Blendworth - Our History
Whilst Blendworth is looking forward; it is important to remember the company’s 90 year history and to understand that the fabrics designed now and, indeed, yet to be designed, are influenced by those produced in the past.
The company, originally known as Sixten & Cassey, was formed on 8th June 1921 by Sixten Haymen and Sidney Cassey; the latter having worked for Liberty’s in Paris before moving to London as a furnishing fabric buyer. Based in London’s West End, the new wholesale business dealt in woven fabrics, Italian damasks and tapestries.
Charles Cassey, following in the footsteps of his father, Sidney, took over the business and, under his directorship in the post-war period, the company relocated to Hampshire - tempted by Government incentives designed to persuade companies to move out of the metropolis.
From its new base, 10 miles north of Portsmouth, Sixten & Cassey set up a printworks with printing subsequently commissioned by companies such as Sandersons, Warner’s and Coles as well as by Reich Tibor, whose work was featured in the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Ann Judd, a freelance designer who trained at the Central School of Arts in London, began working for the company in 1953 and accepted a permanent position selling commissioned designs for Sixten& Cassey a year later. Ann married Charles Cassey and, during the 1950s, the company’s print works produced many of Ann’s own designs. The Casseys acquired Crookley Park, the company’s current headquarters, in 1955 and for many years the 19th century house, set in five acres of land, remained the Cassey family home.
The late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed major growth for Sixten and Cassey who were, by the mid 1980s, trading as Blendworth Fabrics. New warehouses were built in the grounds and a relationship was established with Dutch printers, Texoprint. During the 1990s, Blendworth Fabrics continued to grow, diversify and develop its customer support service. In 1996, the upmarket Niche brand was launched, specialising in linens, silks and cotton drape weight designs and in heavy weight velvet/chenille upholstery collections.
In 1996, a management buyout resulted in a change of ownership and Blendworth’s new direction. Andrew Hancock (Managing Director), Nikki Reed (Product Development Director) Jon Palmer (Operations Director) and Valerie Brothers (Financial Director) are taking Blendworth forward. In 2006, the whole range was updated and rebranded – and recently a wealth of archive fabrics have been discovered which are providing inspiration for Blendworth’s fabrics in this, its 92nd year.