Room and Power in Barnoldswick

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Room and Power in Barnoldswick

Post by Stanley » 04 Sep 2013, 09:20

[Feel free to copy this text to your hard disc and to use it freely for quotation or dissemination for any personal or non-profit reasons. Please credit any such use to the author.]




Most people who have studied the textile industry in depth will have come across the terms 'Room and Power' and 'Shed Companies'. Much has been published on these two subjects and their place in the organisation and management of the textile trade in the North West of England so there is a legitimate question, what purpose will another contribution serve? Perhaps it will help if I address my own doubts and give my defence.
One of the great losses to serious study of all branches of industry is lack of the prime source evidence contained in company records. In some ways this is understandable, when a company ceases trading there is often sensitive information in the records which the former management would rather keep from the light of day particularly when the cessation is a company failure. However, this sensitivity diminishes with time and with hindsight it would be far better if important records were preserved under moratorium for say fifty years. Unfortunately this has not often happened and it's noticeable that when something of note does survive, it is more likely than not to be a happy accident. It is just such a circumstance which led to the genesis of this book. I'd like to tell you the story as it will aid your understanding of why I feel qualified to add even more to the burden.
Forty years ago, after a varied experience I was a long-distance wagon driver doing long hours at maximum weight and size burning more than my fair share of the world's fossil fuel resources. I saw five people killed in a road accident and this was the end of my days on the road. A chance conversation over a pint in my local pub opened up a new course in life and a year later I was the engineer at Bancroft Shed in Barnoldswick running a large textile steam engine, responsible for the whole of the plant and as happy as Larry! For the first time in twenty years I was in a situation where I could talk to people (It is often forgotten that driving is a form of solitary confinement.), learn new things and have the time to make further enquiries.
I soon realised that I was working in a time-warp. If you could have plucked a weaver from the 19th century and brought them into the shed at Bancroft they would have been completely at home, nothing had changed. I also realised that whilst much had been written about the industry, very little came from the horse's mouth. There was plenty of technical information about design principles but virtually nothing on what was actually done to run the boiler and engine efficiently or how the workers in the shed actually went about their jobs.
I was lucky enough at the time to become friends with a man called Daniel Meadows who was in the area as Artist in Residence, he was primarily a photographer and I taught him about the mill while he taught me photography. As I had a lot of freedom I started taking photographs of what was going on in the mill, these came to the notice of other people interested in the industry and the upshot was that I was encouraged to do a large oral history project based on workers describing what they were doing in pictures of them at work. This was well-supervised by my mentors and has since become a trusted source of prime source information. If you want to know more, look up the Lancashire Textile Project on any search engine.
Once the obvious selections had been made of particular workers describing their own jobs I sought other people outside the mill but closely connected with the trade, these included engineers, an industrial land and estate agent, the principal partner in a firm of accountants which provided management resources for the industry by acting as Company Secretary and most important, in the context of this book, a man called Harold Duxbury who, apart from being a leading building contractor in the town, was managing director of the Calf Hall Shed Company [CHSC] which was described at one time as the largest shed company in the North of England.
Apart from being a mine of information on many local subjects, Harold was a kind and thoughtful man. It seems evident that he recognised what I was trying to do and approved of it because he gave me access to the Minute Books of the CHSC from its inception in 1889 to the last days in the 1960s. Because the company was still trading at the time, Minute Book Number Ten was beyond my reach but he allowed me to copy the earlier nine volumes.
Time marched on, my research continued in other fields and at the beginning of 2011 I decided that it was time to address the resource I had guarded for over thirty years. Harold was dead, the Calf Hall Company is defunct, I am not a young man, perhaps it was time to do something about the minute books. I started by transcribing the nine handwritten volumes, 700 pages, 400,000 words of detailed records covering every aspect of the organisation and management of the company. This is now safe and archived securely. However, the problem with this amount of detailed information is that its size renders it inaccessible to all but the dedicated researcher. Hence the reason for this book.
A secondary factor is the contribution I can make to explain technical terms and give some clues about the linkages with the life of the town outside the company. I have already done this by adding notes to the transcribed minute books to aid understanding and would like to go further in this book. My aim is to give as complete an understanding of what was happening as possible based on the prime source of the minutes. Having worked in the industry I have personal experience and this in itself is more prime source information. One final facet which will become clearer in what follows is that because of the lateness of the inception of the CHSC and the fact that its management was advised by men who were intimately concerned with the other shed companies in the district, we can be fairly sure that the management policies of the CHSC were in line with the industry as a whole. This was not a unique management style but one which had been honed to what was seen as a perfect model after many years of experience. As such it can be used as a guide to the North East Lancashire Room and Power provision industry as a whole.
At this point I need to make a Public Service Announcement. No historian can claim infallibility, research constantly refines assessments and conclusions. The only part of what follows that can be accepted as fact is direct quotation from the Minute Books, I have done my best to transcribe as accurately as possible. Everything else is interpretation and personal assessment. There is always a dilemma inherent in going public, do we hold back until the research is 'complete', or do we set a cut-off point and accept that we will be overtaken by better sources. It's obvious that I have made this choice and my defence is that I am seventy five years old, how much longer have I got? I have seen too many researchers go to the grave taking their accumulated knowledge with them. This version of Room and Power and the Shed Companies will not be perfect but it may be the most detailed we have seen so far. At least I can rest easy in the knowledge that I made the attempt.
I hope that the reader gets as much out of my work as I have had in pursuing it. This is a brave story of enterprise in an era long gone but perhaps contains some lessons for today.


The action of our story takes place in Barnoldswick, formerly an outlier of the NW textile industry in the West Riding of Yorkshire but since the boundary changes of 1974 subsumed for administrative purposes in Lancashire. It will give some idea of the character of the town if I say that this forced relocation was not popular. For many years the new county boundary signs were uprooted or defaced until the powers-that-be admitted defeat and while they kept the administrative changes in place, put the signs back in their historic locations and gave Barnoldswick its own post code.
The town is equidistant from Skipton in North Yorkshire and Burnley in Lancashire. It is not served by any through route and has always been regarded as a place apart, it was said that any stranger entering the town was either visiting a relative or lost. There is also a well-known local saying, “Are you married or do you live in Barlick?” (Barlick is the local contraction of the name, it appears frequently in the minutes with that spelling and I shall use it from now on.) I have always puzzled about this and though I have no concrete evidence suspect it dates back to the days when the powerful Lancashire textile unions used the sanction of expulsion against any member straying beyond the bounds of wedlock. Being over the boundary, Barlick could have been a useful port in any storm and a source of employment beyond the reach of the Colne and Nelson unions. There are certainly men living with their 'nieces' or young female lodgers with children noted in the censuses but I have never tried to do any comparative research. Perhaps I don't want my fancy damaged.
The town lies in the easterly lee of Whitemoor, a hill which rises to 1000 feet and is well watered by the prevailing south westerly winds. This results in a good run-off from the watershed and this flow running eastwards down to the town on the 500 feet contour was a good resource for water-powered mills. The existence of a thriving cottage-based textile industry, at first almost exclusively wool but after 1780 using cotton, stimulated the use of water power for rudimentary carding and spinning to produce sliver, an intermediate stage of loosely twisted cotton fibres which increased the productivity of the cottage spinners. As far as I can ascertain, this water powered industry never passed through the classic waterframe stage at the end of the 18th century, it seems to have moved directly from the earlier crude machinery to the later throstles which were the initial form of modern continuous spinning. [See Chris Aspin's book 'The Water Spinners'. 2003. The best account I know of the water-powered industry.]
By the end of the 18th century there were two major families in Barlick engaged in the putting-out system using domestic workers, the Bracewell's at Coates Mill and the Mitchell's at what later became Clough Mill. The Bracewell family figure largely in our story, the Mitchell's sold out to the Slater family in 1867 and drop out of the picture.
By 1800 the Leeds and Liverpool Canal had opened up Barlick to the wider world. Until then lack of locally mined coal and inadequate transport had precluded any development based on cheap fuel. The arrival of the canal changed all this and at the same time the first primitive rotative steam engines were becoming an economic proposition. By 1827 there was at least one engine in the town at Clough Mill, supplementing the power of the waterwheel and enabling a modest expansion. The Bracewell Brothers at Coates followed shortly afterwards and seemed to be set on a course of expansion at Coates Mill.
At this point we have to take note of a scion of the Earby branch of the Bracewell family, William Bracewell, later of Newfield Edge, commonly referred to as 'Billycock' because of his headgear to differentiate him from his cousin William, one of the Bracewell Brothers at Coates Mill. We need to look closely at Billycock because in order to understand what follows we have to have a clear picture of the man and how his actions indirectly led to the explosive expansion of the Barlick weaving mills from 1886 onwards.
Billycock was a man driven by ambition. He wanted control of the town and while he couldn't do anything about the Mitchells (and later the Slaters) at Clough Mill, he applied all his energies to dominating the rest of Barlick. He erected the town's first large purpose-built steam mill at Butts in 1846 and a second mill at Wellhouse in 1853. He bought water rights, land and even the largest local milk round. He built cottage properties for his workers and outside the town controlled a large foundry and engineering works in Burnley and a large part of the Ingleton coalfield. As a sideline he promoted the branch line from the Midland Railway at Earby so by 1870 Barlick had a rail connection as well. He never let any space in his mills to tenants as they could be competitors, the only places where a newcomer to the industry could get a foothold was in Clough Mill or the old Coates Mill run by his cousins. It should be noted that at this stage all the mills in the town were working on the combined system, taking in raw cotton and preparing, spinning and weaving under one roof.
By 1860 the Bracewell Brothers at Old Coates were bankrupt. It would appear that a combination of factors brought this about, it was an old mill still using a waterwheel supplemented by a steam engine and as later events proved, could have been starved of essential water supplies by the actions of their cousin Billycock. In later years Harold Duxbury had occasion to investigate the route taken by any overflow from the Wellhouse Mill dams. He put dye in the water and was surprised to find it was piped directly to Butts Beck via over 400 yards of cast iron pipe. This was obviously installed during the Bracewell ownership and the effect was to ensure that the discharge was at too low a level to be used by Old Coates Mill. The easiest course would have been to discharge it back into the Bowker Drain. I think we are allowed our own conclusions as to why Billycock went to this considerable expense.
James Nuttall bought Old Coates with the intention of starting it up again but was foiled by Billycock who took him to court over the water rights and stopped him in his tracks. Nuttall's reaction was to build a small modern shed at Coates Bridge (1864, 400 looms) using condenser water for the steam engine drawn from the Leeds and Liverpool canal, the only significant cooling water resource left in Barlick, apart from Clough Mill, that was totally outside Billycock's power. It's significant that this mill departed from the combined system and specialised in weaving. Nuttall took in tenants and we have well documented comments from contemporaries who rejoiced that the 'underdogs', the small tenants displaced from Old Coates, had found a new home. The mill was a welcome innovation but never developed beyond a small independent shed.
The overall condition of Barlick in 1870 was a town making moderate progress even though it was handicapped by the hegemony of Billycock of Newfield Edge. The population in 1840 was about 1,500. As was the common experience in those days, the advent of the steam driven mills attracted workers from the depressed agricultural hinterland to the north. Many families moved en masse into Barlick to take advantage not only of the higher wages for adults but the prospects of employment for their children. Daughters in particular benefited, they no longer had to leave home in the Dales to go into domestic service. By 1881 the population was over 4,000.
This increase in population stimulated other economic activities. The professions gained a foothold, lawyers, doctors, accountants and even a share-broker did well and built up their capital and interests. The needs of the population had to be serviced, grocers, bakers and the retail trades flourished. It's quite surprising how many of the successful manufacturers of the 20th century could trace the roots of their success back to grocer's shops, tea dealing, bake-houses and other retail trades. The town was well served for transport by an efficient road system, the railway and the canal. Things could have been worse but until the mid 1880's, unlike North East Lancashire, there was no 'take off'. We need to understand why.


