King Cotton

Flax and wool were long established as the basis of local textile production.

At the outset of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s very few local cottages did not have their spinning wheels and loom. The introduction of machine spinning gave the local hand weaving trade a terrific boost, and many purpose-built handloom weavers’ houses can still be seen throughout the Borough – most spectacularly in Fox Lane, Leyland.

The growth of factory production followed improvements to the steam engine in the 1820s, and fifty years later many villages had their own mill. Alternatively at Roach Bridge and Samlesbury Bottoms the Borough has extremely early watermill sites built on the Arkwright principle. Important improvements to cloth finishing were made at both Walton and Bamber Bridge, and John Stanning & Sons Leyland works emerged as a major force in the bleaching trade.

By the First World War very few families did not have at least one member ‘in the mill’. These communities shared in all the familiar vicissitudes of the industry, from the Cotton Famine to the depression of the 1920s. Perhaps they had more than their share; acid throwing was not unknown during strikes. During the great Chartist meeting at Preston in 1838 the good workpeople of Lostock Hall Mill paraded a banner bearing the injunctions ‘Sell thy garment, and buy a sword!’ and 'No Bastilles for me, I intend to be Free!'.


Click on an image for more details:

Miscellany of Cotton Mill Tools Fabric Printing Blocks from Broadfield Bleachworks Long Service Certificate: Broadfield Bleachworks
Oil Painting: 'Mrs Agnes Critchley' Oil Painting: 'Mr John Walton' Phospher-Bronze Bleach Vat Plug
Cotton Mill Pattern Books Embroidery Frame: Broadfield Bleachworks Mill Yard Clock: Broadfield Bleachworks
Model Beam Steam Engine Model Cotton Mill Vertical Steam Engine  

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