the newly formed I Love Hucknall town team.”

The company was formed by Sarah Bamkin, the great-grandmother of previous managing director Andrew Hamilton, and was once located in a large barn at the back of a house on the former Whyburn Street, Hucknall.

According to company records, Andrew Hamilton stepped down in 2012 and the four directors, listed at the time of closure, are Alexander Hamilton, Stuart Hamilton, Victoria Bowen and Kevin Hurst.

In her book, ‘Factories and Fabrics - A Look at the Textile Industry in Hucknall’, local historian Maureen Newton said the business moved to new premises on Portland Road in around 1928, where it remained into the 1990s.

Family member Cecilia Dixon, who was responsible for the production of socks, worked tirelessly despite having nine children and for years there was always a baby in a basket at the factory.

Bamkin have always made heavy-gauge socks and, as Hucknall was in a mining area, hose for pitmen was also produced.

During the Second World War, Bamkin shared their premises with Rolls-Royce and made socks for the war effort.

By the mid-1980s the company were celebrating record turnovers and their first major export order to the United States, worth more than £65,000. Record sales of over £1 million were achieved in 1987.

In November 1995, Princess Anne toured the factory as president of the British Knitting, Clothing and Export Council and president of the Save the Children Fund.

Bamkins bought the old Jaeger factory on King Edward Street, Hucknall, in June 1998 and invested £150,000 in new hi-tech equipment.

Paul Talbot, from the textile workers union Community said they had not been involved with redundancy negotiations. However, administrators said redundancy payments would be met from Government funds.