About Franklins

100+ Year Legacy

Franklins International Ltd. (previously William Franklin & Sons Ltd.) was founded in Coventry, England as a silk ribbon weaver, in 1835. The Company is named after William Franklin (1809-1885), although it was founded by Abijah Hill Pears (1799-1895), Mayor of Coventry 1842.

Abijah Pears and his wife Elizabeth lived in the ajoining house at Bird Grove; the home of Mary Ann Evans (the novelist George Eliot). Elizabeth became a close friend of Mary Ann, who introduced her to all the intellectual influences at her brothers house; ‘Rosehill’.

William Franklin after serving a seven-year apprenticeship with Abijah Pears set up on his own. Shortly afterwards he was asked to join Pears in the old firm, which became Pears and Franklin. This continued to 1856 when F.W. Franklin was taken into the partnership, and the name changed to Pears, Franklin and Son. Soon after Abijah Pears retired, possibly due to ill health. The London Gazette lists the partnership dissolved 20th July, 1857. The name was changed to William Franklin & Sons. At the 1881 Census William was living at ‘Highfield’, Saint Nicholas Street, Radford, Coventry.

In 1885 Francis William Franklin took over managing the Company.

From 1860 the Company was based in new premises in Bayley Lane, Coventry. Previous to that, late 1820’s and early 1830’s, commercial directories place Abijah Hill Pears, Ribbon Manufacturer on Well Street, Coventry.

After a marriage to a Franklin in 1913 the Company was in the possession of the Clarke family. From around that time it was based in Much Park Street, Coventry.

In the 1940s Franklins acquired Henry Slingsby Ltd, Nuneaton.

Today Franklin’s is the parent company of the Franklins Group of companies.

After a management buyout in the mid 1970’s Franklin’s (and Franklin’s Group) is now locally owned. In the 1990s the name was changes to Franklins International Ltd.

In 2020 Franklins Group came under the ownership of the Neilly family.

Our company History

Silk ribbon weaving had been established in Coventry and neighbouring villages, from the early 18th century. In the mid-20th century, different locations throughout England, specialized in different products, and Coventry was known for excelling in masonic and military ribbons, school hatbands and badges, and above all in name labels and name tapes.

In the early 1960’s William Franklin & Son Ltd. employed 200 people in two plants, one in Coventry, and one in Nuneaton. A subsidiary company, Wm. Franklin & Son (NI) Ltd., was opened in Banbridge, Northern Ireland in 1961. They were installed in a new 19,000 sq ft. factory built by the Northern Ireland Ministry of Commerce. This was extended in the mid 1970’s to a 35,000 sq. ft. complex. The Company is one of the largest dedicated woven and embroidered badge suppliers in the UK and Ireland.

Franklin’s Today

The company supplies youth organisations, the military and emergency services, commercial companies, charities and manufacturers at local, national and international levels within the sports, industrial, fashion, work wear and promotional markets, and services markets all over Europe, the UK and Ireland.

Quality is extremely important to us, both in the products we produce and in the service that we provide.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Eliot

About Franklin’s Embroidered Badges, Work Wear and Custom Promotional Clothing

Accredited to ISO 9001:2000 all of our employees are fully trained and focused on delivering quality products, on time and at competitive prices to all our customers.

For additional confidence Franklin’s badges and labels are tested for harmful substances according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100. The Oeko-Tex label indicates to interested end users the additional benefits of tested safety for skin-friendly clothing and other textiles. In this way, the test label provides an important decision-making tool when purchasing textiles. 

Operating to high standards throughout, the company enjoys an enviable reputation among both customers and competitors for manufacturing a quality product supported by an efficient customer service.

Judith Neilly of Franklins

Judith Neilly

Managing Driector
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