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1. The Early Years

The March 4th , 1938 edition of the Canadian Textile Journal carried the following report:

"New Hosiery Concern. Incorporation of the Hudson Hosiery Co.Ltd. with a capital of 10,000 shares of no par value is announced in a recent list of new companies. The company has not yet started operations."

In the next edition, though, on March 18th, a correction appeared:

"Hudson, Qué. Hudson Hosiery Co. Ltd., mention of whose incorporation appeared in the last issue has been in operation for the last two months, manufacturing men's wool and cotton half hose. W.M. Bourke KC of Montreal and Hudson is president."

The Company started it's operation, then, in early 1938 with 6 or 7 circular knitting machines in a wooden frame house on the east side of MacNaughten Avenue near Ridge Road where a passageway now gives access to the St. Thomas School soccer field.

The founders of the Company were:

William Manley Bourque, a well known local notary and partner in the Montréal firm of Bourke, Hutchison, Stevenson and Macklaier. He was president of Whitlock Golf Club in the early 1940's and a councillor in Hudson Heights.
Vice President:
W.F Macklaier. He was one of Manley Bourke's legal colleagues, but does not seem to have been directly involved in the operation of the business.
W.R. (Bill) Mathews. He was also a president of Whitlock Golf Club in the early 50's, and had long experience in sales and marketing in the textile industry.
W.E. (Bill) Sugrue. His experience was in the mechanical side of hosiery machinery, and he was helped by his son, Jimmy Sugrue who became plant manager in the later years of the company.
Secretary Treasurer:
F.R. (Fred ) Hodgson. He joined the company after war service, and in the early 1960's with Bill Sugrue, incorporated the Hudson Textile Company. He was later Manager of the Hudson Yacht Club, Manager for the Town of Hudson and a founder of the Hudson Land Development Company and the Mountain Ranches Development Company.

According to Mr. Ken Mathews, Bill's son, the company was able to grow throughout the war years with a large contract to manufacture army socks. This ensured their supply of cotton and wool which were both rationed. Bill Mathews also negotiated a supply of rayon, which was not then rationed, from Dionne Spinning Mills in St-Georges-de-Beauce.

Hudson Hosiery Co.Ltd. operated on McNaughten for a couple of years, then moved into two houses on Cameron Avenue situated where the Medi-Centre parking lot is now. These houses were later converted into a proper factory, which was later extended backwards approximately to the location of the present Medi-Centre building. Some manufacturing work was also done in a large house on the opposite side of Cameron ( the "Gurden House" ) where the Daoust yard is today.

We can trace the growth of the Company throughout the 1940's from The Manual of the Textile Industry, an annual supplier's and buyer's guide published by The Canadian Textile Journal which gives yearly data on Canadian Textile Companies.

Hudson Hosiery Co. Ltd. reported the following machinery:
1939: 24 knitting machines, 4 loopers, 6 ribbers
1940: 36 knitting machines, 9 loopers, 12 ribbers
1945: 52 knitting machines, 12 loopers, 17 ribbers
1950: 81 knitting machines, 17 loopers, 20 ribbers.

By 1950 there were about 100 employees in the Hudson factory.

The trade name of the Company's socks was "Whitlock", a very appropriate local choice!

In 1947, Messrs. Bourke and Macklaier incorporated an associated company in Morrisburg, Ontario called Morrisburg Hosiery Co. Ltd. This company made " ...