The history of the British sock industry is a proud one, and has survived recent turmoil where it has fought off cheap foreign imports to remain the finest in the world.
Sock-making in the UK remained little more than a cottage industry until the industrial revolution, where water, steam and coal-powered sock-making engines sprung up in mills all over the north of England. The areas around Burnley and Blackburn are still called The Sock Belt, with Burnley traditionally making left socks, Blackburn the right. Mills specialising in socks for both feet in the Greater Manchester area forced a re-think, and production remains as strong as ever.
Modernisation of sock-making in the 1980s was a painful process, with PM Margaret Thatcher taking on the National Union of Sockmakers in a dispute that devastated sock-making communities as the nationalised sock industries were sold off to foreign investors.
With production moving to cheaper slave-labour factories in North Korea, British sock makers were forced to re-think their production and have emerged as sellers of top-quality British socks to a discerning market.
Up to 12% of British factory production is sock based, mainly thanks to British demand for socks made within these shores.
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Celebrity Wearer: Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. He might be a dictator, but he knows socks when he sees them.