IN the spring of 1979, a Marlborough mother was at her home when she received an order for 300 spot mesh nightdresses for Miss Selfridge. Within a few short years, the Marlborough knicker factory at Louanne Limited became the biggest manufacturing business in the town.

Fast forward to November 30, 2016, nine former employees, including the founder of the company Louise May, gathered for a special get-together at the Roebuck Inn for a trip down memory lane.

Nearly four decades earlier, these nine women were hard at work for the fast-growing company. Ms May started it all off when she hired the village hall in Marlborough to cut the garments using four sewing machines in the dining room and did the packing in the kitchen.

She went onto help to design the first onesie, which all her customers loved and the orders went through the roof, along with threading bra straps or making bows, among other jobs.

This surge allowed them to move into the factory in October 1979, just a few weeks before the birth of her second son. As the company grew in size the sales of their adult 'Baby-grow' range continued to flourish.

The company took on more staff, peaking at employing 300 machinists, packers and cutters at one time, took on more premises and became the biggest manufacturing business in Marlborough.

As well as working hard, the staff of the Knicker Factory played hard, and the traditional fancy dress Christmas party was a particular joyous affair and invariably involved visiting every pub in Marlborough High Street.

Unfortunately, as technology improved and manufacturing jobs left the country, the company began to shrink in size before eventually folding in 1995.

"It is a great shame that this is the state of affairs that we live in as every one of the workers that turned up for the party said it was the best working days of their lives," said Ms May.

"We had some great days at the factory and it is such a shame, not only that the big family was broken up, but all the skills of all the very hard working staff were lost.

"However, we had a wonderful time together on the night and it was lovely seeing some old faces again for the first time in years. Hopefully manufacturing jobs can return to these shores once again."