Corah’s factory on Scotter Road was a well known manufacturer of hosiery and textiles which employed mainly local women supplying underwear to Marks & Spencer and other retailers.
The company was founded by Nathaniel Corah in midlands city of Leicester back in 1815, by 1824 his business had expanded and he was able to buy a block of buildings in Leicester’s Union Street. In the 1830s his sons John, William and Thomas joined the firm which became N. Corah & Sons Ltd.
The Scunthorpe site came into existence in April 1954.
It was in October of 1953 that a committee was formed under the chairmanship of the Managing Director which consisted of the Managers of the various production and service departments who would in one way or another be connected with the proposed factory at Scunthorpe. It was at this meeting that the Chairman gave the information of the purchase of four acres of land and that the members of the committee would be responsible for advising on the plans as far as each one was concerned, not only for the eventual factory but also for the temporary building in which it was proposed to commence production.
This committee met at frequent intervals and by April 1954 a long wooden hut was completed and equipped with the necessary machinery to commence operations.
The contract for the main factory with a floor area of 27,000 square feet had been placed and the building was to commence as soon as possible. Four girls had been chosen as prospective instructresses and they had traveled to Leicester to be trained both on the machines and to instruct. Unfortunately only two stayed the course and returned to Scunthorpe. In the meantime a further prospective instructress traveled to Leicester for training.
The three days in Easter week 1954 were spent in getting everything ready for the new employees to start on the following Monday. Training commenced on 26th April, with a few previously selected girls, who are now being taught the method and operation of flatlock machining. The two instructresses had been reinforced by Miss Pat Hackett from the Leicester Training Centre so that the initial training could get away to a good start.Plans had also been laid for the recruitment at intervals over the next 12 months by which time the main building was to be well under way.
The initial factory consisted of one large wooden building, which was painted inside and out in light pastel shades, being both pleasant to the eye and lighter for working. This, coupled with the fact that it had windows down the entire length of both side walls, produced a vast amount of natural light, which is a great asset to a flat lock machinist.
April 1954 also saw position of the main factory building being marked out by the contractors and those first few employees were able to watch with keen interest the daily growth and development of the new building as it took shape.
On the 12th November 1985 the Royal Hotel Scunthorpe was the venue of a fashion show that was the first of its kind by Corah’s employees. Innovative designs were created by eleven Y T S trainees who had made two outfits of thelf own choice for leisure activities and eveningwear. The girls who are employed by Corah Scunthorpe were trainee sewing machinists and as part of the Youth Training Scheme curriculum had produced the fashion show to exhibit the skills they had learnt during their training period. The scheme at Corah’s ensured that young people are equipped with skills for both a career and life. It was intended that the training will offer information and experiences that include managing money matters, legal problems, medical care and personal presentation, as well as skills for work. Their fashion show was the culmination of choosing and modifying patterns, buying fabrics with a specified budget, and making a total garment. In short an exercise that brought together the spectrum of production processes and focused their training in life and social skills.