St Luke's Church, Eccleshill - The Link magazine
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June 2002, Page 10.
Index of articles.
Industrial Revolution in Eccleshill
Prior to 1869 the assistance to the poor of Eccleshill was administered under “Gilbert’s Act”. Eccleshill was joined with sixteen other places in Airdale and Wharfedale, and the rivalry and politicking between different village officers meant a fairly miserable existence for the poor. Spinning and weaving were done in the home, mostly by women (“spinsters”), who worked from 4am to 10pm to earn sufficient money to keep their families together. The weavers had to work two to a loom, passing the shuttle back and forth between them. A few of the houses in Eccleshill have the very large attic rooms in which this work was carried out.
But in 1800 a few men organised the building of the first woolen mill in Eccleshill - “Old Mill”. Although largely destroyed by fire in 1816 it was restored and continued for many years. Likewise, “Moorside Mills”, built in 1875, ran until 1970 when it was placed on the market and became the Industrial Museum of today. These mills and others were very profitable for their owners, but also succeeded in raising the standards of living of the poorer residents of Eccleshill.
Manor Potteries, founded in 1837, used the bed of fireclay in the local area for the manufacture of stoneware. Household utensils, garden vases and ornaments, busts and statuettes we produced, as well as bricks (both red and fire-resistant) and other products for the building industry. The crockery, in cream and brown, was appreciated by customers as far as Scotland and the South Coast, and at one time a number of skilled craftsmen from The Potteries in Staffordshire (Stoke-on-Trent) were induced to come and bring expertise to our industry.
Quarrying for stone has long been an employer of local labourers. The quarry between Fagley and Calverley has long been disused, but the site on Fagley Lane still produces good-quality stone and digging is due to restart later this year.
An impression of the local employment and economy of these times can be gained from the Industrial Museum. Some of the engineering, printing, iron founding, and chemical production of this area can be seen, as well as the main focus on the textile industry and the pottery and quarrying. Transport, which is also a key feature of these times, is housed in a separate gallery.
With grateful thanks to Vera Taylor's "Eccleshill in Times Past". The Link welcomes other articles about our local area.
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This web page was last updated on 5th July 2002.