Welcome to our New British Wool Blog
What’s in a Name...
We want to welcome you to the new British Wool Blog - an informal look at the world of wool from a distinctly British perspective! There are so many reasons for us to blog - fabulous people we meet - many doing fantastic things with British Wool and of course our UK sheep farmers and their flocks, not to mention the wool story itself. We want to share the wool experience with you and it starts below.
You may never have thought about the name of our organisation possibly because you know what you call us! But actually different people call us different things.
British Wool is actively marketed and promoted by The British Wool Marketing Board - farmers often call it the ‘Board’, merchants and manufacturers mostly call it the BWMB and retailers and consumers simply call us by the name of our fibre - British Wool. Confusing? You bet!
But the reality is that each and every one of those names is correct - because to those three groups the name is appropriate to their use of our organisation. But for simplicity in this blog - let’s call it BWMB and the fibre British Wool.
The BWMB is owned by the sheep farmers of the United Kingdom, it was set up by them in 1950 and continues in the style of a co-operative to this day. The aim is simply to ensure a smooth, cost effective path to market for British grown fleece wool that will return a value to the British wool producer (farmer) that is competitive and reflects the values in the global wool market.
While many other countries do not have a formal scheme for selling their wool, British sheep farms - approximately 40,000 of them - run relatively small flocks of sheep and will have a minimum of three different breeds of sheep. This would make it hard for them to sell their wool at the farm gate because they do not have a commercial quantity of wool for the major industry users of wool. Putting the wool together and selling it larger lots was the only solution. Effectively the farmers created a central market place for their own wool. Clever idea and one which definitely works to the advantage of most farmers.
British Wool is currently sold at fortnightly auction in Bradford West Yorkshire. Merchants have to attend the auction in person to bid for the wool although the open-cry went some time ago and we now operate a sophisticated computer based bidding system - which will enable about 2 million kilos of wool at every auction and that will take less than a morning! Bids occur in seconds and lots are naturally sold to the highest bidder.
Merchants will be buying and selling wool from all over the world in their business and British Wool bought at our auction, will be shipped directly from the local depot to anywhere in the world to begin its lengthy process towards final manufacture.
But this all starts at the BWMB head office - which picking up on our blog theme - has a very important and appropriate name ...Wool House...naturally!
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