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The business which became A H Marks & Company Limited derived from two remarkable nineteenth century success stories: the development of Bradford’s woollen and worsted trade and the birth of the modern organic chemical industry.

When the Society of Chemical Industry met in Bradford in 1900, the guide prepared for its members pointed out that ‘The foundation of Bradford is wool’.

Synthesised by Perkin in 1869 from anthracene (another product distilled from coal-tar), this was the first synthetic material to replace a dye derived from a plant, since natural alizarin was the colouring principal of madder.

This discovery represented the peak of the technological achievements of the British chemical industry in the nineteenth century.

He achieved this by soaking fabric in a solution of the dyestuff, his particular skill being in obtaining an even distribution of the colour over the fabric and ensuring that the dyed fabric withstood washing and exposure to sunlight.