John Holker’s coat of arms and his letters of ennoblement, registered by the Cour des Aides

Cour des aides de Rouen
14 August 1775
France - Rouen - Archives départementales de Seine-Maritime
3 B 58 fol. 57
Early modern period
Industries and Railways
Born in Stretford in England and a supporter of the Stuart claimant to the throne, John Holker had to leave his native land for political reasons. When he arrived in the capital of Normandy he joined forces with an industrialist of Darnétal to set up a manufactory. He returned to London and Lancaster to buy the looms and thread needed for production and to hire skilled English workers. The “Royal Factory of Velvet and Cotton Cloth” was located in the rue Saint-Julien in the Saint-Sever district; it had 30 looms and 4 English calenders. John Holker also owned a workshop in Oissel where he made improvements to his machines, and he opened the first factory making oil of vitriol around 1767. Holker was appointed Inspector-General of Manufactories by Trudaine in recognition of his services to the textile industry, and was ennobled in 1774.

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