Joseph Dumville

A Patriarch of Bradford’s Wool Textile Industry, with a career spanning 82 years, Joseph Dumville
was Lecturer in Spinning at Bradford Technical College for 17 years from 1909.

Joseph Dumville, son of coachman, John Dumville and his wife Jane Parker, was born 29 April 1862 in Headingley, Leeds. The family moved to Horton, Bradford soon afterwards. Joseph had a long career in the Wool Textile Industry spanning over 82 years. He began working in the mill before his tenth birthday and retired from his Textile Consultancy, Dumville and Warburton Ltd, the day before his 92nd birthday.

He rose to the position of Mill Manager as a young man and went to work in America, returning to England as Lecturer in Spinning at Bradford Technical College in 1909. When he left the Technical College in 1926, aged 64, Professor Eber Midgeley, Head of the Textile Department attributed the “wonderful progress of the section” to Joseph’s “enterprise, ability and loyalty”.

Joseph didn’t retire; he was Chairman of a Liberal Trade Union and was invited by the Liberal Party to contest a ward in the municipal elections. He also became a Fellow of the Textile Institute and Chairman of the Yorkshire section. In addition, he became advisor to the local mills and installed the mohair spinning department at Lister and Co before setting up a partnership with one of his former students, John Warburton. Considered an expert with no equal in wool combing and spinning, Joseph, and travelled abroad with his work until he was approaching 90.

With a reputation as a lively conversationalist and brilliant speaker, he was a popular figure at social functions and meetings of textile bodies. Joseph was the first honorary life member of the Bradford Textile Society, and in his presidential address to them in 1947 he remarked “Dodge work and you dodge life. In sport or labour, a spot of sweat and the satisfaction of a job well done, is refreshment and life”.

An expert in wool combing and spinning, Joseph wrote a number of books with S Kershaw, including Worsted Cone Drawing, The Carbonising Process, Modern Systems of Yarn Production, The Worsted Industry and The Bradford Textile Society 1893-1943. He also made regular contributions to a number of trade periodicals and newspapers including The
Yorkshire Observer, and he was Editor of The Bradford Textile Society Journal.

From 1883 he was also heavily involved with the Friends’ Adult School movement, teaching men and women to read and write in the times when comparatively few people could. He was Treasurer of the School for 40 years and Chairman of B Division until 1933. He was also a Freemason and held many offices including Master of Corinthian Lodge, Bradford and Provincial Brand Warden. On his 92nd birthday, Joseph was elected a Vice President of the Textile Institute.

He died 20 May 1959 aged 97.