By 1879 Billycock Bracewell's sons William Metcalfe and Christopher George aged 41 and 33 respectively were both working with their father for a weekly wage. Pressure was mounting in the family for change and in late September 1879 Billycock created a partnership, William Bracewell and Sons. He took five tenths of the equity, William Metcalfe had three tenths and Christopher George two tenths. The sons had achieved status in the firm at last and Billycock, aged 66, could start to take things a bit easier.
Eight months later on the 8th of June 1880 William Metcalfe went home from work to his house at Calf Hall as usual but died suddenly aged 42. This was a hammer blow for the old man as William Metcalfe was the favoured son and from all accounts seems to have been a pretty good bloke. Christopher George was a different man altogether. Contemporary accounts describe him as a drunkard, wastrel and womaniser with very little aptitude for business. There was nothing for it, Billycock had to get back in harness again with an increased workload.
William Metcalfe hadn't made a will. Elizabeth his widow took out Letters of Administration on the estate and became the owner of three tenths of William Bracewell and Sons. There was an accounting in May 1881 and during this legal process William Metcalfe’s share of the firm was assessed as £19,509, Elizabeth was confirmed as legatee and notified to this effect. This accounting valued the whole partnership at £65,000. Conversions of historic value to modern terms are inexact but we are safe in saying that this was about £7million in modern terms. In a society which had so little regard for women there was no way that Billycock or Christopher George were going to accept Elizabeth, a woman, as a working partner. Billycock started paying her £5 a week housekeeping money from the firm and father and son carried on hoping that Elizabeth would do the right thing and leave them to run the business. It was recognised then and later on in court that old William was the dominant partner. As we'll see later, 'dominant' was the operative word.
By 1882 Elizabeth was getting restless. I don’t think she had much time for her father in law or his son and her objective was to take her money out of the firm and gain independence. I also think she was being advised by friends and other members of the family to get out while the going was good. In May 1882 she instructed her solicitor to write to Billycock as senior partner and ask for her money. He sent for her and in evidence given under oath at Wakefield in June 1888 he was described as being ‘in a great rage’. (See the transcript of Bracewell V Bracewell, Smith and Threlfall in the appendices.) He asked her whether she had authorised the letter and when she said she had he said he was going to “throw the whole thing up and she should take it into her own hands and do as well as she could”.
My interpretation from my research is that the problem was that the partnership couldn’t afford to pay her out, Billycock was in trouble and he knew it. As she was leaving the office he called Elizabeth back and asked her to go with his book-keeper, Mr Eastwood, to Burnley to see Mr Matthew Watson who was an auctioneer and valuer. (We shall meet Mr Eastwood later when he takes over Butts Mill.) After some negotiations over the next few days during which Matthew Watson described William Bracewell as being ‘very indignant’, Billycock bought Elizabeth's interest by giving her four promissory notes on his personal estate amounting to what was owed together with a promise to pay 3% interest and told her that this was the best surety she could have. This meant that Elizabeth was guaranteed an income of £650 per annum, a rise in her housekeeping money of £400. The full amount of interest was never paid and there is little doubt that the subject was boiling up again when on the 13th of March 1885 Billycock died aged 72. From here on it was all downhill.
William Bracewell’s will of the 10th of March 1885 is a complicated and revealing document. He had controlled everyone during his life and was evidently intending to carry on doing so from beyond the grave. There are so many trusts and sub-clauses that it is almost impossible to see how it could have worked even if the estate was in good shape. As it transpired, this was not the case and all his carefully laid plans came to nought.
With his father's death, Christopher George Bracewell of Bank House at Coates was the sole partner as Elizabeth had sold her stake to Billycock. George Robinson, the manager of the Craven Bank and Bracewell and Sons' chief creditor, must have made an assessment of the position taking into account his confidence in the state of the firm and Christopher’s character and abilities. He acted quickly, no doubt went through the motions of asking for the overdraft to be reduced, and eventually foreclosed in early 1887 by seizing the assets of the partnership so that the bank could liquidate them and draw back what was owing. What followed was a fire sale that started with a public auction in December 1887 and lasted for more than six years. The question that arises is how Elizabeth fared in this dénouement. In June 1888 after most of the assets had been sold she took her case to the Chancery Court at Wakefield. In essence she was suing Christopher Bracewell and the executors of her father in law’s personal estate, Messrs Smith and Threlfall, for £21,500, the acknowledged debt owing to her plus the accumulated interest. The net effect if she succeeded was that the partnership shares were worthless.
The executors of the will were Christopher George and two of Elizabeth’s brothers in law, Smith Smith a solicitor and Joseph Henry Threlfall, a wine merchant, both of Colne. There was bad blood between Christopher and both these men, indeed, I get the feeling that the executors were advising Elizabeth but I have no direct proof.
The nub of the case to be decided in the Chancery Court at Wakefield in 1888 was whether the money owing to Elizabeth was a charge on the assets of the partnership or whether by issuing promissory notes on his personal estate Billycock had accepted the responsibility himself, in effect he had bought Elizabeth’s share. One significant thing that came out in the hearing was that no proper audit of the partnership had been carried out at either William Metcalfe’s death or his father’s. The figure of £19,509 was notional, there was no formal audit to back it up but this did not alter the fact that Billycock had given promissory notes based on this valuation and the amounts specified on these were what Elizabeth was owed.
I can’t say with certainty what the decision of the court was. I’m not even sure the case came to a formal conclusion because in effect Mr Justice Kekewich told the parties to go away and do a proper accounting and make a decision between themselves, I have found no subsequent proceedings. All I can say with certainty is that the judge stated that he had no doubt that as the dominant partner, no distinction could be made between Billycock's partnership assets and his personal fortune, the two were one and the same thing. There is a note on Billycock’s will which states that his personal estate was valued at £18,640 gross and nil net with no leaseholds, he didn't even own his house at Newfield Edge, it was rented from the Fawcett family who bought it off the original builder, Mitchell of Clough Mill. In effect, this industrial giant had died penniless, the partnership had no assets, Elizabeth had won the day.
These events precipitated the crisis in Barlick from 1885 onwards. After the judgement of 1888 Christopher Bracewell had no assets apart from his home, Bank House. The Craven Bank had no interest in the business of running the two large mills in the town or any of the other Bracewell properties. Christopher George died on September 11th 1889 at Bank House in Barlick. Administration of his personal estate of £580-6-1 was granted at Wakefield on November 12th 1889 to his relict, Jane Bracewell. It would appear that this estate was the value of his sole asset, Bank House, and as we shall see in 1893 George Proctor was living there. We will also see from later developments that the bank realised that both Butts and Wellhouse Mills were old mills working on an outdated business model, the days of the combined mill were over, specialisation using twist manufactured by the modern spinning mills in SE Lancashire and transported by rail was the modern way. The bank's first action was to reduce expenses to a minimum, they shut down the mills and the coalmines at Ingleton. In the case of the mines they made a serious mistake, they not only ceased mining but stopped the pumping operations and the mines drowned making them virtually worthless.
Contemporary newspaper reports noted that Barlick was badly affected. Almost all the redundant workers lived in rented or tied accommodation, they used the efficient transport links and the thriving rented property market in the neighbouring towns of Colne, Nelson and Burnley, and moved out of the town. It was reported that grass was growing on the streets.
I think we have the full picture now. Barlick was a town in deep trouble because of the Bracewell failure. Due to bad management, the assets that remained were not fit for purpose, massive investment would be needed to convert them to modern methods. The question was where would this capital come from and who would initiate change?


Before we plunge into the story of how Barlick managed the transformation from deep distress in 1887 to becoming possibly the heaviest concentration of weaving per head of population in the North West of England in 1914 we need to make sure we understand exactly what the terms 'Room and Power' and 'Shed Companies' mean and what options were open for capital formation to form a company. This is perhaps as good a place as any to explain why you will find that some textile factories are described as mills and some as sheds. In general, a mill is a factory that was originally a combined spinning and weaving establishment, a shed is one built specifically for weaving.
Let's get capital formation out of the way first. We have to go back to June 1720 when Parliament passed an act forbidding all joint stock companies not authorised by Royal Charter. One common misconception is that the the act was a reaction to the failure of the South Sea Company. In fact the act was passed before the South Sea Bubble burst and the latest research indicates that the South Sea Company supported the Act so as to prevent other companies imitating their business model. At the same time Parliament gained greater control over commerce. In the event, by late 1720 the South Sea Company's 'bubble' had collapsed and left the act on the statute books as a useful safeguard against further speculative damage.
From 1720 until 1825 when the act was repealed the most common vehicle for company formation was the private partnership and all the early water powered textile mills in Barlick used this model. Despite the 1825 repeal I have found no evidence for the formation of a joint stock company in Barlick before 1887. The significance for us is that after 1825 there was an alternative route to capital formation available even though it hadn't been used in the town.
Room and Power, the concept of renting space in a water-powered mill to individual tenants and supplying them with power to run their machinery from internal shafting driven by the water wheel, was as old as the mills themselves. It was a useful way for a partnership to maximise the return from their investment. Quite often the partnership provided the machinery and in some cases might even have supplied work for the individuals. Some of the names which appear as tenants in the small watermills before 1800 eventually became major manufacturers in the town. So, 'Room and Power' is self explanatory, it was exactly what it said, an opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain the advantage of the rotative-power industry at a low capital threshold of entry.
'Shed Company' is slightly more obscure. The first mention I have found of a mill built specifically for renting out as room and power is in 1838 at Marsden, a small village which later expanded and became better known as Nelson. It is a rare document so I give it in full:


“The distressed state of the hand loom weavers in Marsden whose suffering case has repeatedly been before the public during the last 12 months and who, from the depressed rate of wages are still unable to obtain a livelihood even when fully employed, and are therefore obliged to eke out their scanty pittance at the Vestry board; has at length induced the Inhabitants and Owners of Property to project the formation of a Company for the above purpose, with a view of providing more profitable employment and thereby relieving the existing pressure, which is felt in degree by every class of Society. Already the Weavers are emigrating to more favoured districts, and whilst Trade has been diminishing Parochial assessments have greatly increased: Tradesmen and others, whose means of subsistence depend on the labouring population are more or less injured in their circumstance and unless means are devised for checking the evil, a general depreciation of Property must ensue.
It is therefore proposed to raise a fund in shares of £50 each for the erection of two or more Mills with Steam Engines of 30 Horses' Power each, and other necessary appendages which shall be let to respectable Tenants who will provide their own Machinery: And it is Confidently anticipated that such a Rent will be Obtained as will amply repay the Proprietors for the Outlay.
The advantages which this Locality presents for the erection of mills and other manufactories are obvious to those who are acquainted with the district; but for the information of Strangers it may be needful to Observe, that the Township of Little Marsden is inhabited by a dense population chiefly employed in hand Loom Weaving; the Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through the whole breadth of the Township, nearly parallel with and at a very short distance from a good Turnpike Road, forming a direct communication with Manchester. The Marsden Colliery which has long been celebrated for its abundant supply of excellent Coal is situate between the Canal and the Road.
The Township and its immediate vicinity abounds with good stone of every kind for Building purposes, which may be obtained at a trifling Cost beyond the expense of Quarrying and the Rivulet which runs through the Valley with its tributary Streams affords an ample supply of water for condensing purposes.
This will not be a trading, but strictly a Building Company, and no Shareholder will incur any liability beyond the amount of his Subscription. The Property of the Company will be vested in Trustees for the use of the Proprietors and the Shares in the Undertaking will be transferable at the pleasure of the holder under the provisions of a Deed of Settlement.
Upwards of £3,000 has already been subscribed, and when a sufficient sum has been obtained for the erection of one mill, a meeting of Subscribers will be convened by Circular for the purpose of forming the Company and carrying its object into effect; in the mean time applications for shares may be made to Mr Henry Tunstill, Cotton Spinner, Brierfield House. William Landless at the Marsden Colliery. John Bolton, cotton manufacturer, New Bridge Mill. John Edmondson, corn miller, Bradley Mill or to Caleb Haworth, Conveyancer, Marsden near Colne from whom any further information may be obtained”.
Marsden. 5mo. 1838.
[Transcribed by Stanley Challenger Graham from a copy of a document provided by Geoff Shackleton. 24 October 2004]

I'm grateful to Geoff for bringing this document to my notice as it contains so much information. Thinking in terms of Barlick, it reflects exactly what was happening here fifty years later. The capital holders of Marsden have a problem, in their case the major concern seems to be the onerous burden of the Poor Rate. Remember that they paid two rates, the Town Rate and the Poor Rate, the latter going directly to the Local Board of Guardians. The response to the problem is to build a mill, give work to the unemployed and gain a triple advantage, profit from letting space to budding entrepreneurs, lessening of the burden of the Poor Rate and a general improvement in the economic prospects of the district. Note also that public subscription is now legal and from the wording it would appear to be limited liability. They have recognised the advantages of efficient transport links and abundant water to cool the condensers on the engines, the great improvement that James Watt made to the early atmospheric engine. Ability to raise a vacuum on the exhaust of the engine gave far greater economy even on these early beam engines. Best of all, the prospectus is quite unequivocal about the business model, “This will not be a trading, but strictly a Building Company”. They had a clear objective, to provide accommodation for entrepreneurs wishing to enter the industry. The advantage to the tenants was a low threshold of entry and freedom to concentrate on what they knew best, rolling cloth off looms. The attraction for the promoters of the scheme is that they were operating as landlords with all the security of property law and none of the uncertainties of engaging in a trade which was noted for its cyclical nature. If there was one accepted view shared by the manufacturers it was that trade varied with the season and external economic factors. The only constant they knew was that by some miracle the overall trend of demand was upwards and when trade improved it always came back more strongly than before. This was to hold true until 1914.
Reading the prospectus another question arises in my mind. Leaving aside the purely commercial expectation of turning a profit on their investment, it seems obvious that the deterioration of the domestic industry leading to social distress and high levels of maintenance through the Poor Rate was a significant factor in their thinking. This could be more than simple economics. We should not discount the hidden internal linkages in the local society of family, religion and membership of local societies. Whilst not purely philanthropic I think we are allowed to recognise an element of compassion. Perhaps just as important is the attitude of the promoters to competition in the trade. Notice that there are two prominent textile manufacturers mentioned as promoters, one has to assume that they were confident enough to discount any disadvantage to their businesses by encouraging new starters.
Thinking back to our story about Barlick and the difference in attitude between the Slaters, Mitchells and Bracewell Brothers who encouraged small tenants in their mills and Billycock who wouldn't entertain any potential competition we are allowed to ask ourselves which was the more successful model. As we delve deeper into the subsequent history of the trade in Barlick we shall see that the bonds forged between the companions in adversity who started as tenants with perhaps just six looms persisted. True, there would be competition in business but this was not open warfare. They all passed through a phase during which they amassed the capital to build their own mills by working as tenants in the shed companies and we shall see much evidence of them working in concert to maximise their profits inside the system.
We can never fully assess the scale or importance of these personal bonds in society but let me give one small example. One of the Slater family in retail trade as a tea-dealer had a profitable sideline selling Blackie's family Bibles. He employed several local young men to go round the district selling the Bibles door to door. These lads eventually became manufacturers with thousands of looms in their own weaving sheds. I often wonder how many times in later years they sat together and recalled their days as travelling salesmen. Mind you, this could have its downside, all was not always sweetness and light. When I interviewed Stephen Pickles junior he described the Nutters as 'gangsters' and swore that one of their ploys to sell family bibles to farmers at £5 each was to threaten to maim their cattle!
Right! We have a clear picture of Room and Power and the Shed Companies. We have our model and and some clues about local conditions after the failure of Bracewell and Sons. There is a legal mechanism for attracting public investment without Royal Charter. Let's see what happened in Barlick.


