Obituary: William Halstead, textile industrialist

The death of William Halstead, at 64, has brought to a close a continuous family involvement in the regional textile industry which dated back nearly 150 years, to when a firm in Bradford was founded by his great-grandfather and his namesake.

William Halstead

The death of William Halstead, at 64, has brought to a close a continuous family involvement in the regional textile industry which dated back nearly 150 years, to when a firm in Bradford was founded by his great-grandfather and his namesake.

The first William Halstead started as a commission weaver on his own account in 1873, before moving to Tong Street to establish his business at Stanley Mills, where the business of William Halstead Limited still trades. His great grandsons worked there until it was sold in 2006.

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For the last 11 years William the younger continued the family tradition, working in Huddersfield as a director of Taylor and Lodge, travelling extensively around the world in the course of business.

His father, Bob Halstead, served two terms as president of the Confederation of British Wool Textiles and was also president of the Bradford Textile Society, as was William’s maternal grandfather, Geoffrey Peel, whose own father, Abram Peel, was Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1916 and founder of Abram Peel Bros and Robinson and Peel, woolcombers.

Bob’s grandfather, James Grimshaw, was a textile man too, heading up the firm of Wood and Grimshaw, woollen manufacturers of Gomersal, renowned for the creation of the cloth still used in grey flannels bearing the 232 brand.

Educated at Woodhouse Grove School and Bradford University, the younger William Halstead qualified as a chartered accountant with Coopers and Lybrand, working for some years with their insolvency division, Cork Gully. He joined the family business to work initially alongside his father and elder brother before becoming managing director.

He was the last family member to enter the business and the textile industry generally. Strictly speaking, he was the fifth generation to have worked at Halsteads, as his great grandfather employed his own father, John Halstead, for some time.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and children Thomas, Benji and Emily.