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Five minutes with Crescent Trading

Crescent Trading by Jeremy Freedman 2013

Just before Christmas, The Campaign for Wool had the pleasure of being introduced to Crescent Trading. Run by Philip Pittack and Martin White, Crescent Trading is the very last cloth merchant in Spitalfields, once the very heart of London’s cloth and fabric trade. The company faced a very bleak future, when in 2012 a fire ravaged their warehouse, destroying what had been the home of Crescent Trading, but through sheer determination and dedication to their trade, Philip and Martin rebuilt the warehouse to its former glory.

The Campaign for Wool grabbed five minutes to grill the pair on wool.


1, Please tell us a little about yourselves and how your day to day life involves wool.

We are Martin White (82) & Philip Pittack (70) proprietors of one of the last woollen merchants  left in London, we handle and sell pure wools every day. We have been in the fabric business for 68 years and 55 years respectively. We were born into it, we love it, and we have no intention of stopping any time soon.


2, Since you’ve been involved with wool, how have you seen the wool industry change?

It has shrunk beyond belief in the UK.


3, How do you source your wool?

We have a unique relationship with mills across the UK, as well as other merchants and clothing manufacturers… for obvious reasons that’s as much as we can divulge.


4, What does the Campaign for Wool mean to you?

It keeps the flag flying for woollens  and keeps up the tradition of wool.


5, What does 2014 hold for you?

We hope more people will realise the benefits of wool fabrics and after restarting our business from scratch after a fire nearly destroyed our business in 2012, we hope to attract a generation of customers who appreciate the woollens we sell.


6, At what age did you first start using wool?

Both of us were born into this busness. Martin has been trading woollens since the age of 14 when woollen goods were still rationed and available only through coupons.
Philip comes from generations of fabric and rag merchants. One of his earliest memories was helping his father sort ‘rags’ in the back streets of the east end.
Crescent Trading LTD collage.001
7, Technologies to further the potential of wool are advancing all the time, i.e. wool velvet, how do you think this will affect the wool and clothing industries?

Any new technology in weaving and finishing can only serve to make wool more popular.


8, How does using woollen cloths differ to other man-made materials?

It handles, feels and performs better than most other fibres. Woollens are unique.


9, What is your favourite woollen item of clothing and why?

Cashmere sweaters and jackets. The warmth in winter and comfort in summer alongside the sheer luxury of the touch.


10, Tell us a little about why you choose wool over other fibres?

A culmination of all of the above, it is just a better fibre for tailors to work with in the production of a proper garment. A well made woollen garment can last a lifetime.


To find out more about Crescent Trading please visit

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