Before we look specifically at Barlick we would do well to take note what had been happening in the wider industry. (One of the most reliable sources for the statistics of the industry is the 1969 'The Weaver's Story' the history of the Amalgamated Weaver's Association. I trust the book and have used it heavily. I have also used 'Lancashire in Decline' by Lars Sandberg, 1974, for the cloth export figures.) The estimated number of power looms in the United Kingdom in 1832 is 75,000. By 1887 it was over 600,000 and was to reach a peak of over 800,000 in 1913. Total exports of cotton cloth in 1830 was about 300,000 yards, by 1887 it was 5,000,000 yards and in 1913, just over 6,000,000 yards.
I think we are allowed to interpret these figures as being evidence that in the wider industry, by 1887, the great initial surge of innovation and expansion was complete, what followed was consolidation and slower growth in a well-established system which had perfected its mechanisms and trading links. In terms of mill construction and plant design, by 1887 almost all the problems had been solved. The modern girder shed construction and efficient engine and boiler plant were standardised. (Many of the mills which survived until the end of the industry still had the original late 19th century plant.) The plain Lancashire loom, tape sizing machines and warehouse machinery were universal not only in Britain but also in many countries overseas, there was a healthy export trade for textile machinery which had been proved effective by experience. There was a well developed service industry serving all the trade's needs, one of the features of the Lancashire industry was that specialisation in all branches was seen to be essential so ancillary functions were put out to small sub-contractors. The well-oiled machinery of the Manchester Cotton Exchange with its standard contracts for yarn and cloth containing clauses which protected the traders from unforeseen events enabled the industry to be competitive and work efficiently on low profit margins and high volumes. [All contracts were based on the Sale of Goods Act 1893. There were standard contracts agreed by conferences of trade associations and Stephen Pickles told me that the contracts used on the Manchester Exchange were variants of these standards. Many firms used their own versions but all contained clauses dealing with strike, lockout, breakdown, fire or other unavoidable occurrence, this last clause was often, but not always, interpreted as allowing coal and labour clauses. The overall aim was, as far as possible, to minimise risk.]
There was one further factor. In 1838, despite great advances in machinery design, transport provision was lagging and even the smallest mills tended to work on a vertical model, they took in raw fibre and carried out all the processes from that point to cloth production. These were the 'Combined Mills'. By 1870 efficient, speedy rail transport had made it possible for the industry to reorganise, even an outlier like Barlick was less than two hours travel from the floor of the 'change and the South Lancashire mills. The postal system was equally efficient with early deliveries which meant that a Manchester Man on Barlick railway station waiting for the 7:30 train could have the day's orders delivered to him by the office boy before he left for Manchester. The telegraph system was fast and efficient, there are numerous entries in the minutes recording telegrams being used to convey urgent messages. The advantages of larger units specialising in one branch of the trade became obvious, spinning of yarn was concentrated in South East Lancashire and weaving in the North East part of the county. I have anecdotal evidence showing that it was possible for the 'Manchester Man' representing a weaving firm on the 'change in Manchester to place an order for yarn and in exceptional cases it could be delivered in Barlick before he got home in the evening. By 1887 this model of specialisation and reliance on the South East Lancashire mills for yarn was virtually universal.
Compare and contrast the situation in Barlick in 1887. Though always an outlier of the industry we had a rail connection with Manchester, the exchange in Manchester was being used daily, but there was only one small specialised weaving shed in the town at Nuttall's Coates Bridge Mill. In the case of Slaters at Clough Mill this was not necessarily a sign of bad management or lagging behind the times. Since surviving the Cotton Famine in the 1860s by experimenting with different fibres the Slaters had continued to use a mix of fibres, doing their own spinning and weaving and even some hank dyeing to produce specialised coloured yarn for their cloth. They were unique in Barlick in this respect until about 1900 when they joined the mainstream and became primarily plain cotton weavers.
William Bracewell and Sons was a different matter. Here we had the classic combination of an autocratic, ageing principal, Billycock, locked into an obsolete business model by a combination of inertia generated by his original investment and lack of sufficient capital to modernise. In the normal course of events these imbalances could possibly have been addressed by a younger generation but as we have seen, the combination of the death of William Metcalfe Bracewell and the ineptitude of his brother precluded this. Billycock's death in 1887 triggered what, with hindsight, we can see was the inevitable conclusion, decline followed by business failure.
Despite the dead hand of the Bracewell hegemony on expansion in Barlick, the small manufacturers who had been honing their skills in Clough Mill, Old Coates before 1860 and New Coates after 1864 as tenants were members of the 'change in Manchester, even small units like the Pickles family in Clough Mill with less than a score of looms sent one of their number to the 'change each week. They were intelligent and ambitious and being immersed in the mainstream were well aware of the latest practices and business models. Their problem was opportunity for expansion.
We would do well to take note here of the role of George Robinson, manager of the Craven Bank at Skipton. I have read some of his diaries which, the last time I saw them, were archived at the Midland Bank in Liverpool and there is no doubt in my mind that he was well aware of the potential in Barlick and also the problems. His bank was the Bracewell partnership's main creditor, he knew where the bodies were buried. We should also note the accountancy firm of Proctor and Proctor of 3 Grimshaw Street in Burnley. They had a very good connection in the trade because they acted as company secretaries for many of the manufacturers and shed companies operating in North East Lancashire. George Proctor the senior partner was an energetic and able man and through his dealings with both the manufacturers and the banks had his finger firmly on the pulse. He also had the confidence to invest in firms for whom he acted. We are going to see a lot of George Proctor and his partner Edward Wood as our story unfolds.
George Robinson at Skipton was the initiator of the melt-down in Barlick when in 1886/87 he foreclosed on Bracewell and Sons. We have already noted his intimate knowledge of the partnership and that this was the reason for his prompt action. Privately I often wonder if he was even smarter than I credit him, his actions later in the story clearly point towards him having a clear view of what was a viable business model. It's worth taking note that in 1885 he brought pressure to bear on the Bracewell partnership in Earby under exactly the same circumstances and with the same results. In Barlick's case, by the 3rd and 4th of August 1887 the fire sale was in full swing with an auction at the Seven Stars Assembly Rooms in the town and while all the lots weren't sold immediately this was a radical shake-up of land and resource ownership in the town. I also think it is significant that Edward Rushton and Son, the Manchester auctioneers acting for the Chancery Court, held this auction in Barlick, also the subsequent auctions of land in December 1887 and the Corn Mill on May 31st 1888. This must mean that they had confidence in the strength of the local economy and the level of demand.
The first move towards modern Barlick started so quickly after the failure of Bracewells that I feel sure that its gestation preceded the collapse. Evidence provided by Geoff Shackleton in the form of reports from the trade papers supports this. I think it's significant that it happened in a part of Barlick, Long Ing on the north side of the town, that had never been controlled by Billycock. It's also significant that it was on the bank of the Leeds and Liverpool canal and used it as a condenser pond. We have seen already that after the debacle of attempting to revive Old Coates Mill in 1861, James Nuttall's solution of using the canal as a condenser water supply at Coates Bridge and avoiding any interference from Billycock was successful and I think this lesson had been noted.
In case you are wondering why this excellent resource hadn't been used before 1864, natural water resources were free and controllable, the canal company charged a licence fee based on the indicated horse power of the engine. When Coates Shed was sold on December 6th 1905 the cost of water abstraction was noted as £12 per annum for 360 looms, about 200hp. The mill owners soon learned to record the horse power on Friday afternoons or Saturday morning when many weavers were cleaning their looms and demand on the engine was low. I have evidence of temporary engine tenters indicating when power was at its peak and causing questions to be asked by the canal company. Never underestimate the business acumen of the old manufacturers! They had been reared in a hard school.
On April 15th 1886 there was a report in the Textile Mercury: 'Long Ing Shed Company, Barnoldswick propose to purchase land at Long Ing to erect a cotton mill thereon. Capital £20,000 in 40 shares of £500 each.
G Rushworth, Colne, Engineer 4 shares
H Slater, Barnoldswick, Cotton Manufacturer 1share
W Hewitt, Colne 1share
J Eastwood, Barnoldswick, Mill Manager 1share
J Pickup, Barnoldswick, General Dealer 1share
J Broughton, Barnoldswick, Surveyor 1share
C Brooks, Barnoldswick, 1share
J Mercer Edmondson, Barnoldswick, Butcher 1share
(John Eastwood, Billycock's old book-keeper also restarted Butts Mill in 1889 but never quite achieved success. We shall come across him and Butts later in the story.)
I think there can be little doubt that an enterprise on this scale involved a lot of preliminary planning and negotiation and it is likely that this process started before Billycock died. Notice the name of the company, despite the presence on the board of textile manufacturers this was a company formed specifically to provide room and power to tenants, a true shed company. Long Ing opened for business in 1887 with 1200 looms and expanded by 400 looms in 1888 but the company never grew beyond one mill because of the limited share ownership, I have no evidence of small share holders in the company. We shall encounter them again in our story, meanwhile there was another initiative brewing.
In 1888 there was another new build, a small weaving shed at Salterforth for 400 looms. I'm not sure who the promoters were but in 1889 James Slater left the partnership of John Slater and Sons at Clough and moved into the shed with 216 looms. He eventually bought the shed and extended in 1899 to 638 looms but that was the limit and it was always an outlier even though it was in Barlick. There seems to have been some friction in the Slater partnership after the death of old John Slater in 1868. In 1880 Clayton Slater, one of the brothers, left the partnership, migrated to Canada and unusually, took his looms with him. I include this information because it is a good example of how the policies of a family partnership could be influenced by personal matters and not trading considerations. A public company did not have this problem.
We noted earlier that there were stake holders in Barlick not directly associated with the textile trade but dependent on a buoyant economy for their prosperity. We can only guess about the conversations between these men triggered by empty mills, houses and no doubt the Long Ing initiative. What we know from the evidence of reports in the Craven Herald is the following.
On the 22nd of October 1888: 'Proposed new weaving shed. Report of a meeting at the Baptist chapel re the new shed company.' The meeting was held in the Baptist Old Chapel. The Rev. E R Lewis in the chair, present were Dr Roberts, J Pickup, Brooks Banks, G Wilkinson, J Windle and about fifty others. It was decided to form a company to build a mill to hold 800 looms in a paddock adjoining Butts Mill [The Parrock]. A tenant had already been found for 400 looms providing they started building by Christmas. The shares of the company were to be £5 each and a temporary committee was elected to meet the Trustees of the Bethesda Chapel to whom the land belonged. Thirty eight people gave their names as intending shareholders.
On the 3rd of November 1888: 'Meeting of the new shed company at Mechanic’s Hall (Jepp Hill). Discussions as to site'. The meeting considered details of a new site which had been offered to them at the foot of Calf Hall Lane. It was decided to see the proprietors of both the Parrock site and the Calf Hall site and get the lowest prices off each of them.
On the 17th of November 1888: 'Meeting in Seven Stars Assembly Rooms. Shares to be £25. Initial share capital to be £10,000. £6000 of this taken up at the meeting'. Report of a meeting in the Seven Stars Assembly Room on Thursday the 8th of November: John Lowcock of Blackpool had offered land at the bottom of 'Cow Foot Lane' [Calf Hall Lane] on very favourable terms and offered to become a shareholder. It transpired that the Chapel Trustees were not able to sell the Parrock. [I suspect the problem was getting the necessary permissions from the Charity Commissioners. We shall see later that their acquiescence was necessary in subsequent dealings with the CHSC.] The 'Cow Foot Lane' site was best as they were first takers of the water. Brooks Banks then showed how a mill with 800 looms could return 10% on capital. It was then proposed and accepted that the shares would be £25 each and not £5. Shareholder's names were taken and the meeting became private. £6,000 is already taken up and building is to start at Christmas.
From the Minute books: 'The first Annual General Meeting of the Company was held pursuant to the Statute in the Seven Stars Assembly Room Barnoldswick on the 27th day of April 1889'.
Craven Herald report, 29th November 1889: 'Calf Hall Shed almost completed and expected to start on December 1st'. There is a further report on 6th of December of the starting and christening of the engines on 30th November.
The Calf Hall Shed company had been formed and had built a new shed in twelve months. An impressive performance. Behind these bald facts lies a story that says much about the mood of the town at that time. I know from research, reading diaries and published memoirs that despite a façade of admiration for William Bracewell of Newfield Edge and his achievements, there was also an undercurrent of resentment against the degree of control he exerted over Barlick and the lives of the people living there. Stephen Pickles Junior told me that there was also ill-feeling against Billycock because of his personal life. He was reputed to be a womaniser, a drinker and addicted to cock-fighting. Stephen was no great fan of Billycock but my assessment of his evidence is that there was more than a hint of truth in it. Despite his reverential and cautious approach, William Parkinson Atkinson in his 1915 memoir 'Old Barlick' couldn't resist saying of James Nuttall and the new shed at Coates “patience and perseverance were crowned with success and this …. became a source of employment and has ever since those times of 'big dog and little dog struggles' added its share to the welfare and prosperity of the town. 'Evil be to him who evil thinks'.” It's always dangerous to read between the lines but there is enough anecdotal evidence to support this view.
The meeting of October 22nd in the Baptist Chapel was called by the Rev E R Lewis. He was supported by the local doctor, an accountant, a furniture dealer, a jeweller and numerous people active in retail trade. Their intent was to establish the principle of erecting a new shed on modern lines, decide on a site and, from the speed at which they moved, delegate responsibility for making the first moves to acquiring land and looking into the legalities of company formation. I suspect that for this initiative to get to this stage, many decisions had been taken in private and what was being put forward at the public meeting was ratification of what the participants saw as a fait accompli. We have noted the speed they moved at and perhaps a fitting end to this stage of the description of the genesis of the company is a full report of the engine start.

[Extract from The Craven Herald of Friday December 6th 1889.]

PRESENTATION. On Monday evening part of the weavers employed by Messrs. Eastwood and Maudsley, Long Ing Shed, met to make a presentation to their late tackler, Mr H Middleton, who has left the employ of Eastwood and Maudsley and gone to work for Messrs. S Pickles and Sons at Calf Hall Shed.
TRADE. The cotton trade here is reviving, all the looms which commenced running a few weeks ago being still kept going by Stephen Pickles and Sons, and Messrs Slater and Bailey have got their looms moved from Clough Shed to the new Calf Hall Shed as have also Messrs Holden Brothers from the Long Ing Shed. New looms have arrived for those manufacturers who are occupying Calf Hall Shed which is ready for starting as soon as these looms are ready for running. A number of new looms have also arrived for Mr E Ormerod of Long Ing Shed who is filling part of the space vacated by Holden Brothers at this shed.
CHRISTENING AND STARTING OF ENGINES. The starting and christening of the engines of the Calf Hall New Weaving Shed took place on Saturday afternoon last in the presence of a large number of people including the Board of Directors viz.: Mr B Banks (chairman), Messrs T Dent, S Parker, J Edmondson, W Holdsworth, R Clark, E Smith, P Barrett, W Perry, W P Brooks, L Holdsworth, J Hartley (secretary). There were also present: Mr J R Smith, Mr W Varley, Colne. Mr Stanworth, Burnley. Mr J Thompson, Colne. Mr Atkinson, Colne. Mr Roberts, Nelson. Rev. E R Lewis. Mr I Barrett. And Mesdames B Banks, T Dent, P Barrett, Roberts (Nelson), Parker, W P Brooks, Smith, Perry, Clark and many others including a large number of shareholders. The engine was started at 3:45pm by Mrs B Banks and Mrs T Dent and allowed to run for about a quarter of an hour. Mr Brooks Banks then addressed the meeting. He said he was very glad to see so many there, who were met to rejoice with them that could rejoice. Many would be glad to hear of this day, as it looked but a day since they had met on purpose to form a company. They succeeded better than a great number thought they would seeing that they had to make bricks without straw. Many of them no doubt heard that the company would never succeed when the prospectus was issued, which was certainly a very modest one. “The promoters of the company had got no wool on their backs” was the reason given why it would never succeed. He would rather take 100 sheep with little wool than one blustering tup with it all. [A reference to Billycock?] He was glad to tell them that very few shareholders had sold their shares even under adverse circumstances, thus shewing that the company had been well-accepted. He then read letters of apology from Mr W Roberts, Nelson. Mr Varley, Colne. Dr Roberts (Local GP and a director). Mr M Hawley, Nelson also a telegram from Mr T Hart of Blackburn. Mr Atkinson of Colne, the architect, then gave a description of the building. The shed is built upon the parallel girder system, the following being the dimensions: Shed 169ft 6inches by 211ft, and containing an area of 33,332 square feet. The warehouse, ground floor, is 203ft by 42ft with an area of 8505 square feet; first floor 206ft by 42ft, an area of 8658 square feet. Top room 61ft by 21 feet, area being 1281 square feet making a total for warehousing of 18,444 square feet. The shed will hold 828 looms at 40” reed space and gives 40¼ square feet to each loom, the largest he thought in the district with 22¼ square feet Warehouse space for each loom, besides spacious engine and boiler houses and other necessary buildings. Mr Roberts then gave a description of the engines made by W Roberts and Co. of Nelson. The engines are a pair of horizontal engines on the cross compound principle working high and low pressure, 4ft stroke working at 63rpm thus having a piston speed of 504ft/per minute and are capable of driving about 450 indicated horse power. The high pressure cylinder is 19½ inches diameter and the low pressure 38 inches diameter. The pistons are on Mather’s principle with steel spiral springs. The high pressure cylinder is fitted with valves on the improved principle by Roberts and Co [adjustable slide valves allowing expansive working for greater economy]. The low pressure cylinder has double slide valves with extra ports. The connecting rods are made with the best faggoted scrap iron polished throughout. The fly wheel shaft is made from homogeneous iron and the flywheel is put together in one boss, ten arms and ten segments and weighs about 22 tons. The outer rim of the wheel is grooved to receive 12 ropes. [Geoff Shackleton is of the opinion that this was the first Roberts’ engine made for rope driving.] The wheel is 18ft diameter and the power is transmitted by 12 ropes to two pulleys, 9ft 6 inches in diameter. The governors are on the pendulum principle. The christening ceremony then took place when Mrs Banks had the honour of naming the high pressure engine after her daughter “Emily”. The low pressure engine was named “Annie” by Mrs Dent after her fourth daughter. Mr P Barrett, in proposing a vote of thanks to the ladies for naming the engines, said that any improvement in Barnoldswick could be done by its own people. Mr J Edmondson seconded the proposition. Mr B Banks and Mr T Dent acknowledged the compliment and said they hoped the affair would be successful both for the shareholders and tenants. The ceremony being over the engines were again started amid cheers and allowed to run for some time. The party then wended their way to the Seven Stars Assembly Rooms where dinner was provided and over 100 sat down. The Chairman of the Company, Mr B Banks presided and after the repast the following toasts were gone through: Mr Roberts of Nelson, in proposing the toast of the “Calf Hall Shed Company” complimented the company on the position of its shed upon which a great deal depended for the success he hoped they would have. Mr J Thompson of Colne also wished them every success as he said it was a large undertaking. He was pleased to see so many shareholders present, it shewed they were in sympathy with the board of directors and acting harmoniously together. “The Directors of the Board” was then submitted by Mr J Edmondson of Bingley. He said their directors were men he had spent a good deal of time with and he always found them honourable, upright and honest. They could not boast of having men on the board who had titles except an FRCS. They were men who had raised themselves up to the positions they occupied that day by their own exertions. He thought if it did not succeed none would and it was his best wish that the concern would succeed. Mr S Hartley spoke to the same effect. “Our Tenants” was proposed by Mr C J Turner of Colne who thought the tenants of this concern a very important item, for it was through the tenants it would pay and if there had not been any tenants it would have been a great loss. Mr J Hartley hoped that it would be the best business the tenants had done in their life. Mr S Parker proposed “Our Architect” and Mr Atkinson in responding said it was with pleasure he was there on that occasion. It was now about twelve months since they had started the building but many people believed it would not be running now. This he thought would not have been had they not had an efficient army of contractors who he thought had done their best to bring it to a successful issue. Mr T Dent proposed the toast of “The Secretary and Other Officers”. “The Chairman” was submitted by Mr Turner of Colne who said he was sorry Dr Roberts could not be there owing to indisposition and he had taken his place. Mr B Banks, in reply, said that they were now only waiting for a report of a good lively dividend. This concluded the toast list and afterwards the evening was spent in singing etc. The contractors for the various works in connection with the building are as follows: Mason’s work, Messrs J & M Hawley of Colne and Nelson. Joiner, Mr J R Smith, Barnoldswick. Plasterers Messrs Heap and Thornton, Barnoldswick. Slater, Mr W Stanworth of Burnley. Plumber, Mr W Varley of Colne. Engineers Messrs W Roberts and Co of Nelson [Phoenix Foundry]. Millwrights, Messrs J Thompson and Co of Colne. Gas and steam pipes, Mr W Walton, Burnley. Boiler, Mr W Yates, Blackburn. Ropes, Mr T Hart of Blackburn. Economisers Mr Lowcock of Manchester. All the space in the shed is taken up by the following firms: Messrs S Pickles and Sons, 400 looms. Messrs Holden Brothers, 230 looms. Messrs Slater and Bailey 198 looms. All these gentlemen have taken the spaces on a lease for a term of five years which commenced on Monday last.'

