The company was founded in 1875 in Bradford by William Halstead (1815-1924). Late in 1889 with the business expanding rapidly, William built Stanley Mills to which the company transferred in 1890 and still operates from today.

William continued to work at Stanley Mills until he died in his office at the mill in 1924 after 53 years in the business.

Since then the business has been run by a further five members of the family until in 2006 the company was acquired by SIL Holdings Ltd, another Bradford based family textile business. SIL are one of the largest speciality fibre manufacturers and merchants in the world.