The Impact of Matthew J. Whittall on South Worcester – Sunday, September 24th at 1:00 PM
An Illustrated talk by Breanna Barney, Preservation Worcester docent
Acoustic Java Roastery & Café, 6 Brussels Street, Worcester
Worcester’s Brussels Street site of the Whittall Carpet Company has a history of carpet manufacturing, beginning with Crompton Carpet Company’s startup in 1870 followed by W. J. Hogg’s Worcester Carpet Company and the Whittall Carpet Company; both got underway in the 1880s. Matthew J. Whittall emigrated from England in 1871 to work for George Crompton. In 1880, he established his own Whittall Carpet Company. The White House in Washington, D.C., and many U.S. government buildings were furnished with Whittall carpets – reflecting the success that made Whittall a prominent local industrialist. In business through the mid-20th century, Whittall became the largest employer in South Worcester. The company’s manufacturing complex physically transformed the city’s landscape while his workforce of carpet weavers, imported from England, created a distinctly English enclave around the factory and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on Southbridge Street. This talk includes a brief biography of Matthew J. Whittall, a history of carpet making in South Worcester as well as the rise and fall of Whittall’s company. The talk takes place in a former Whittall mill building and will be followed by a walk around the complex.