Our History

Scroll down through the timeline below to see how BTTG™ has evolved.


  • 1918

    WIRA (Wool Industries Research Association) founded, occupying two converted houses, Torridon and Longfield on Headingley Lane, Leeds.

  • 1919

    Shirley Institute established as the British Cotton Industry Research Association (BCRA) in rooms at Manchester University.

  • 1920

    Shirley Institute moves to “The Towers” in Didsbury, Manchester.

  • 1940's

    The first “breathable” fabric, known as Ventile, developed at Shirley Institute for the Ministry of Defence, and later patented and licensed to a UK company for commercial exploitation.

    Research into Thermal Resistance of textiles began at the Shirley Institute.

  • 1942

    The Martindale Abrasion tester was devised at WIRA by Dr J G Martindale. Its original use was for testing carbon-impregnated cloth that was to be used in connection with protection against gas attack during the Second World War.

  • 1952

    Partition chromatography analysis was invented and developed at WIRA, by Martin and Synge (1940 – 1944), who were awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in this year.

    WIRA asked to test wool pile carpets.

  • 1961

    The BCRA merged with the British Rayon Research Association to form the Cotton, Silk, and Man-Made Fibres Research Association.

  • 1965

    First flammability tests performed in the Shirley Institute.

  • 1968

    The ‘tog’ unit was developed by E. Clulow & H. Rees, and the Shirley Togmeter was developed to measure the thermal insulation of textiles. The Shirley Togmeter forms the basis of BS 4745 and ISO 5085.

  • 1971

    The Wira Shower Tester becomes a British Standard.

  • 1973

    WIRA establishes Carpet Department.

  • 1976

    Flammability of Textiles and other materials facility set up at Wira.

  • 1979

    CAMRASO (Cleaning and Maintenance Research and Services Organisation) formed.

  • 1980

    WIRA move to West Park, Leeds.

  • 1982

    BCTC (British Carpet Technical Centre) formed by the amalgamation of the WIRA floor coverings department with the Technical arm of the British Carpet Manufacturers Association.

  • 1984

    WIRA accredited to NATLAS (National Testing Laboratory Accreditation Scheme), under Laboratory number 0185. NATLAS was the fore-runner of NAMAS, and NAMAS was superseded by UKAS.

  • 1986

    Shirley Institute gain NATLAS accreditation, Laboratory Number 0435.

    Shirley Institute sets up a geotextile testing service.

    BCTC introduce the Hexapod tumbler Carpet tester.

  • 1988

    BTTG (British Textile Technology Group) formed from the merger of WIRA & Shirley Institute BCTC-CAMRASO formed.

  • 1989

    FTS (Fire Technology Services) move to purpose built laboratories in Altrincham, Manchester.

  • 1992

    RALPH (male shaped manikin) was launched for evaluating heat and flame protective clothing.

  • 1998

    BCTC-CAMRASO celebrates 10th anniversary with commissioning of a new laboratory.

  • 2000

    '1066’ – The new BTTG™ Group UKAS number.

  • 2001

    2001 Burning issues in Leeds - £150k investment in Fire Testing Department for construction and transport industries.

  • 2003

    BTTG Testing & Certification Ltd created.

  • 2004

    BTTG™ Testing & Certification move from Shirley House in Didsbury to custom designed premises in Trafford Park, Manchester.

  • 2005

    BTTG™ Fire Testing Services become a FIA Approved test house.

  • 2006

    A new version of RALPH, complying with ISO 13506, introduced at FTS together with the female manikin, SOPHIE.

    Overseas offices set up in China and Singapore.

  • 2007

    Overseas office set up in Ahmedabad, India

  • 2010

    Overseas office established in Pakistan, Lahore (moved to Faisalabad 2014)

  • 2011

    Overseas Office established in Southern India

  • 2013

    Overseas office opened in Karachi, Pakistan

  • 2014

    Overseas office established in Dacca, Bangladesh

  • 2015

    FTS move to new custom designed laboratories, and the Certification Department move to new larger offices at Unit 6 Wheel Forge Way, Trafford Park.

    Overseas office established in Nairobi, Kenya