The Axminster Carpet Factory was founded by Thomas Whitty, a fabric weaver who had been inspired to turn to carpet weaving following his introduction to carpets from Turkey in 1754.
Woman and children were mainly employed as weavers of carpets, partly because of their smaller and nimbler fingers and most probably because they were a much cheaper source of labor.
By 1756 the carpet weaving gained official recognition when the Royal Society of Arts offered a premium of 30 Pounds to the person who will make the best carpet in comparison to the Turkish carpets of the era.
This was done in order to stimulate the local economy and brought to increased premiums following years and a flourishing carpet weaving industry throughout England.
In 1828 the Axminster factory burned down. The business revival attempts failed and by 1835 bankruptcy was declared. The whole operation was purchased by a Mr. Balckmore who moved the factory along with the weavers to Wilton. Carpet weaving was continued supported by the flourishing production of machine made carpets.