John Smedley remains very much a family business. Our current Managing Director and one Board Member, can trace their line back six generations to their origins as woolcombers and hosiers in nearby Wirksworth. John Smedley [1803-1874], the ancestor who really established the company as a name in fine knitwear, had no children and left the firm to a cousin, John Marsden, from whom most of the present-day family shareholders are descended.
He took the name Marsden-Smedley, meaning that there are still ‘Smedleys’ actively involved in the company. The family shareholders all feel a tremendous sense of pride in and loyalty to John Smedley and are determined to keep the business independent and firmly rooted in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.
“Many people have worked here for over twenty years – one even clocking up a massive forty-nine years with the company.”
The company is a family business in another sense, as employees feel part of a close and supportive community. Most people travel from within a ten-mile radius and as we are around 400 staff, we all know one another! More than this, many current employees have relatives working alongside them.
There are eight married couples, seven groups of brothers and sisters, 15 sets of families with two generations working alongside one-another as parents and children and, in one case, a grandmother and grand-daughter. Many people have worked here for over 20 years – one even clocking up a massive forty-nine years with the company. Most people who work at the mill have ancestors who worked here at some point in the past. All in all, a pretty impressive pedigree!