Aireborough Historical Society

1850 - 1899 All History Matters by Carlo Harrison

Taken from various documents held in the Archive Room, Yeadon Town Hall.

Title
All History Matters
Date 1850 - 1899

By Carlo Harrison


Comment The story of how James Ives developed his mill is interesting.
About 1844-45 there was a severe slump in the woolen trade in Guiseley & Yeadon. As one walked around the townships no "click-clack" as the shuttle was thrown across the loom was heard.
At this time the first railways were being constructed in the district such as the one that passed through Horsforth to Harrogate one way and Leeds the other. Tough Irish navvies with their soiled white hats, plush waistcoats & taste for whisky terrorised the neighbourhood.
Between 1844 & 1849 they worked on constructing Bramhope Tunnel. Unemployed hand loom weavers joined the navvies in this work tramping across the moor each day the five miles to the tunnel workings.
Because of their lack of skill there were several disasters & deaths and in Otley church yard there is still a memorial to those who perished.
James Ives exploited the situation, he knew that soon the work would end and the local "navvies" would be returning to Yeadon & Guiseley in search of more work particularly in the wool trade where their real skill was.
He therefore bought up as much raw wool as he could lay his hands upon and put the now unemployed workers to their tasks.
They spun & wove the cloth at home & carried their product down to the company mill, the Old Goit (equals hollow) Mill.
This made James Ives the leading wool producer in the area.

Previously, the cloth was carried down to Leeds Cloth Hall (on site of General Post Office in City Square until it was demolished by Leeds Corporation in 1889).
The Cloth Hall was governed by Trustees who decided the rules for sale of the cloth. Yeadon & Guiseley were represented by one trustee. Sales were for cash - "on t' neeal". Cloth also sold on stalls by producers that had served their apprenticeship. Sale day was Tuesday and the roads around Leeds would be full of hand-loom weavers who carried their "pieces" on their backs (if poor) by pack-horse or even cart. Wives and children watched anxiously for their return.
Slater in his history of the Ancient Parish of Guiseley records that during a depression one weaver went to Leeds Cloth Hall every week for thirteen weeks without selling a single piece.
No business was started in the Cloth Hall until a bell was rung. Haggling took place in whispers. After an hour and a quarter the bell rang again and all business had to finish. On a good day £30,000 might change hands a massive sum for those days. No wonder the wooded roads from Leeds were full of thieves.
But when manufacturers like James Ives started up their own mills the domestic system on which the Cloth Hall depended declined & factories took their place. Also manufacturers disliked trading in close proximity to their rivals whose eyes often "popped out like chapel hat-pegs" to notice the patterns of their rivals.
Thus they started renting special rooms & warehouses away from the Cloth Hall in which to display their wares.
James Ives had a warehouse in Park Place until the company gave it up in 1907.


James Ives still continued his interest in farming. This provided him with food for his family and also fodder for the horses that were used in the slubbing process. (There were 12 horse-mills in Yeadon between 1780 & 1790) Fields also gave him space for his tenters. Then again "Seak" or the sediment from the scouring tanks could be used for manuring the land.
When cloth was ready for scouring it was laid out in the fields and sprinkled or pounded with substances to remove the oil (& grease & Dirt).
Today ammonia, alkalis & soda are used. What did they use in the early 19th century?
Dobson & Ives explain it as follows:- "Anyone trying to guess would be right with the first two guesses. However the folk of those days "thowt nowt to it" and in fact could not conceive of any substances more "natural" & efficacious. It was even deemed a public duty in these communities to collect these scouring agents in troughs in village gardens."
The cloth was thus pounded and sprinkled was then fulled in the mills down by the river, washed & dyed. Then they were carried back to Guiseley & Yeadon and dried on the clothiers "tenters" or hooks on which the cloth was stretched across the field.
This gave rise to a common expression.
Later a tentering machine powered by steam did the job indoors.
The cloth was then milled with soap & water and dried a final time.
The dry cloth then had to be finished. Workmen called croppers pulled up the nap on the cloth by use of teazles or combs and what were known as preemers boys were kept busy cleaning the teazles by picking out the fluff. The rather uneven nap then resulting was smoothed and made uniform throughout the piece by great hand-shears wielded by the skilled men croppers.
Repeated brushing with teazles & cropping with the shears produced a fine finished appearance.


Yeadon Waterworks Company 1862
Indenture between the Hon Wellington Henry Cotton & John Nappa of the first part, Richard Greville of the second, & Joseph Parkinson, William Thornton, Joseph Hodgson & Robert Jenkinson (woollen Manufacturers), Trustees of the Yeadon Waterworks of the third Part. Whereby the rights for 21 years is granted at £2 10s 0d per annum to lay pipes to draw surplus water from Rawdon Common & Hawkshaw Hill near the top of the common into a reservoir to be constructed subject to a cistern being built at Hawkshaw Well not less in size than 6 feet by 2 feet to first insure sufficient water for the tenants of the Estate & others intitled to the same