I like the fact that they had a slap-up meal after the ceremony. It was a brave start but like the directors we have to get down to the realities of life, in their case to make the new company a success, in our case to examine our evidence and extract as much information as possible from the minutes and peripheral evidence about the business model that lay behind Room and Power and the Shed Companies.
Before we go forward I have a little light entertainment for you which will help with your frame of reference. Engine starting and christening ceremonies were the norm, the engine was seen as the beating heart of the enterprise and celebrating the first running was seen as a birth. Bancroft Shed was the last new weaving shed in Barlick and though building started in 1913 it was 1920 before the engine started. It was a Roberts' engine and when Auntie Liza turned the steam valve to start it nothing happened! Roberts' chief fitter, Jack Waddington was nowhere to be found and eventually they they dragged him out of a local pub and brought him to the engine house. His employer Mr Roberts took him to task saying that the engine wouldn't start. Jack replied that it was no wonder, he had taken the steam valves out! He said that there was no way he was going to allow them to start it without him being present. He popped the two valves in on the high pressure cylinder, not a big job, only about 15 minutes, Aunty Liza opened the steam valve and away it went. Johnny Pickles was present and told his son Newton the story so we can trust it. This isn't just a funny story, it gives a clear picture of the autonomy skilled men like Jack enjoyed. He wasn't sacked after this episode, he was far too valuable a man. This recognition of the status of engineers was part of the frame of reference of the time and we would do well to remember it when reading the minutes.


I suppose that, in common with many of my readers, I have read too much 'history' in which the supporting evidence is perhaps not as convincing as one would hope. I have a sneaky habit of pursuing footnotes citing evidence from other published works and sometimes finding that lack of understanding of the original text or even worse, selective and partial quotation, leads to distrust of the general level of scholarship. A harsh judgement I know but we have to be able to trust our informants. I love reading material that hangs together and inspires trust so the first thing I want to do is give what I hope is an impartial assessment of the evidence that has prompted what follows. It is important that I have your trust.
The first element is easy to deal with, my own input based on experience and research. I freely admit that I can't give an objective view of this. All I can say is that anything I add from these sources is sincere belief which has been reinforced by many years of cross-checking against other evidence. The use of the oral evidence contained in the Lancashire Textile Project is a case in point. I remember a lady once asking Dr. Marshall of Lancaster University whether oral evidence was true, could it be relied on? His response was that we used to hang people on this type of evidence. Whilst I take his point I can't help reflecting that in the matter of capital punishment we occasionally got it badly wrong. My own test of the veracity of my informants is to trust them until other evidence proved them to be in error. Over the years this has proved to be a reasonable assumption.
Another facet of this, which incidentally will be of value to us in the present case study, is when an informant says something surprising and you make a mental note “Really? Must check this!” In 1978 I was interviewing a man called Billy Brooks who was a close relative of the Brooks you have already seen noted in the Calf Hall engine christening report. Nobody was ever quite sure how old Billy was, the nearest I got was that in 1978 he was probably 98 and so he was born c.1880. He told me that in 1900 a fully furnished Lancashire loom, ready to weave, could be bought for £5 and that the profit from the first two warps woven paid for it. This sounded too good to be true but as I searched and found further evidence it transpired that if anything, this could be an under-estimate. Even allowing for the cyclical nature of the trade, weaving at the end of the 19th century was almost a 'licence to print money'. I found many other instances like this in the transcripts and after thirty years I am prepared to assert that the evidence of the informants is as near accurate as make no difference and that any aberrations are due to defective memory and not subterfuge. As for my own input based on experience, all I can do is leave it to the reader to decide. As far as I know I am accurate. If you have any doubt, do your own sneaky cross-checking! Which brings us to the minute books.
On the face of it the minute books should be totally reliable because under the terms of the Companies Acts they are a legal document. However, they contain occasional obvious errors of transcription and no doubt others that I have not recognised. Once again, questions like this can usually be resolved by cross-checking against other entries. I believe I have done enough verification during the transcribing to allow us to have confidence in them. However, we have to realise that we only have a fraction of the company records. The minutes are usually admirably detailed but we have no correspondence, invoices or any knowledge of transactions and conversations outside the Board Room. The community was close-knit and there can be no doubt that the informal linkages were strong, frequent, well-informed and influential. Occasionally we can make a guess about these relationships and the bearing they had on the CHSC's affairs. I think that on the whole we are safe in assuming that what is hidden from us is important but in large part is reflected in what we can glean from the executive actions recorded in the minutes. None of these shortcomings should be allowed to damage our assessment of the quality of what evidence we have. There is enough to give a reliable insight into the business model, some firm numbers for expenditure and very accurate information about the tenancies and levels of rent. We can also be quite certain of the profits and dividends and make some assumptions about the level of profits made by the tenants in the system.
Ideally, anyone doing serious research should have to hand a full copy of the minute books. As I write, such a copy exists in digital form in the archives of the Public Record Office at Preston and a full download is available on the internet. My best suggestion is to make an internet search for Calf Hall Shed Company. I claim no rights to the transcription, I believe that prime source information should be freely available, easily accessible and have no restrictions.
The physical form of the minute books as lent to me for copying by Harold Duxbury in 1977 is nine worn but well preserved purpose-bound ledgers. The first two are foolscap folio format (8”x13” before trimming) the following seven are medium quarto trimmed to 8¼”x10½”. The first two volumes are in board covers with a leather spine, the last seven in a soft black Morocco leather binding with the name 'Calf Hall Shed Company Limited. Minute Book Number x' in gold on the front cover. They are a complete series covering every meeting from April 27th 1889 to June 16th 1960. There would be a minute book number 10 but as it was current I never saw it.
We know from the Craven Herald reports that there was a meeting in the Baptist chapel on the 22nd of October 1888 with subsequent public meetings culminating in the meeting which floated the company on November 17th 1888 in the Seven Stars Assembly Rooms. We have to assume that there were ad hoc meetings between November 1888 and the first annual general meeting on April 27th 1889. There are scraps of reports about the search for land and we have the conveyance of the land for Calf Hall Shed dated February 11th 1889. The purchaser is named in the document as the Calf Hall Shed Company Limited so we know that by that time the legal entity existed and had been registered from its inception as a limited company. I assume that there would be records of these discussions and actions but if there were, they have been lost. The other gap is of course the minutes contained in the last book from June 1960 onwards. As you will see, at that time the company was in the process of divesting itself of its properties and as we know that Silentnight bought the last mill, Wellhouse, in 1978 it seems safe to assume that this was when CHSC ceased trading. However, the only evidence I can find in company searches is the fact that Calf Hall Shed Company Limited is available as a company name.
I think it will be a worth-while exercise for you to allow me to peer into my crystal ball and try to join the dots of scattered pieces of evidence in an attempt to fill the gap between inception and the first annual general meeting in April 1889. I should mention that for over 30 years I have been building an old-fashioned card index noting every piece of evidence I have found in the undergrowth. It is a valuable tool and is the source of much that informs my general research into Barlick and the CHSC. If anyone else is setting out on a similar course I recommend you start manual indexing from the beginning. Like a baggage train to an army, it is a hindrance on the march but essential to the campaign!


