In the 17th and 18th century nearly every cottage in this area had a spinning wheel. The work of five spinners was needed to supply one weaver. The wheel was turned by hand and spun one thread at a time. It was usually done by women and the word ‘spinster’ originates from this time.
Another example of a word from the cloth industry coming into common usage. The process was superseded by the Spinning Jenny, but this was still worked by hand.
Tree trunks were used to transport water. Water was needed in the centre of Huddersfield. To achieve this at Folly Hall a pump, driven by a water wheel, drew water from the River Colne. The water went by pipes under the canal to the top of Outcote Bank, along Upperhead Row to a reservoir. The water was carried by large tree trunks which had a 3″ bore hole through each tree trunk. This means of drawing water continued until 1828.
If you listen carefully you can hear the water going through the trunk
This is the structure that made the cloth from the spun thread. The long threads, called the warp, were on bobbins each of which were the width of the cloth. As these threads were the length of the piece they were strengthened. The thread that was to go across the warp was called the weft. The weft was on a shuttle and went backwards and forwards across the warp.
This is a basic wooden loom and would be operated by one person.
Another process in the fascinating tale of producing cloth. Cropping was a skilled job. The cloth was pulled along a frame. The nap or downy ends on the surface of the cloth were raised and cut using cropping shears. There was a cropping shop in Longroyd Bridge.
There was a huge expansion in the cloth industry in the 18th Century. At this time highways were poor and cloth was taken to market on horseback. To speed things up waterways were improved and canals were built. One barge could carry as much cloth as 600 pack horses.
For Huddersfield An Act of Parliament in 1774 authorised the digging of a canal from Asply to the Calder River at Colne Bridge. It took six years to build. It was the idea of Sir John Ramsden and was named after him. It is now called the Huddersfield Broad Canal. Cloth could now be carried far more quickly to markets throughout the country.
The canal is now mainly used for leisure craft and, on our canal boat, my family and I have made many relaxing journeys along this stretch of water.
Cropping was a very skilled job in the production of cloth. Later in the 18th century a machine was invented to do this work making croppers redundant. At the same time, as a result of the Napoleonic wars, the cost of food rose. This all led to the rise of the Luddite movement.
The Luddites were a group of men who, fearing the loss of work, broke into mills to break machinery. They were armed with fire arms, hatchets and hammers. Enock was the name given to the heavy sledgehammers used and these were made at the iron foundry of Enock Taylor of Marsden. This firm also had the patent for the manufacture of shearing frames used in the mills. So the cry of the Huddersfield Luddites became ‘Enock hath made them, Enock shall break them!’
A statue of Sir Robert Peel was erected in St George’s Square, Huddersfield in 1873 but, as it suffered severe weathering, it was removed in 1949. You can now see the base in the Heritage Memorial Garden to the rear of the Tolson Museum.
Sir Robert Peel MP became Home Secretary in 1822 reforming the criminal law. He was twice prime minister but is perhaps best know for creating the Metropolitan Police and in fact the police became know as ‘peelers’. His Factory Act of 1844 improved the working conditions of women and children in the mills. His final act, before having to relinquish high office, was the repeal of the controversial ‘Corn Laws’. The result of this was cheaper bread – illustrated in the picture on the base.
Bobbin winding was originally done with a great wheel and a frame. Hanks were made in a hank winder. During the 18th Century multiple winders were developed for bobbins and hanks. At one time you could buy your knitting wool by the ‘hank’.
As the textile industry grew so did the need for better roads. Once the cloth was made it had to get to market. Townships were responsible for their own highways, however as the need to move from village to town and from town to town grew there was need for improvement.
Turnpike Trusts were formed to improve the roads. There was a financial qualification required to be a member of a Trust. The role of the Turnpike Trust was to see that the highway entrusted to it was surveyed and kept in good repair. The Trust was able to borrow money for this. The Trust was then able to charge those who wished to travel along their highway and a board was erected listing the charges.
This turnpike board was by the bridge at Brockholes and it lists the charges that had to be paid. This system of managing the roads continued until the advent of the railways when the responsibility for the roads became the job of the local authorities. Turnpike Trusts were abolished in 1871.
Not the place down the road but a field in Belgium. Here in 1815, after escaping from exile, Emperor Napoleon of France placed his troops ready for what was to be his final battle.
The British troops led by the Duke of Wellington charged the French and at the end of the day were victorious. Corporal Williams of the 33rd Regiment was awarded this medal for bravery. He was ‘wounded through the body’ at Waterloo. Cpl Williams was aged 49.
The The Waterloo Public House was named after this famous important battle.