Manufacture of Cloth in Yeadon, written in 1880
The staple trade of the township has always been the manufacture of cloth. In this calling our forefathers had to endure greater hardships than we have now-a-days when we have every convenience close to hand.
Instead of having larger mills with hundreds of hands attending to spinning frames & power looms, all worked by steam, people had to card, slub & spin by hand, two weaving at one loom etc & two hundred years ago they might have been seen on fine days sitting with their spinning wheels in front of their houses striving to outstrip each other in their work.
Some of them spun listing, then carried it to Leeds, where in front of the Old Moot Hall in Briggate they exposed it for sale.
When the cloth was woven they took it to Esholt, Pool, Baildon, Arthington or Harewood to be fulled or Milled.
The slubbing by hand was done away with when what was called horse mills were introduced.
These mills were worked by horse-power ie a horse was attached to a pole which turned a small billey & carder something in the same manner as a horse until within the last few years would turn a thrashing machine; hence the name horse-mills.
There would be twelve of these horse-mills in Yeadon in about 1780 to 1790 & would be situated as follows:-
One in the fold behind where Dr Hepworth's surgery now stands belonging to John Dawson;
another on the site of James Croft's house belonging to James Preston;
one near Manor House which belonged to Jeremiah Slater;
another was where Mr Ives tentering machine now is belonging to Isaac Marshall;
another behind Parkinson's the butcher which was owned by William Yeadon;
another belonging to Jeremiah Hustler situated in Greenwood's Fold;
One at High Henshaw belonging to Thomas Marshall;
another at the bottom of Haworth Lane belonging to William Penny;
one where Bolton House now stands belonging to Abraham Grimshaw & another at the bottom of Low Fold belonging to Benjamin Lupton


Manufacture of Cloth in Yeadon, written in 1880
Trade and enterprise increased in the village & in 1862 Messrs Edward & Thomas Bolton built Manor Mills in the lower part of the town. They were the first to introduce power looms into the village & to this innovation there was great opposition from the numerous body of hand-loom weavers who predicted the failure of all who wished to do away with the hand-loom.
But instead of this the men prospered, power looms asserted their superiority & now hand-loom weaving was nearly died out & very rarely can be heard the click clack of the loom when one passes up & down the village street.
Of the other mills built more recently are the Kirk Lane Mills erected by Messrs Brown Brothers & Brayshaw in 1868; Banks Field Mill built by Mr Thomas Bolton (Bolton Murgatroyd & Co,) in 1869; Nunroyd Mill by Messrs J.JL. & C Peate in 1868; Crompton Mill built by the Lord of the Manor for a company under the name of the Crompton Mill Company in 1869 & lastly Moorefield Mill built in 1877 by Mr William Murgatroyd.
Of the Gill Mill I have said nothing. No doubt there has been a mill here from the remotest time wither as a water or steam mill & used either for grinding corn or for the purpose of cloth manufacture. It is now the property of Mr John Marshal Barwick & is run by Messrs Pilley.
A few years ago Mr William Wood introduced the iron trade into Yeadon by opening a foundry which is now occupied by Messrs Clabour & Crossfield & will no doubt prove useful & profitable both to the enterprising owners & the people.
This has been a short summary of the factories now in full work in Yeadon & although latterly trade has been bad all over the country still this town has enjoyed a fairly good trade & the mills have been mostly running full time.
From a close calculation taken from an average of the past six months I find that the mills alone (not including private houses) have consumed over 400 tons of coal per week.
The aggregate number of setts, that is, scribbler, carder & condensor now running in Yeadon is one hundred. These in turn find work for about 40,000 spindles & 1,200 looms & the whole of the factories employ about 2,400 workpeople who receive between two & three thousand pounds pre week in wages, so that the good old town has grown somewhat since John de Yeadon gave an annuity of 3 marks out of his mill here to Esholt Priory.


2nd December 1881
The time when mill workers in Yeadon & Guiseley worked from 6 o'clock in the morning until 8 at night was mentioned in a letter by a correspondent. He wrote" I like trade to be good, but I cannot stand these hours. They are not fair to those men who want to acquire technical knowledge & who dare not join any of the classes as they have not time to attend them"

25th July 1883
Yeadon, which for a number of years stood in a foremost position as a thriving manufacturing village suffered a great depression in trade in 1883. A large number of workpeople were out of employment & many were compelled to seek employment elsewhere.
Within a few months, between 40 & 50 people emigrated to America & Australia


23rd December 1892
The free meal which was provided in the Temperance Home, Yeadon, on Saturday last (December 15th) for those in needy circumstances was attended by between 400 & 500 persons.
All the necessaries of the meal was provided by Wm Murgatroyd of Moorefield Mill.
The serving and the meal was carried out by members of the Yeadon Friends Adult School.
The soup consisted of 107 lbs of Beef, ham bones, peas, carrots etc.Many of the recipients had not had such a good meal for a long time.
800 buns were distributed & what was left of the soup was sent to persons known to be in need who did not attend.
After the meal a concert was given to 200 persons - mostly children.

The committee of the Mechanics Institute have also been active in raising funds for the alleviation of distress from various sources &efforts. They raised £20 6s & from 70 to 80 families who were in need have been relieved.

The overseers of the Township (Constantine Waterhouse & Harry Waterworth) have also been soliciting help to relieve needy persons.

 

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