Given the existence of an initiative to start the company with a new build, it should be remembered that there were alternatives, Wellhouse and Butts Mills stood empty in 1888 and were on the market but this option was not taken up, we shall look at the eventual acquisitions later. On the face of it there were obvious advantages to be gained from getting a head start by taking over an existing mill. John Eastwood, Billycock's old book-keeper, and his partners took this course in 1890 at Butts, they made some attempts at modification to a specialised weaving shed and installed a second-hand but more modern Musgrave horizontal engine in place of the old beam engines. [Craven Herald 18/04/1890. Report that Butts Mill Shed Co was registered on March 3rd 1890 with capital of £10,000 in £1 shares. The subscribers were J Eastwood of Burnley and Mrs Eastwood, W H Maudsley and Mrs Maudsley, Fred Eastwood, warehouseman, Watson Bradley and Mrs Bradley, all with one share each.] For all its faults, this engine drove the mill until 1934 but as we shall see the Butts Mill Company never achieved the breakthrough to full profit and assured success. Given the rejection of these mills the first pre-requisite was to find a suitable site. We need to examine the influences which led to the 'new shed solution'.
I start by assuming that the promoters looked carefully at Butts and Wellhouse but rejected them. Let's examine the factors they had to consider because it may give us valuable insights into their thinking in building and eventually successfully running a new, modern weaving shed.
There was one specialised weaving shed operating in Barlick from 1864 onwards, James Nuttall's new build at Coates Bridge. It was powered by a beam engine but it must not be assumed that this necessarily meant any loss of efficiency. Victoria Mill at Earby, a large mill built by the Earby branch of the Bracewell family in 1856, ran successfully on the same large Yates beam engine from its original build until the 1960s. True, it was heavily modified but Newton Pickles had intimate knowledge of the engine including running it on occasions when the regular engineer was ill, in fact he eventually stopped it for the last time. He said that in terms of coal burned against looms run it was the most economical engine in the district driving 2,300 looms. Wellhouse had similar but smaller Yates engines. I'm sure that the promoters had looked at New Coates and recognised that it was a more efficient unit despite having an unmodified 1864 beam engine, the key factor was that it was built as a specialised weaving shed.
Apart from the obvious fact that William Bracewell and Sons had failed with their two combined mills, the promoters also had the example of Victoria Mill and the Bracewell interests in Earby which also failed in 1885. After many vicissitudes Victoria made the transition to a specialised weaving shed and ran as a room and power company but in 1888 this was not clear.
Finally, there was the example provided in 1886 by the new build at Long Ing, its successful promotion, capitalisation and immediate expansion to provide more loom spaces. The CHSC promoters were active in the commercial world, had access to intelligence from the 'change at Manchester and knew that there was a demand for weaving space in modern girder sheds powered by the latest engines. They also had the example of the enormous expansion in NE Lancashire. I think the logic was overwhelming, their course was to emulate the Long Ing example, avoid the pitfalls they knew that Butts Mill, Wellhouse and Victoria contained and build a modern specialised weaving shed. All they needed was a site to build on.
The criteria for a viable steam mill site were well understood. It had to be reasonably level, be large enough to accommodate a 1200 loom shed with all its associated plant and preferably with room for future expansion. It should be served by an existing road and be as near as possible to the town centre to take advantage of canal and rail connections and existing housing. The promoters had no intention of following the Bracewell example of building company housing, besides, after the collapse of the Bracewell interests there was surplus cottage property to rent. Lastly, but most important, they needed an adequate and secure supply of water for boiler feed and cooling the engine condenser. We have already noted how Billycock Bracewell used control of water resources to damage his cousins at Old Coates Mill and to frustrate James Nuttall in his attempts to restart it in 1861.
I need to step sideways here and make sure we all understand this crucial technical point. I apologise to those of you who already know the technology but I work on the assumption that explanation of technical matters is invaluable to many readers. We don't all have the advantage of having run steam engines commercially.
In the early days of water power the only criterion as regards water supply was that the flow should be adequate and the height of the available fall over the wheel sufficient for the size of the enterprise. On a steep slope this could permit a series of small mills down the course of the beck. As long as nobody higher up obstructed or diverted the flow everyone was happy. With the advent of the steam engine and the use of watercourses to supply condenser cooling water another factor became important, the clue is in the use of the word 'cooling'. The essential attribute apart from quantity and availability was temperature. The colder the water at the intake to the condenser the more efficiently the engine ran. When the water was discharged from the condenser after performing its function the temperature had been raised. Unlike the water powered mills, the presence of a steam-driven mill upstream from your site raised the water temperature and caused potential problems, we shall meet this often in the minutes, especially in hot weather. Note the comment made at the November 8th meeting, 'The Cow Foot Site was best as they were first takers of the water.' The promoters were well aware of the need for cold condenser feed.
Bearing this in mind it is perhaps surprising that the site eventually chosen by the promoters was 100 yards upstream from the old Bracewell mill at Butts. As we will note later on, the use of the best remaining natural water site in Barlick for a weaving shed, Bancroft Shed, half a mile upstream from Slater's Clough Mill was blighted by the fact that Slaters owned the riparian rights on Gillians Beck and blocked development until a marriage between the Slater and Nutter families triggered a permission to build in 1913. Knowing Billycock's predilection for control of water resources it seems surprising that he hadn't protected Butts in a similar way. This must be the case because there is no mention anywhere in my research or the minute books of any difficulty with the right to use the water in Calf Hall Beck. Billycock had taken measures to manage the flow in the beck by building Springs Dam further upstream in about 1848 [See Atkinson, 'Old Barlick'] and diverting water from another source, the overflow of the Dark Hill Well, to supplement the flow. However he never owned Springs Dam or had any control over the beck from there down to his mill at Butts apart from possible ownership at Calf Hall as a consequence of William Metcalfe Bracewell living there. [See the conveyance below of part of the Calf Hall Estate to CHSC in which a previous interest owned by William Bracewell is mentioned in the second schedule. This may be the reason for Billycock's feeling of security.] Both Billy Brooks and Harold Duxbury told me that the generation from which the CHSC directors sprang was well aware of riparian rights in the town and who owned them because this knowledge was crucial to their businesses. Today we have lost this awareness because it is not essential to us. At the time of the erection of the new shed at Calf Hall, the consequences for Butts Mill were not important to the promoters, this changed eventually as we shall see from the minutes.
We find no evidence that the promoters felt any need to secure water rights above Calf Hall. However, they recognised the importance of Springs Dam half a mile up the watercourse as a storage facility which could be used to manage and augment the flow in the beck during periods of drought. On July 24th 1889, while the shed was still building, we find, 'That the secretary go to Colne to see Mr Hartley, Solicitor of Colne, respecting the Springs Dam'. By September 25th 1889, 'That the copy of the lease for Springs Dam as sent by Mr Hartley of Colne be returned with instructions to complete the same'. On January 29th 1890, 'That a cheque be made out value £9-0-0 to Ellis Ashworth being the amount of Rent due for Springs Dam for one year, due February 2nd 1890'. There are numerous references throughout the minutes which show that CHSC retained a lease on this resource and maintained it. On July 19th 1951, long after the need for condenser water at Calf Hall and Butts had ceased because the engines were no longer running we find, 'It also appeared that they had agreed to pay the owner of Springs Dam £15 per annum for the right of full access to it and to release water at any time. This was not to be taken to be payment for the use of the water as none was needed'. This is clear proof that at no time during the history of the company did they have any doubt as to their right to use the water. We shall see this reinforced later when we look at the companies land acquisitions and what prompted them.
In May 1897 we find, 'The letter dated May 24th 1897 from the Butts Mill Co having been read, in reference to the water supply at Butts Mill after use at Calf Hall Shed being too hot. Res. That it be laid on the table until next week'. For the next five years we find references like this whenever the weather was hot. Butts was being affected by the hot water being sent down the beck from Calf Hall but it's fairly obvious that the CHSC regarded this as private grief. All this changed in January 1903 when CHSC bought Butts Mill, the water temperature in the Calf Hall Beck was now their problem and it's significant from that point onwards they devoted considerable time and effort in attempts to alleviate the problem.
On August 23rd 1899 a different problem arose, 'That the secretary be asked to obtain advice re the turning off of water from Springs Dam when the Butts Mill is running'. Notice that this is in hot weather. Doing this would severely restrict the flow in the beck and they were worried about the legal position. On September 20th 1899 we get a clue as to what the problem was, they have been cleaning Springs Dam out. There is also mention at the same meeting of a new strategy, I suspect that this was not because of complaints from Butts but because Calf Hall Shed had experienced difficulties that summer, 'That Messrs Barrett and Holdsworth be asked to examine the roof at Calf Hall and see as to whether Mr King’s suggestion to fix condensing troughs is a practical one'. Eventually the solution adopted to cure high temperature in the condenser pond in the culvert under the east end of the mill was to pump water back from the pond behind the weir at the lower end of the mill into a trough on the roof and allow it to flow back to the small dam at the back of the shed to take advantage of the cooling effect of it passing through the culvert under the shed. This strategy was used until the engines at both mills became redundant.
On April 21st 1897 we have another entry concerning Springs Dam which takes us back to the Bracewell days. 'The secretary read a letter from Thomas Cowgill of Springs Farm claiming £5 for damage to his cob [a small horse] owing to it having fallen into the company’s drain at Springs Dam during the repairs. Res. That the secretary be instructed to reply to same denying the company’s liability'. Cowgill was the tenant farmer at Springs and what has happened is that CHSC have been improving on William Bracewell's original work at Springs to augment the resource by diverting the overflow from the Dark Hill Well into the dam. Over the years the channels carrying this water had deteriorated and CHSC has been doing drainage work above the dam to rectify this. In case you are wondering, Cowgill was a persistent man who evidently stood no nonsense. He pursued the claim through his solicitor and in the end, whilst denying any liability, CHSC paid up.
In January 1903 when CHSC bought Butts Mill they redoubled their efforts to improve the condenser water situation. The minute book entries from there forwards enabled me to solve a small problem that had puzzled me for years. When the CHSC bought Butts Mill they found that they also owned the Ouzledale Estate. This was a dam and watermill on Gillians Beck above Clough Mill. It had evidently been operating as a water powered saw mill before Mitchell used the water lower down at what became known as Clough Mill and therefore had a right to use the resource even though Mitchell bought the riparian rights on the Gillians Beck right back to the moor. We know that this was the case because a small water-powered twist mill built shortly after 1780 at Gillians was prevented from using the main flow of the beck and had to make do with a tributary running down from Lane Bottoms. I suspect that Billycock bought the Ouzledale Estate with ideas of diverting water down to supplement the supply at Butts. He was thwarted in this because although Ouzledale had a right to use the water, Mitchell, and later Slaters, owned the riparian rights so there was no possibility of extraction. However, during earlier research into the minutes I found this entry on September 21st 1932, 'That the secretary write to John Slater and Sons [Clough Mill] re the sale of the Lea Water recorder towards which the CHSC had contributed part of the cost and suggesting that John Slater and Sons should refund to CHSC a proportionate part of the proceeds of the sale'. The reason I could make no sense of this entry was that I knew that the confluence of Gillians Beck with Calf Hall Beck in Butts was at too low a level for it to be a resource for Butts Mill without pumping. I also knew that the owners of the water rights on Gillians Beck had blocked its use by other mills from at least 1780 until 1913. It wasn't until I found an entry in the minute books dated December 13th 1903 about a small dam or balance pond sited in the Parrock next to Butts Mill that it made sense. 'That the £5 due to the Chapel Trustees for the rent of the dam at Butts Mill be paid'. There can only be one reason for the existence of this dam, or more correctly, balance pond on the Trustees' land. It expanded the water capacity of the condenser resource at Butts and because of its position was able to accept water diverted through a pipe from Clough Mill dam that would otherwise have overflowed and been unavailable to either Clough or Butts. This explained the presence of the water flow meter and an entry on May 9th 1917 shed further light on the matter. 'That in view of the erection by Nutters of a new shed on the stream above Ouzledale [Bancroft Shed, the last new Barlick shed and the mill I used to run.] the company join Messrs Slaters in the erection of a Lea Recorder by paying half the cost, not exceeding £25, providing no further costs of any kind are incurred and that CHSC have a right to see the recorder'. The only reason CHSC could have an interest in any possible disruption of flow in the Gillians Beck due to the new shed at Bancroft was if they were already benefiting from the resource. Subsequent entries make it clear that this was the case and they joined with Slaters in paying a solicitor to oversee the building of Bancroft and make it perfectly clear to the Nutters that the flow in the beck would be jealously guarded. The 1932 entry about the sale of the Lea water flow recorder, two years before Butts engine finally stopped was probably something to do with a serious flood in July 1932 and the fact that stress on the Calf Hall Beck had reduced because of falling loom numbers in the recession.
There is one further piece of evidence about the restrictions placed on the owners of Bancroft Shed by the legal actions from 1917 onwards. Part of my job as engineer at Bancroft was to manage the water resource and I was puzzled by the fact that at the head of the dam, where the Gillians Beck entered, there was a deep brick lined manhole and in the base there were facilities for stopping the flow into the dam and diverting it down a by-pass channel directly to the beck below the dam. It became clear that this was insisted on by the Slaters so that in hot weather they could force Bancroft to divert the cold water down to them for use in their condenser. Evidence like this and the case of the Gillians twist mill reinforce my contention that cold condenser water supplies were important and that great lengths were gone to to protect the riparian rights. Incidentally, I have always averred that when considering the importance of canals many historians have missed their dual role as an essential part of the land drainage systems and provision of condenser water for the steam engines. The matters I describe are common to all areas where steam engines were used. As the natural water sites were protected by ownership of riparian rights, new mills were all sited along the course of the canals. Look at the building dates for the clues.
Having examined Calf Hall and Butts water in such detail, I think we should do the same for Wellhouse rather than return to the subject later.
When William Bracewell started to build at Wellhouse in 1852 there was much speculation in the town as to why he was building a mill on a site which didn't appear to have a viable water resource. Bear in mind that such matters were better understood at the time, for one thing, there was no public water supply and the town still depended on a multitude of springs and wells, mains water wasn't available until after 1890. This speculation about the site was reinforced at one point when the private well in the vicarage, just behind the new shed, dried up when sand was extracted from the north end of the site for building at the new mill. The vicar, the Rev. Richard Milner was not best pleased and made sure everyone know what had happened. William Parkinson Atkinson noted these speculations in his memoir 'Old Barlick'.
Over the years my research into William Bracewell has thrown up enough clues for me to come to some conclusions. In 1850 Bracewell had rented and eventually bought the Corn Mill on the Butts Beck. He greatly enlarged the dam and laid a 6” cast iron pipe from there down to what was to become the site of his new mill at Wellhouse. At the same time he either built or gained control of the Bowker Drain. The latter is far too big a subject to go into here but it is a large drain that collects water from as far away as Salterforth and was undoubtedly augmented by leakage from the Leeds and Liverpool canal. Access to it was via a well in Eastwood Bottoms owned by the Roundell Estate at Gledstone and over the years this proved to be an adequate, if sometimes precarious resource for Wellhouse Mill. Incidentally, I was puzzled for years why Bracewell hadn't made sure that the access to the Bowker Drain was in land he owned. I still haven't got a definitive answer but I have a theory that he bought the land for the mill before the drain was completed and later found that whoever had surveyed it had got the levels wrong. There isn't a lot of fall on the drain and I can imagine him being “very indignant” when he realised he couldn't bring the drain directly into his dams at Wellhouse but had to pump from a well in Eastwood Bottoms behind the mill owned by the Roundell Estate at Gledstone, West Marton, because the level at the mill site was too low.
In 1890 when CHSC bought Wellhouse Mill I doubt if they had any qualms about the water resource, after all it had supported Bracewell's operations and the improvements they were making to the plant would make it more efficient in terms of water usage. On July 29th 1891 we find, 'That the water rent for Wellhouse Mill be paid £5'. This was evidently the arrangement in place with Roundell and the CHSC had taken it over. However, the demand for weaving space was such that extensions were built, the load on the engine became heavier and the consequent increase in the demand for condenser water soon caused problems. The directors recognised this very early on. On July 23rd 1890 we find, 'That Messrs P Brooks, Proctor Barrett, Brooks Banks and the secretary be appointed to wait on the Gas Company to arrange if they can with them to have water from the Corn Mill Dam to Wellhouse Mill' [Using the existing pipe laid by Bracewell. The Gas Company owned the Corn Mill because it was part of the property they bought when they purchased Bracewell's new gas plant next to it.]. July 30th 1890, 'That we allow the Gas Company one half of the pipes (old gas plant) taken out of the ground at Wellhouse Mill and we pay them £10 per year for the use of the water from Corn Mill Dam to Wellhouse Mill'. This was only a short-lived arrangement, the minutes give no clue as to why it ended. We soon find the directors concentrating all their efforts on making most efficient use of the resource of the Bowker Drain from the well in Eastwood Bottoms.
It soon becomes obvious from the minutes that they are well aware of the danger of reliance on a water source outside their control. They have made a large investment at Wellhouse and worst case was that they could be held to hostage by the Roundell Estate. Their minds turned towards the reason why the mill was called Wellhouse in the first place. On May 28th 1902, 'That we ascertain whether a supply of water is still running into a well at the south end of the Wellhouse sheds or not and that Proctor Barrett excavate for pipes'. They suspected that there was an old well on the southern corner of the property, spent a while searching for it and when they eventually found it, tested the flow but found it inadequate for their purposes. On September 27th 1902, 'That we bore to a depth of 100 feet for water on the land south of the reservoirs'. 'That Mr Atkinson the architect employ a well-sinker to do the work'. By June 24th 1903 the original well-borer Mr Chapman had reached 180ft deep but after several arguments the directors had sacked him. They set on a man called Matthews in his place and we find, 'Mr Matthews of Manchester attended with ref to the borehole and he quoted, for one of his patent 6” pumps placed 100ft below the surface, £145 for the first 50 ft and 24/- for every foot additional, delivered and fixed on our foundation. He explained that because the bore was 3ft 6” out of plumb it was impossible to put a pump at a greater depth than 100ft'. On July 15th 1903, 'That Proctor Barrett be requested to cover up the bore-hole'. With the use of the Eastwood Bottoms evidently assured under a new agreement with the Roundell Estate the pressure for an independent supply from the bore hole is no longer there and the directors have evidently decided that there is no need for further expense on the bore. I can imagine them justifying the expenditure on boring as an insurance policy for the future if ever circumstances changed.
From 1903 onwards, apart from frequent references to maintenance of the Eastwood Bottoms well and the two dams at Wellhouse there is no insurmountable problem with the condenser water. The bore which had caused so much trouble and expense was never used again and I often wonder if the present owners of the site realise that they have a 180ft deep bore hole on the premises.
I realise that this evidence about water supplies has been a major diversion but we needed to have a clear picture. Back now to the 1889 conveyance of the land at Calf Hall.
In the case of the initial decision in 1888 the way was clear, all that was needed was ownership of land. The promoters at first favoured some land called The Parrock owned by the Trustees of the Bethesda Chapel next to Butts Mill but finally settled on Calf Hall. Many thanks to Nick Livsey of Salterforth who spotted a document for sale on the internet for £4.50 in December 2007, bought it and before depositing it in the Public Record Office at Preston made a copy for me. Because of his foresight and public spirit we have the original conveyance which I think is worth reproducing in full.
The obverse of the document has a rough plan of the Calf Hall Shed site and the following:
Dated February 11th 1889
R Lowcock Esq. To The Calf Hall Shed Company Limited
CONVEYANCE of a plot of land portion of the Calf Hall Estate situate at Barnoldswick in the West Riding of the County of York.
SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED by the within named Richard Lowcock in the presence of: W F Wilkins and S S Bannister; clerks to Mr Hartley, solicitor, Colne.
[The main document reads:]
THIS INDENTURE made the eleventh day of February one thousand eight hundred and eighty nine between Richard Lowcock of Greengate Mills within the Borough of Salford in the County of Lancaster cotton spinner and manufacturer of the one part and the Calf Hall Shed Company Limited whose registered office is situate in Barnoldswick in the West Riding of the County of York (hereinafter shortly referred to as “The Company”) of the other part.
WITNESSETH that in consideration of the sum of six hundred and forty four pounds seven shillings and sixpence now paid by The Company to the said Richard Lowcock for the purchase of the fee simple of the hereditaments expressed to be hereby granted (the receipt whereof he the said Richard Lowcock doth hereby acknowledge) He the said Richard Lowcock as Beneficial owner doth hereby grant and convey unto the Company its successors and assigns all that plot of land part of the several closes known as the Great Calf Hall the Hippen Croft and the Three Nooked Croft together forming part of an estate called the Calf Hall Estate situate at Barnoldswick aforesaid and which said plot is bounded on or toward the North by an intended street of twelve yards wide (measuring on that side three hundred and forty one feet eight inches or thereabouts) on or toward the South by an intended street of twelve yards wide (measuring on that side four hundred and sixty eight feet nine inches or thereabouts) on or toward the East by an intended street of twelve yards wide (measuring on that side two hundred and sixty three feet or thereabouts) and on the West partly by land belonging to or reputed to belong to John Preston Esq. And partly by other parts of the said closes called Three Nooked Field and Hippen Croft (measuring on that side two hundred and twenty nine feet or thereabouts) and contains in the whole ten thousand three hundred and ten square yards of land or thereabouts and is with its abuttals and boundaries more particularly delineated and described on the plan thereof hereupon endorsed being thereon edged Pink together with the appurtenances and especially a right of way for the Company its successors and assigns its[sic] and their agents servants and workmen at all times hereafter concurrently with the said Richard Lowcock his heirs and assigns over and upon the said streets or intended streets upon the Northerly, Southerly and easterly sides respectively of the said plot from and after the formation thereof respectively but reserving unto the said Richard Lowcock his heirs and assigns the free passage and running of all water and soil that may arise or be on the said plot of land or flow thereto from other parts of the Calf Hall Estate by and through the drains sewers and watercourses which are now or hereafter may be formed through or under the said plot and also reserving unto the said Richard Lowcock his heirs and assigns the full and free access of light and air to the residue of the said Calf Hall Estate upon the Westerly side of the said plot through and over the said plot of land to the intent that the said Richard Lowcock his heirs and assigns may at any time hereafter put out windows at the extreme edge of the said Calf Hall Estate where the same abuts upon the plot of land herein before described and have and enjoy free access of light and air thereto without any interruption by the Company its successors and assigns. TO HOLD the said premises herein before described unto and to the use of the Company in Fee Simple. AND the Company itself its successors and assigns doth hereby covenant with the said Richard Lowcock that the Company its heirs and assigns will at all times hereafter observe and perform such of the conditions and stipulations contained in the first schedule hereto as are and ought to be observed and performed by the Company its successors and assigns. AND the said Richard Lowcock doth hereby acknowledge the right of the Company to production of the several Deeds specified in the second schedule hereto and to delivery of copies thereof and doth hereby undertake for the safe custody thereof IN WITNESS whereof the said Richard Lowcock hath hereunto set his hand and seal and the Company hath hereunto affixed its Common Seal the day and year first above written.
THE FIRST SCHEDULE hereinbefore referred to
THE Company will forthwith fence off the said plot upon all sides thereof with a good and substantial stone fence of not less than four feet in height and will forever hereafter keep and maintain the same in a state of good and sufficient repair.
The Company will forthwith erect and build with good materials upon the said plot of land a good and substantial weaving shed warehouse and other necessary buildings
The Company will forthwith make and forever hereafter maintain repair and cleanse the footpaths on the Northerly Southerly and Easterly sides of the said plot of land hereby conveyed as shown upon the said plan unless and until the same shall become repairable by the public.
The Company will at their own cost but to the satisfaction of the said Richard Lowcock his heirs or assigns or his or their agent sewer and drain the said plot of land hereby conveyed and if the company shall elect to connect the sewers or drains so to be formed with any sewers made or to be made by the said Richard Lowcock his heirs or assigns then the Company shall bear a proportionate part of the expense of making maintaining repairing and cleansing the last mentioned sewers such proportion to be fixed by the said Richard Lowcock his heirs and assigns or his or their agent as aforesaid.
The Company its successors or assigns shall not now or at any time hereafter use exercise carry on or permit to be used exercised or carried on in or upon the plot of land hereby conveyed or in any of the buildings to be erected thereon the trade or business of a tanner skinner soap boiler tallow chandler slaughterer innkeeper licensed victualler or beer house keeper or any noisy noisome insalubrious or offensive trade or business whatsoever without the consent in writing of the said Richard Lowcock his heirs or assigns.
THE SECOND SCHEDULE hereinbefore referred to:
[A recital of previous ownership or interest.]
1874 April 11th.
Indenture of this date made between John Smith and James Gott of the first part Samuel Binns and Mary Binns his wife of the second part John Lambert of the third part William Lambert of the fourth part Margaret Lambert of the fifth part and William Bracewell of the sixth part. [Note this reference to William Bracewell. His son William Metcalfe Bracewell lived on the Calf Hall Estate and it may be that this interest in the land included control of the riparian rights. Note also that this entry pre-supposes an earlier interest not noted in the Schedule.]
1883 February 23rd.
Indenture of this date made between John Lowcock of the first part Mary Harrison of the second part Sarah Turner of the third part Mary Taylor of the fourth part the said John Lowcock and Robert Smith Eleanor Lowcock Elizabeth Ann Lowcock Mary Ellen Lowcock John Henry Lowcock George Edwin Lowcock William Arthur Lowcock Frederick Charles Lowcock and Jane Emmeline Lowcock of the fifth part William Barker and Jane Barker his wife Henry Rickards and Mary Rickards his wife William Harrison Richard Harrison and Grace Harrison of the sixth part the said John Smith and James Gott of the seventh part and the said John Lowcock of the eighth part. [It's interesting that Billycock seems to be selling at least part of the Calf Hall Estate where his son William Metcalfe lived up to 1880 only three years after his death. Was he realising assets two years before his death in 1885?]
1884 November 7th.
Indenture of this date made between the said William Bracewell of the one part and the said John Lowcock of the other hand. [More evidence of a Bracewell interest.]
1885 May 9th.
Indenture of this date made between the said Mary Harrison of the first part the said Sarah Turner of the second part the said Mary Taylor of the third part the said John Lowcock and Robert Smith of the fourth part the said Eleanor Lowcock Elizabeth Ann Lowcock Mary Ellen Lowcock John Henry Lowcock George Edwin Lowcock William Arthur Lowcock Frederick Charles Lowcock and Jane Emmeline Lowcock of the fifth part the said Jane Barker Mary Rickards William Harrison Richard Harrison and Grace Stockdale of the sixth part and the said John Lowcock of the seventh part.
1887 August 24th.
Indenture of this date made between the said John Lowcock of the one part and Richard Lowcock of the other part.
[The 1881 census for Salford: notes, at Broom Lane Carlton House, Broughton in Salford, Lancashire. John Lowcock, 68. Born Skipton, York. Manufacturer & Cotton Spinner Employing 1100 Hands.]

