John Smedley was founded in 1784, at Lea Mills, in Matlock, Derbyshire by John Smedley and his associate Peter Nightingale. Inspired by Richard Arkwright who had pioneered the factory system

13 years earlier, the pair set about building a spinning mill. Lea Mills was an ideal setting – the brook that runs through the village provided motive power and a constant source of running water.


John Smedley has a long lineage of local families who have worked at Lea Mills over several generations. They bring years of experience and a level of craftsmanship that can’t be found elsewhere.

At John Smedley we take pride in creating knitwear that is made in England. We also take pride in our Derbyshire roots – our Lea Mills factory and the people who help make us who we are.