Capital Engine | Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company
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About This Project
  • Growth Capital for Gainsborough, established in 1903 by an enterprising weaver, Reginald Warner, in Sudbury
  • EIS Fund managed by Oakfield Capital Partners (“Oakfield”) a private equity investor acquired a majority stake in August 2015.
  • £500,000 raised in December 2016 to compliment £1.5m invested by Oakfiled


Awarded the Royal Warrant in 1981, the company has produced fabrics for Royal palaces, state buildings and grand residences the world over, and the tradition of creating fabrics of enduring quality carries on today. The famous Gainsborough Archive that easily exceeds 7,000 designs today. Over the last twenty years Gainsborough has been starved of investment and commercial management and has not grown revenues despite strong growth in the premium fabric segment.Oakfield put in place Emerson Roberts as Managing Director in May 2016 – bringing strong export driven sales and management expertise from his role as Sales and Marketing Director at Brompton Bicycle Ltd. Gainsborough approached ThinCats via sponsor Capital Engine for £500,000 to ramp up its production capacity with the purchase of additional looms and the modernisation of its dye house.

The loan is 12% interest only, with a bullet repayment in four-years. ThinCats’ majority shareholder ESF Capital has invested £250,000. With ThinCats lenders’ support, a neglected gem of British manufacturing looks set to shine once more.

“We were looking for debt finance to support the growth investment programme at Gainsborough. Capital Engine engaged in our business plan and arranged a £500,000 loan from the ThinCats website. The debt was raised within their initial pricing indications, on time and within budgeted costs.”

Emerson Roberts, Managing Director Gainsborough