I like the references to 'noisy noisome insalubrious or offensive trade or business'. There are many examples in this era of similar codicils on conveyances, the prohibitionist principle was in vogue, often connected to Methodist teachings. West Marton and Thornton in Craven are two local examples, the existing hostelries were shut and both villages are dry to this day because of the influence of Sir Amos Nelson. I don't think these restrictions would worry the promoters, their eyes were set on other goals and they now have land on which to build.
I want to pursue land purchases further and in the process gain more information about the decisions of the interim period, it will make more sense if we do this under another heading.


During the life of the CHSC they made other property and land purchases. It's sometimes difficult to ascertain the reasoning behind these from the original minute book entries, we simply get a bald statement of facts. However in other cases the reason is obvious from the context and in at least one, the purchase of the Parrock Estate from the Trustees of the Baptist Chapel, the reason is clearly laid out. I'll get round to the Parrock later, let's have a look at the acquisitions in chronological order.
In March 1890 the CHSC bought Wellhouse Mill for £8,000. Apart from dealing with the necessary modernisation of the plant and buildings the directors were looking forward and could see deficiencies in boundaries and access. There is a plan of the mill attached to the Bracewell sale document of 1887 and to the north, east and west the mill site is bounded by land owned by A B Royds of Rochdale. From other research we know that Billycock Bracewell not only bought the land for his mill but the freehold as well. Crucially, the remaining Royds' land blocked access to Skipton Road on the north side and the present Wellhouse Road to the west of the mill was restricted in width with any improvement blocked by Royds. Wellhouse Road from the south west corner of the mill up into town existed but if used as the main access would be very restricted.
It seems from my research in other areas that the piece of land bought by Bracewell was part of the Mean Laithe Estate. The original Bracewell purchase was an island in the middle of this holding apart from the southern boundary but this was of no use for access as what is now Valley Road didn't exist. My reading of what follows is that the CHSC board decided to address the deficiencies of the site by buying the remainder of the estate. I can't say if they received any assurance from Royds as to whether this was possible before buying Wellhouse but this would have been sensible. The advantages if they could make the purchase were obvious, they would have a frontage on Skipton Road and the ability to realign what became Wellhouse Road from Skipton Road to the existing portion of road up into the town to allow for a rational building line and an adequate road. So my case is that the purchase of the Mean Laithe land was a sensible acquisition which improved Wellhouse Mill. Let's see what the minutes reveal. Remember that this initiative started while the board were fully occupied in modernising their new acquisition. This was evidently high priority.
September 9th 1891. That Mr Atkinson be appointed surveyor for the building land adjoining Wellhouse Mill on Mean Laithe Flatt and that he commence at once at 2½% commission for surveying and laying out for building purposes and be paid as the land is sold. [To the best of my knowledge Mean Laithe Flatt was land originally connected with Wellhouse Farm on Church Street. The board have evidently decided on what use they mean to make of the land. Atkinson is dividing the remainder up for sale.]
November 4th 1891. That Fred Blezzard’s tender be accepted for the Mean Laithe Flatt pasture at the yearly rent of £10 and pay all rates and taxes. [Grazing of the land, the technical term is agistment. Interesting that they are starting to manage the land before the conveyance is completed, there must have been some legal mechanism like an exchange of letters of intent that allowed them to act as landlord.]
January 11th 1892. That Messrs Barrett, Smith and William Holdsworth pay a visit to Skipton to see Mr Robinson, manager of the Craven Bank and request that he allow the company to draw a cheque to pay for the Mean Laithe Flatt Meadow and also to see the Surveyor of Taxes about the excessive tax put on the Wellhouse Mill property.
January 13th 1892. That a cheque be sent to Mr Hartley, Colne, to pay for the Mean Laithe Flatt, £1,151-7-5. [Remember our multiplier of 100x, this is a major outlay.]
February 3rd 1892. That a cheque for £2-18-2 be sent to Mr Hartley in respect of the rent [ground rent] for Mean Laithe Flatt. [Evidently Royd's still own the freehold. This raises the interesting point about the complications this would presumably cause when individual plots are sold.]
June 29th 1892. That Mr James Edmondson be asked to sign the agreement for the sale of land and be requested to pay a deposit of 10% and pay the remainder of the purchase money on the 1st of September and the same agreement to apply to Edward Smith. [Mean Laithe Flatt]
[Numerous references follow re fencing, gates for access, draining the land and installing access roads.]
April 13th 1893. That Mr Richard Kendal be accepted as tenant of Mean Laithe Flatt at an annual rent of £7-1-8 from the 2nd of February last and that he be informed of the acceptance. [Almost certainly grazing.]
August 3rd 1893. That Mr Atkinson, Architect of Colne, be instructed to value the unsold portion of land on Mean Laithe Flatt and give a certificate so the proper value of the land may be recorded in the company’s books.
August 16th 1893. That having had Mr Atkinson’s report that the value of the unsold portion of land on Mean Laithe Flatt estate is £800 we put the value at £600. [An interestingly pragmatic decision which effects tax.]
November 22nd 1893. That the Common Seal of the Company be affixed to a conveyance of a plot of land for building purposes containing 1,230 square yards upon Mean Laithe Flatt Estate from the company to Mr Edward Smith [A local building contractor who often worked for the company] for the sum of £249-1-6 in the presence of the chairman (Dr J D Roberts) the vice chairman (Johnson Edmondson) and of George Proctor their secretary who were authorised to sign the conveyance. Res. That the Chairman, vice chairman, G Wilkinson, Edward Smith, Thomas Dent, Proctor Barrett and W Holdsworth be a committee to meet Mr Landless regarding the diversion of Wellhouse Road. [In 1911 Matthew, Watson and Landless of Colne were valuers and insurance assessors. I'm not sure who Landless is acting for, as far as I am aware the conveyance of Wellhouse Mill hasn't been signed yet, he may be acting for the Craven Bank.]
Feb 21st 1894. That the Common Seal of the Co be affixed to an agreement made between the company and Proctor Barrett for the sale to the latter of 707 square yards of land, part of the Mean Laithe Flatt estate, for the sum of £114-14-6. That the Common Seal of the Co be affixed etc. agreement between CHSC and Proctor Barrett for sale to him of 1279 square yards of Mean Laithe Flatt land for £270. [Proctor Barrett was a very active local builder.]
November 7th 1894. That we do not at this time accept any offers for land on Mean Laithe Flatt and that Mr Atkinson write to the applicant to this effect. That we sell the land by auction at the Seven Stars on Tuesday evening November 20th 1894 and that Mr Atkinson and Mr Edmondson arrange with Matthew Rawlinson [Barrett directory 1896 records him as auctioneer and furniture dealer at 8 Church Street, Barnoldswick.] as to the terms of the sale. Res. That we at once proceed with the extension adjoining WH Road and that we utilise as far as possible the old materials from the mill. [Demolition of the redundant engine house and associated buildings and the planning for the extension shed can go forward now the land available has been assured.]
November 14th 1894. That Mr Atkinson take particulars of land at Calf Hall and arrange for it to be put up at auction on Wednesday Nov 24th along with Mean Laithe plots. [Surplus land, dead money, sell it.]
November 28th 1894. Mr W H Atkinson’s report of the sale of two plots off Mean Laithe (viz. Lots 2&3) by auction to W Holdsworth [Local builder.] and Proctor Barrett and Lot 4 of the land at Calf Hall to Standing and Son for the total sum of £366-13-0 less expenses of sale (£3-8-5) and enclosing cheques value £33-1-7 being balance of deposit less expenses; having been read, it was resolved we accept the same.
May 15th 1895. That we approve and adopt the terms come to with BUDC by the deputation appointed at the last meeting to wait upon the council as to the taking over of Wellhouse Road and converting the same to a public highway at once and taking it over in its present condition. The company to pay all groundwork, to put in another grate to take off surface water and conduct same into reservoir, to channel the side of the road adjoining the company’s shed extension now being proceeded with, to open out the road into Skipton Road and fence off the company’s land in a line with the rails at present fencing in the company’s property and to pay the council £30 towards the cost of putting the road in proper repair. [A good move, gets Wellhouse Road off the CHSC’s back and assures the access to Skipton Road. The land between the mill and Skipton Road was never built on during CHSC tenure and is always referred to as Wellhouse Yard. At one point in the later history of the company it was let to the National Showman's Guild and the annual fair was held on the site.] That the common seal of the company be attached to a conveyance of a plot of land, part of the Mean Laithe Flatt, containing 783 square yards from the company to P Barrett for £141-19-3. Res. That ditto 733½ square yards to L Holdsworth £134-13-9. In presence of etc. Res. That ditto 707 square yards of CH Estate to Joseph Standing for £90. Registered, sealed etc.
May 30th 1895. That we charge the the last two buyers of the plots at Mean Laithe and the plot at CH two months interest at 5% per annum. [Slow payers?]
January 15th 1896. Application having been made for a plot of land, part of Mean Laithe Flatt. Res. That we offer the same at 4/6 per yard. The company to find room to tip, he to take off sod and replace. [Levelling the site? The borrow was tipped on Wellhouse land near the dams.]
May 5th 1896. That the seal of the company be affixed to an agreement for the sale of a plot of land, part of the Mean Laithe Estate, containing 1276 square yards for the sum of £287-2-0 to Thomas Dent and William Holdsworth, the purchase money to be paid on or before June 17th 1896 after which date interest at the rate of 5% per annum to be paid half yearly on the 1st of January and 1st of July in each year until the payment of the purchase money. Sealed etc. Res. That the Abstract of Title for the above plot be prepared by Hartley and Pilgrim the co’s solicitors.
December 2nd 1896. Sale of a plot of land from the Mean Laithe Estate 1276 square yards from CHSC to Thomas Dent and William Holdsworth for £287-2-0. Conveyance signed and sealed. Res. That the interest due under the agreement be reduced from £6-3-0 to £3-1-6.
This is the last reference in the minutes to the Mean Laithe Estate. I think the minutes make it quite clear what the board wanted to do, assure themselves of adequate road access, rational boundaries and generally tidy up the inadequacies of the site. They have succeeded, I'll save you the bother of reckoning up the sale prices recorded in the minutes, they have drawn £1,197-11-0 against an outlay of £1,151-7-5, cleared the outlay and gained land to improve their original investment in the mill.
There is one other matter at Wellhouse which causes them concern, they do not own the land in Eastwood Bottoms where they access the essential water supply from the well in the Bowker Drain. They eventually solve this problem but late in the day. We shall look at this matter later.
January 23rd 1903. Res. That we purchase from the Butts Mill Company Ltd the Butts Mill and Ouzledale Mill for £19,000. This consideration to include all loose effects with the exception of new stores and coal. [The Butts Mill Company weren't doing very well and I suspect that one of their main tenants, Stephen Pickles, might have had a hand in this acquisition. He had experience of the CHSC board because of his tenancies with them and as Butts was not well run, plagued by stoppages due to breakdown caused by bad management, he probably thought that CHSC ownership would be an improvement. This acquisition completes the takeover of the textile assets of Bracewell and Sons. I'm sure the directors were aware of this and it would have given them some satisfaction.]
The next purchase is the Parrock. This is the land between Butts Mill and the houses on the north side of Walmsgate. If you remember, this was the director's first choice for building their new shed in 1888 but was superseded by the offer of the land at Calf Hall. We narrowly missed having to discuss the Parrock Shed Company!
Let's start with a repetition to remind us of the early consideration of the Parrock. On the 3rd of November 1888: 'Meeting of the new shed company at Mechanic’s Hall (Jepp Hill). Discussions as to site'. “The meeting considered details of a new site which had been offered to them at the foot of Calf Hall Lane. It was decided to see the proprietors of both the Parrock site and the Calf Hall site and get the lowest prices off each of them.” On the 17th of November 1888: 'Meeting in Seven Stars Assembly Rooms. Shares to be £25. Initial share capital to be £10,000. £6000 of this taken up at the meeting'. “Meeting in the Seven Stars Assembly Room on Thursday the 8th of November. John Lowcock of Blackpool had offered land at the bottom of 'Cow Foot Lane' [Calf Hall Lane] on very favourable terms and offered to become a shareholder. It transpired that the Chapel Trustees were not able to sell the Parrock. The 'Cow Foot Lane' site was best as they were first takers of the water. Brooks Banks then showed how a mill with 800 looms could return 10% on capital. It was then proposed and accepted that the shares would be £25 each and not £5. Shareholder's names were taken and the meeting became private. £6,000 is already taken up and building is to start at Christmas.”
Sixteen years later Barlick was a boom-town. Let's step back to 1890, look at what was happening and try to put ourselves into the frame of reference of the board of the CHSC. The town was being transformed, every existing road was ripped up to install modern water supplies and a water-carriage sewage system. The success of the cotton trade was driving expansion by financing new mills and as a consequence new housing. The population was growing and the CHSC was aware that some of their larger tenants were entertaining notions of moving out into their own mills. Though some of the later mills described themselves as shed companies they were actually partnerships building for themselves, not true shed company business models. However, this didn't mean they would close their doors to tenants who could fill their space and maximise the benefits of investment.
Most of the new mills by 1914 were built to take advantage of the canal for condensing water but due to more efficient engines at least two were built on natural water sites which had not been viable twenty years earlier, Westfield and Fernbank. All these factors combined and the board started to be concerned about the possibility of a shed being built on the land next to Butts Mill, the Parrock, which they had almost bought as a site for their original mill. We have seen that the CHSC did not have absolute ownership of the riparian rights on Calf Hall Beck, the section which ran alongside the boundary of the Parrock was theoretically the property of the Trustees of the Baptist Chapel but they had never been a threat. The opening of the biggest new build yet at Bankfield in 1905 may have been the trigger which started the board thinking. Let's look at the evidence in the minutes.
March 28th 1906. That P Barrett be authorised on behalf of the company to make enquiries in his own name as to the plot of land adjoining Butts Mill known as 'The Parrock'. [Had the Trustees advertised the land for sale?]
April 4th 1906. That P Barrett be deputed and empowered without limit as to price but in consultation with Mr A King to buy the plot of land adjoining Butts Mill known as 'The Parrock' and containing 9,100 square yards. The meeting was informed that probably £1,200 would buy it and it was considered to be cheap to the company at this price, the feeling of the board being that should a shed be built on the site by any other party than the company, the results as far as the water supply to Calf Hall and Butts Mills would be very serious. [I am confused. How could loss of this land affect the water supply to Calf Hall Shed which is upstream? Are we to understand that after sixty years of use as a mill Butts still hasn't got control of the Calf Hall Beck? All the evidence points to this. The most likely explanation for the use of 'Calf Hall' in the minute is that it is shorthand for CHSC. However we have got a clear statement of the motives driving the decision.]
April 11th 1906. That Messrs Horsfield, Baxter and Wilson be deputed to interview the Trustees of Bethesda Chapel with reference to the sale of the Parrock. After the interview they reported that the Trustees were agreeable to receive a deputation after tenders had been opened and that they would favourably consider the company in disposing of the land. Res. That P Barrett be asked to tender £1,250 and the company tender £1,300. [I'm quite surprised that they have committed the information about Proctor Barrett to the legal record of the minutes. In effect they are documenting collusion between two bidders to manipulate the sale price of the land by using a stalking horse. Not very Christian!]
April 18th 1906. That Messrs Barrett, Slater, King and Dent be deputed and authorised to purchase the Parrock if it can be obtained at reasonable cost. The meeting was informed that some person had offered 3/1 per square yard and it was therefore thought that if the company offered 3/3 per yard they would become the purchaser. [How do they know this? Do you get the feeling that CHSC have a mole on the Trustees? I don't know for certain but it would surprise me if nobody on the board worshipped at the chapel.]
April 25th 1906. A letter was read from the Trustees of Bethesda church confirming the purchase of the Parrock at 3/3 per square yard and giving the company the option of purchasing a cottage thereon for £120. [Notice the speed of all this. I get the feeling that they have wind of a rival moving on the Parrock. They could have very strong grounds for appearing to be paranoid.]
June 27th 1906. That W Holdsworth be instructed to investigate the purchase of the end house opposite the Calf Hall Shed which may be required at some future time for the purposes of constructing a road from the Parrock. [The board has already demonstrated that they are well aware of the importance of access and boundaries in their treatment of the Mean Laithe Flatt land and Wellhouse Mill.]
July 4th 1906. A letter was read from the Baptist Trustees with reference to the purchase of the Parrock informing the board that the Commissioners were not prepared to authorise the sale until the purchaser undertook to pay all the expenses of the Trustees which of course included the surveyor's fee. [Later, in 1907, it becomes clear that this refers to the Charity Commissioners.] Messrs Barrett, King and Wilson paid a visit to the Trustees during the meeting in order to ascertain the meaning of the latter clause but on their returning they explained that the item was a sum of £20 already paid to Mr Dent of Nelson, a surveyor. The directors expressed the opinion that this was not the bargain and that if the company pay it, the trustees to refund the amount or alter the conditions of sale.
February 27th 1907. Brown, Charlesworth and Wood reported that there was no written conveyance to the Bethesda Trustees of that portion of the Parrock which abuts Calf Hall Lane. [From 'History of the Baptist Church in Barnoldswick' by the Rev E R Lewis: “The first emphatic reference to the church as a properly organised society is dated 1661. In that year certain property consisting of a messuage, barn, croft and garden, which had been held in trust by three of the members named Christopher Edmondson, Henry Higgins and Matthew Watson, was conveyed to one John Taylor another member. He in 1694 transferred it to David Crosley the minister of the church, who in 1705 transferred it to an elder of the church, named John Barritt, who ultimately bequeathed it to the Society as a meeting house for the perpetual use of the Baptists at Barnoldswick. That identical property still remains in the possession of the church”. This conveyance could have included the land called the Parrock, if not it was added piecemeal after 1661 and this could account for the subsequent problems encountered in the title. Some of these were solved by getting affidavits from elders who had knowledge of past custom and use.] Res. That they be instructed to procure a good Legal Title by affidavit or otherwise. [We may be looking at the basis of the problems with title that Harold Duxbury told me still existed as late as the 1980s.]
