William Woods begins his career as a

Mercer in Laugharne, South Wales

During the reign of King George II and a period of great upheaval in the textile industry. Cloth production is moving from the home to the factory and artisans are seeking ways to increase productivity. Silk, wool, fustian and linen are being overtaken by cotton, and weaving and spinning technologies are becoming mechanised. (pic Mercers Arms)  Find Out More

During the reign of

King George III

William’s trade is passed down to his son, Thomas Woods. British Agricultural Revolution has reached its peak and the Industrial Revolution is in full flow, fuelled by unprecedented growth in the rural population. Cotton and wool mills, powered by water then by steam, are starting to become a common sight, particularly in the North of England.

Thomas' son, George starts at

Castle Mill, Knaresborough

Having worked as a travelling salesman based in Bristol, aided by recent developments in the infrastructure of canals and railways, Thomas’ son George moves to Yorkshire to work for Knaresborough’s famous Castle Mill.

A promotion for

George Woods to Castle Mill Manager

Never one to rest on his laurels in this prestigious supplier to all Royal Palaces. His work ethic did not go unnoticed, he's rewarded with a significant promotion to Manager of Castle Mill.

In Prince's Street, Harrogate

Woods Linens is established

William E. Woods founds the family’s first linen shop in Princes Street, Harrogate, cementing the Woods’ reputation as purveyors of the finest luxury linens and consolidating their rich heritage.

The door read 'Wm. E. Woods, The Draper' and featured the same exterior clock as on the present building.

A new home

Woods relocates to 67 Station Parade, Harrogate

Woods moves to its present location on 67 Station Parade, Harrogate.

The famous Woods clock also moves to its' new home, high up above the now listed veranda on Prince Albert Row.

Upon William's passing

George Appleby Woods takes over

Upon William’s death, one of his two sons, George Appleby, takes over the family business.

Employee James Lambert goes off to serve in the Eighth Army in the Second World War and fights at El Alamein in 1942.

George enlists whilst his elder brother

Ernest Woods takes the helm

George joins the Army leaving the business in the hands of his brother, the eminent Lawyer: Ernest Woods.

The war is over!

George & James Lambert return

The war is over, James Lambert and George return from service, George having reached the rank of Major.

Tom Bryant completes

50 years with Woods

Having joined in 1913, loyal staff member, Tom Bryant completes 50 years with Woods.

Longevity, a traditional value continued here at Woods to this day.

A tragic accident

George & Thalia Woods are laid to rest

George is tragically killed in a car accident with his wife Thalia on the way to visit one of the company’s suppliers.

Their memory lives on in everything we do.

A big step

George's son, William Ernest joins the family business

George’s son, also named William Ernest, relinquishes his pursuit of a career in law to take over the family business aged just seventeen.

He is mentored by his uncle Ernest and joined by a group of loyal staff, including James Lambert and Stanley Newbould.

A formal course in Interior Design

William returns from London

After a stint working in Ireland for a firm of spinners, weavers, bleachers and dyers William attends a formal course of interior design training at Heal & Son in London, William then returns to Harrogate.

In the years that follow he travels to the Far East, India, America and Europe to learn about linen in all its guises and create links with designers and manufacturers. He then goes on to develop the company’s interior design service and establishes new in-house workshops.

The heartbeat of Woods

James Lambert passes away after 64 years with the firm

Loyal employee James Lambert passes away after dedicating 64 years to Woods.

Many of the traditions of Woods were upheld by Mr Lambert, he was held in high-esteem by customers and colleagues alike.

Interior Design turns professional

William becomes member of BIDA

William becomes one of the first members of the BIDA (British Interior Design Association) which later becomes known as the BIID (British Institute of Interior Design).

The BIID aims to promote professionalism in interior design.


William marries Jennifer

William marries Jennifer and they have two children, Sarah Thalia and Jonathan William.

William goes on to purchase the adjoining shop to accommodate the growing business.

Centenary year

Woods celebrates 100 years!

A milestone is reached and Woods celebrates its' centenary.

A '100 Flower Garden' is planted in the town centre by the whole family.

William's daughter

Sarah joins the family business

William’s daughter, Sarah Thalia, starts working for Woods as Interior Design Director.

Her eye for detail, maturity and professionalism soon earn her a loyal client list and a reputation that belies her age.

William's son

Jonathan joins the firm

William’s son Jonathan starts working for Woods, following in the footsteps of his father, having travelled extensively and lived in the Far East for three years before settling into the family business.

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The Finest Linens Since 1895