Mike Clarke's Textile Mills Page

Cotton spinning in Lancashire was for much of its history undertaken using mules. See my Home page for a photo those at Helmshore Textile Museums, where I used to work. They needed skilled workers, but produced much better yarn than ring frames or other continuous spinning processes. The mule developed from the Spinning Jenny. As far as I know, only one Jenny workshop survives, and that was converted into a house early in the nineteenth century. This is the building, at Hyndburn Bridge, between Accrington and Great Harwood.

If there is only one such workshop left, it must be one of the country's most important industrial monuments, as Lancashire's cotton industry developed from small factories like this. The cotton industry was the main source of Britain's wealth up to the First World War, creating ten times more income than the coal industry and three times more than the iron and steel industry. Yet here is a unique monument to the industry which made Britain wealthy with no acknowledgement to its importance. There should, at least, be a plaque dedicated to Lancashire's cotton industry and those who worked in it somewhere close by.

Accrington during a Wakes Week around 1920. Only one chimney is smoking.

For five years I was engineer at the Lancashire Textile Museums at Helmshore, and earlier I had been engineer for Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills. I was responsible for dismantling a wide variety of machinery, particularly textile-related, for transport to the museums and for its subsequent reassembly.

Carding engines at Rugby Mill, Leigh.


Ribbon loom, Whitefield.

How many mills ended up, the remains of a Nelson weaving shed.

Nelson 1.jpg

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Mike Clarke, 8 Green Bank, BARNOLDSWICK, BB18 6HX
tel: +44 (0)1282 850430
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last revised: 27 March 2014