March 20th 1907. Res. That the common seal of the company be affixed to the conveyance and memorial dated March 16th for the purchase from the Trustees of the Baptist Chapel of the paddock (Parrock) adjoining Butts Mill and containing 10,612 square yards for the sum of £1,834-9-0.
April 17th 1907. Mr Atkinson of Colne attended and produced four plans relating to the Paddock (Parrock) three of which were for the erection of a weaving shed and one to utilise the land for cottage property. Plan no. 3 showing a shed capable of holding 1300 looms with its warehouse abutting on Butts Mill property appeared to meet with the greatest approval, the other plans showing only 1200 looms. Res. That a General Meeting be called as early as convenient “To consider the question of developing the Parrock recently purchased by the company”.
Meanwhile, on April 24th 1907. Res. That the Parrock be lent to a committee arranging a horse show on Saturday May 11th 1907.
April 29th 1907. Considerable discussion took place with regard to the position to be taken up by the directors at the extraordinary meeting which would follow this meeting to consider how best to use the plot of land known as the Parrock but no resolution was passed.
Extraordinary Meeting, Seven Stars Hotel, April 29th 1907. The business being to consider the development of the Parrock, recently purchased by the company. Dr Roberts presided and there were present other[sic] 52 members of the company. The chairman expressed a desire that the shareholders should do nothing to jeopardise the position of the company. Consideration of the question was opened. Mr Brooks was of the opinion that by erecting a weaving shed on the site based on the plans of the architect at a cost of £17 per loom the shareholders would obtain a return of 5% on their capital.
The secretary [George Proctor] pointed out that Mr Brooks had under-estimated the expenditure by £200 based on the actual expenditure at Calf Hall Shed and that only £400 depreciation had been taken instead of £552-10-0 and that had he taken the correct expenditure and depreciation at the proper rate of 2½% he would have shown a net return of 3¼% only. The secretary also pointed out that the additional cost of materials, both to the company and to the respective tenants, and the small return on capital made the scheme impractical. The company, he said, was already the largest room and power company in England but it owed £25,000 on loans and mortgages and that a better investment would be provided for shareholders by buying off these loans rather than erecting a new weaving shed. He estimated that the value of the present shares to be 30/- each and was of the opinion that it was unfair to the shareholders to put them in the position of either having to put up new shares required to erect the new shed or to sell their options at a sacrifice. After considerable discussion by the shareholders it was resolved that seeing it is not advisable at the present time to erect a weaving shed on the plot of land known as the Parrock, the question of erecting a shed thereon be deferred for the present.
What strikes me is that nobody has mentioned the extra power needed for the new shed. The Musgrave engine and its associated plant at Butts is loaded to near-capacity already. Despite being a big engine it runs slowly and has a suspect gear drive to the shaft. There is also the question of the boiler and economiser capacity. 1300 extra looms would demand at least another 700hp and the repercussions of taking this out of the existing plant would have been a significant additional cost. Of course it may be that this was raised but not minuted. If this is the case it is a surprising omission.
May 8th 1907. Res. That the price to be paid per horse per week for grazing the Parrock be 5/- for not more than three horses. [This is the first of many references to the use of the Parrock for grazing to gain an income.]
I won't burden you with the multitude of entries in the minutes that follow concerning the Parrock. Suffice to say that it was used for a variety of purposes and over the years was sold off piecemeal for various purposes including a roller skating rink, to the Conservative Club for a bowling green (this is the origin of the Conservative Club's involvement in the betterment charges after WW2 for Butts Mill.) and house building.
My main interest in the Parrock is the reason why it was bought, to stop any competitive development as loom space. One thing seems certain, if it had been developed independently as a rival mill it would have needed an engine and boiler house with space for coal storage. It couldn't have held more than 800 looms (remember Brooks Banks giving this number in 1888?) with no room for expansion. As such it would not have been viable. The fact that someone appears to have been considering this development says much about the mania for mill-building that pervaded Barlick at the time. It also raises the question of the motivation of the CHSC board. I get a distinct impression that the main cause of concern was always any interference to the water supply from the Calf Hall Beck. Remember that they have this problem already at Wellhouse. I know I keep banging on about the importance of cooling water and riparian rights but it is easy to forget today just how important this was in the director's minds.
There are several other small land transactions over the years, mainly aimed at tidying boundaries and giving scope for extensions should they be needed. I leave you to search for these in the minutes. Only two of these need be mentioned here.
March 24th 1909. The secretary read a letter from the architect in which he stated that the probable cost of the proposed extension at Calf Hall Shed for 276 loom spaces would be £2,960 exclusive of alterations to the engine. [Nice to see that this consequence has been recognised. The engine is hard pressed as it is without extra load. There is also the question of boiler and economiser capacity.]
December 7th 1910. Res. That the common seal of the company be affixed to the conveyance of a plot of freehold land containing 3400 square yards called Hippen Croft and abutting on the company's land at Calf Hall. The price being £450 and £10 for share of drain. In the presence of T Dent, Proctor Barrett and the secretary. Seal to be affixed also to the copy of the conveyance and the memorial. [For archiving at Wakefield.]
November 2nd 1910. Mr Metcalfe, manager, attended from Burnley Ironworks Co and Mr Lomas from the office of W H Atkinson with regard to the proposed extension at Calf Hall Shed. Mr Metcalfe explained that a new HP cylinder would be needed, 33 sets of wheels, alterations to the lineshafting etc. and that the whole of the works would cost £1,100 of which the cylinder was £320, new wheels in the old shed £220 and wedge pedestals £140. The alterations proposed by Mr Metcalfe were to increase the speed of the engine from 59 to 80rpm to enable the additional 400 looms to be turned by increasing the horse power from 553 to 700 and reducing the overload, at present 22%, to 17%. [Note that this is approaching twice the original design load and nothing is being done to strengthen other parts of the engine. A hostage to fortune?]
Mr Lomas presented the draft plans of the extension showing that it would contain 414 looms and that the shed level will probably be 6ft above the present shed levels. He was requested to get out the probable cost and submit this to to the next meeting of the directors. [Notice that the number of looms has risen from 276 to the efficient unit size of 400. The extension, always known as Monkswell Shed, was completed on time within the budget and fully tenanted until the beginning of WW2. A successful development.]
December 21st 1910. Tenders were opened for the proposed extension at Calf Hall Shed and it was resolved that the following be accepted subject to each contractor agreeing to complete the work by July 1st 1911 and that the work be commenced at once:
Architect's Estimate Lowest tender
Contractor, Dent and Sons 1594 2018
Joiner, Feather 320 442
Ironfounder, BI 582 768
Slater, P Smith 248-9-9 255
Plumber, C B Merrill 202-2-6 195
Plasterer, William Smith 100 120
Total 3046-14-3 3798
[Good information about the cost of such a build in 1910. Worth noting that the absence of well known Barlick contractors might be a reflection of the general building boom in the town at the time.]
Just one more land purchase, I include it because I have always found it slightly ironic that it took the board so long to get round to it. We start on May 15th 1912. 'That the question of the purchase from Mr Roundell of the land at Wellhouse on which the well is situated be considered next week. [The well giving access to the Bowker Drain water in Eastwood Bottoms behind Wellhouse Mill. This initiative never came to anything, the board were always conscious of the fact that they did not have control of this essential resource.]
October 29th 1919. The Gledstone Estate agent wrote asking the company if they were prepared to make an offer for the small plot of land upon which the well at Wellhouse Mill stood (in Eastwood Bottoms) and for which the company pay £10 per annum. [Never pursued.]
February 16th 1956. Wellhouse Mill water supply. Mr Duxbury suggested that it might be an advantage to CHSC to acquire land adjoining Wellhouse Mill through which the Bowker Drain ran if the owners would sell at a reasonable price. [The Bowker drain is a mystery enfolded in an enigma. It was the main supply of water for the dams at Wellhouse Mill from 1853 onwards, had been the subject of court cases and was the supply of water to the well in Eastwood Bottoms in land owned by the Roundell Estate to whom CHSC are still paying an annual rent. I had many verbal evidences that use of the water in the drain was always seen as vaguely illegal, certainly everybody clammed up when I got on the subject. Harold knew more than most about the drain and as contractor for Rolls Royce he re-piped much of it with 9” concrete pipes. RR did this because they used water from it for foul water supplies at Bankfield Shed. You'll get some idea of the clandestine nature of any enquiry if I tell you that one evening a roll of plans was popped through my front room window in King Street in the 1980s and I never knew who was responsible. However, these plans of the Bowker Drain show how well it was surveyed and what concerns us here is that one of the drawings is dated January 1955 and I suspect that by February 1956 Harold Duxbury was involved in contracting for improvements to the drain for RR. This may be what is at the root of his advice above.]
September 20th 1956. The offer of Proctor Barrett and Son to sell to CHSC the land at Eastwood Bottom was considered. In view of the importance of securing the water supply to Wellhouse Mill: Res. That the two plots of land as described in the last minutes should be bought for £1000 but the land and buildings in Vicarage Road were not required. [Sir Amos Nelson, owner of the Gledstone Estate, died in 1947 and in the ensuing years the estate was broken up. It looks as though Barrett and Son have bought the land, possibly with house building in mind but then decided not to go forward because of either lack of demand for housing after the post-war council house building at Coates or the nature of the land, not the best residential building site as it was low lying and had bad access. There is also the possibility that Barrett's bought the land speculating that they would be able to sell it on to the council for housing but this fell through when land further up the hill to the east at Coates was used instead.]
December 20th 1956. Res. That the common seal of CHSC be affixed to the conveyance and memorial of the land agreed to be purchased from Proctor Barrett and Son for £1,000 comprising the plot of just over one acre bounded by Crow Nest Syke on the west and Back Roundell Road on the East together with land of approximately seven acres between Skipton Road and Long Ing Shed. [This not a high price for development land. One suspects that Barrett's might have been in trouble and forced to sell. As a guide, I was looking for a farm to buy in 1959 and paid £2,000 for a good house and seven acres of land at Hey Farm in Barlick. At that time, any of the upland farms on the surrounding hills could be bought for £50 an acre, buildings included.]
The board subsequently sold much of the land retaining only those parts that contained the well. I regard it as ironic because after a century of Wellhouse Mill not having a totally secure supply of condensing water the problem was solved four years before the engine stopped and the need for the water ended.
There is one more transaction we need to look at, it was an outlier but deserves our attention.
In April 1907 during discussions as to whether to build an extension for Butts Mill on the Parrock, George Proctor stated that CHSC was “the largest room and power company in England” and one would think that he would know. I remind you of this because what follows was first a contribution to this assessment and second, was a perfect example of the value of having advisers who had a wide knowledge of what was happening in the textile industry outside Barlick.
May 17th 1905. Res. That the secretary be instructed to offer the Craven Bank the sum of £6,400 for their interest in the weaving shed and premises known as Viaduct Shed at Colne, exclusive of machinery, book debts and stock subject to a ground rent of about £43 per annum. The purchase date as from December 31st last, interest of 5% on purchase price to commence on the 1st of May. That as the secretary is not asking for any commission on the purchase of this shed he be permitted, for his own use, to accept any honorarium that the Craven Bank may give him after the completion of the purchase. [This is an insider deal!]
Evidence of robust trade. The CHSC evidently feels confident it has the capacity to manage another shed as an outlier in Colne and expects the net return to be more than the 5% interest on what is in effect a loan from the Craven Bank. Here again we have evidence of the involvement of George Proctor and his contacts in the trade, he has seen an opportunity and shared it with the board. [For a full description of Viaduct Shed see Shackleton, 'The Textile Mills of Pendle'.] CHSC were to run the mill until 1919 when they sold it to one of the tenants, Thomas Hargreaves. Note that this sale was during the ephemeral post-war re-stocking boom, a smart move. There is a connection with Calf Hall Shed as Joseph Hawley built both Calf Hall and Viaduct and completed the latter in 1890. At the time CHSC bought it there were 608 looms under four tenants: Thomas Hargreaves, 250 looms. Edward Riley, 114 looms. Cowgill and Hacking, 144 looms and the Viaduct Manufacturing Co with 100 looms. The engine was a Burnley Ironworks cross compound rated at 400hp and had a rare three-flued Lancashire boiler made by Yates and Thom of Blackburn working at 120psi. There was a Green's economiser with 120 pipes.
May 24th 1905. The secretary read a letter from the Craven Bank in which they stated that the offer to purchase Viaduct Shed for £6,400 on the terms passed by the resolution of the directors at their last meeting was accepted. [The fact that it was in the ownership of the bank suggests that there had been a charge on it held by the bank and that the original owner has liquidated.]
June 21st 1905. Res. That the common seal of the company be affixed in the presence of Dr Roberts and Thomas Dent and two of the directors and the secretary to the Assignment dated June 16th 1905 of two plots of land and a weaving shed and premises known as Viaduct Shed situate at Colne in the County of Lancaster from the Craven Bank Ltd to the Company for the sum of £6,400. The plots contain 152 and 6,813 square yards respectively and are subject to a yearly ground rent of 343-10-8.
January 2nd 1907. Res. That Mr Wood be authorised to re-let the space about to be vacated at Viaduct Shed to the existing tenants on the same terms as hitherto providing the change is carried out without cost to the company. [This entry seems to confirm that Teddy Woods is acting as manager of Viaduct Shed on behalf of the company, semi-detached ownership and management. In 1910 an extension was added. ]
June 5th 1912. The secretary gave particulars of the extra cost of coal during the strike from which it appeared that the additional charge to the tenants would be about 3/9 to 4/- per loom at Calf Hall and 2/8½d per loom at Viaduct Shed. [I append this reference to demonstrate that Local Disadvantage applied in bad times as well as good. On the face of it one would expect national coal prices to have equal effect but evidently not so. The increase at Viaduct is very small compared to Barlick.]
August 6th 1919. Res. That the question of disposing of Viaduct Shed be deferred for six months. [Cliff edge! We know with hindsight that the climate is going to worsen after July 1920. Worth mentioning that many large mills, mainly spinning mills, were recapitalised during the re-stocking boom after WW1 at what later looked like ridiculously high figures and a lot of money flowed out of the industry in consequence. See 'Lancashire Under the Hammer' by Ben Bowker (Published in 1928 by Leonard and Virginia Woolf.), the classic critique of these policies by the editor of the Lancashire Evening Post who understood the industry. The market for weaving sheds wasn't as frenetic but there was an air of speculation around in the post war boom. More evidence of the widely-held belief in the trade that a cyclical dip in trade was always followed by an expansionary resurgence. In this case they seem to have missed the fact that was not an old-fashioned trade cycle, it was change in trading patterns on a global scale caused by the disruption of a World War.]
Special meeting Seven Stars Hotel. November 3rd 1919. P Barrett chair. Full board present. A desire having been expressed that the company should dispose of its Viaduct Shed property seeing that values were rising and that this appeared to be an opportune time for obtaining a good price it was resolved that Viaduct Shed be sold providing not less that £20 per loom be obtained for it. Res. That George Proctor be empowered to negotiate the sale of the property on the above understanding and that he be paid a commission of 5% on the purchase price. [A smart move and one detects the hand of George Proctor here. I suspect that he already had Thomas Hargreaves lined up as a buyer.]
December 10th 1919. With reference to the instructions to the secretary to sell Viaduct Shed: Res. That we confirm the sale of Viaduct Shed, shops and house to Tom Hargreaves and Sons (one of the existing tenants) for the sum of £21,750 on the following terms of payment: £2,000 deposit. (Already paid). £9,750 on January 1st 1920, £10,000 on July 1st 1920, the balance of the purchase money to be subject to interest at 6%. [Give GP his due, he doesn't hang about! Sold at the top of the market.]
June 16th 1920. In view of the payment of the balance on Viaduct Shed by Messrs T Hargreaves and Son on June 30th it was resolved that the mortgage of £5,000 be repaid to the Exors of W Thompson and that the amounts borrowed from the Bank of Liverpool on the War Loan be also repaid.
From numerous entries in the minutes we see that Viaduct was never a problem. It made the CHSC a profit every year and they had to spend hardly anything on maintenance. Bought for £6,400, less than £3,000 spent on the extension and sold for £21,750 15 years later at the top of the market. Game, set and match to George Proctor I think!
The thing that strikes me in this overview of the CHSC and its land and property acquisitions is that they were cautious but once they were convinced of the merits of a case they pressed on with no internal dissent that can be detected from the minutes. The only one that slightly puzzles me is the 1956 purchase at Wellhouse but I suspect that there may be slightly more to that transaction than meets the eye. Harold Duxbury was a smart operator and if you search the minutes and tot up the prices obtained from the sale of parcels of the land in Eastwood Bottoms you'll find there was a handy little profit. Reading between the lines of the minutes I'd lay a small bet that inside knowledge was a factor in the transaction. One of the headings that I'd love to address is the CHSC intelligence network! I'm afraid that's a pipe dream, it would be pure speculation but in my own mind I'm certain that this resource existed and was very efficient.
We have more work to do on the early days of the company. How did they manage to hit the ground running?


I want to look in greater depth at the period before the first annual general meeting of the CHSC in April 1889 using contemporary evidence and what we can learn from the minute books. Both the conveyance of February 1888 and the first entry in the minute books show clearly that a company limited by guarantee had been formed and a company seal designed and made as it was used on the conveyance. Following the initial sale of shares they must also have opened a bank account and instituted a system of accounting to record the spending of money on essential set-up expenses but we have no trace of these.
What were the contemporary norms in company formation? The repeal of the Bubble Act in 1825 opened up the possibility of capital formation by the issue of shares to the public. The Joint Stock Acts of 1855/1866 refined this process by allowing a public company to be limited by guarantee. In other words the shareholder's liability in the case of failure was limited to the extent of their shareholding, in the case of the directors there was often an additional limited penalty. I had experience of managing a charitable company limited by guarantee when I was project director for the Ellenroad Trust and at that time there was a further penalty in that if wrongdoing could be proved on the part of the board, say by trading when insolvent, their liability was not limited and their personal assets could be sequestrated.
Early reaction to the concept of limited liability was mixed. Some saw it as a retrograde step in that it enabled management to abdicate from what was seen to be proper responsibility. In the old partnerships failure was heavily punished by loss of personal estates and this was seen to be a just outcome. When I first started to take an interest in textile history I came across the phrase 'The Oldham Limiteds' and found that this referred to the 154 cotton manufacturing companies founded to build or operate cotton mills in Oldham, predominantly during the joint stock boom of 1873–1875. It has been estimated that by 1875 about 75% of Oldham mill workers held shares in the Limiteds. Gladstone is reported in 1867 as saying that “the working class had become an association of small capital holders employing other people”.
So, in 1888 we can be sure that the concept of the limited company was accepted and well understood in the wider textile industry. The subject would be discussed on the 'change in Manchester and accountants and lawyers in the major textile towns like Proctor and Proctor in Burnley would be familiar with limited company formation and administration. The question that arises is when the concept was first used in our district. When James Nuttall started to build the new Coates Mill in 1864 there is a report that the erection was delayed because of lack of capital. I suspect that this was a partnership rather than a limited company. The Craven Bank in Skipton was registered as a limited company in 1880. I am almost certain the Long Ing Shed Company was limited from its inception in 1886 and could have been the first in Barlick. Our promoters were aware of the possibility, what interests me is how well they understood the process of forming and administering a limited company.
Looking at the minutes of the first annual meeting of shareholders on April 27th 1889 and applying my local knowledge to the names of both the elected directors and the shareholders who proposed and seconded them, I can find no evidence to suggest that any of them had intimate knowledge or experience of limited companies. Of course, I could be mistaken, some of them may have already been shareholders in other companies. One of the things that first struck me about the minute books is that they hit the ground running. The style and format of the first entry is the same that was followed right through the company's history. They understand the conventions of the format and the protocols to be followed in conducting meetings. Motions are proposed and seconded, resolutions are passed. The concept of weekly meetings of the board of directors and half yearly shareholder's meetings is immediately established and hardly ever deviated from. The only slightly amateurish note I detect, and I realise I may be doing the two gentlemen a disservice, is the appointment of John Lancaster the local postmaster as auditor and John Hartley, a furniture dealer as secretary. As I shall suggest below, there may have been a good reason why the promoters didn't immediately avail themselves of professional services.
I need to step back here to before October 1888. The Bracewell Brothers collapse and the subsequent fire sale in 1887 by the Craven Bank was doubtless the subject of much comment on the Manchester Exchange. Remember that one of their assets was a large, well-known foundry and engineering works in Burnley. I know of one man who would have intimate knowledge of these events and who was already active in other businesses in the district. I have no concrete evidence but I'm almost certain he was acting as secretary for the Long Ing Company. This man was George Proctor of Proctor and Proctor, accountants, 3 Grimshaw Street in Burnley. In his business dealings he would have frequent meetings with George Robinson, manager of the Craven Bank in Skipton who was obviously well connected with local business. We will see that within four years, George is secretary for the CHSC and instrumental in setting a higher standard of management and book-keeping.
Besides being an accountant, George was an investor. He had interests in many concerns and became owner of the Big Mill Company in Earby and a major partner in the Earby private gas undertaking. He was well known in the district and eventually resided here. In the 1891 census he is noted as living at 106 Manchester Road, Habergham Eaves, Burnley. However the minutes for July 22nd 1891 mention negotiating with the Barlick gas company for the connection of C G Bracewell's former residence, Bank House, to the mains. This always puzzled me because the CHSC never owned the property but this initiative suggests a linkage. On March 15th 1893 when he was appointed secretary George's address was given as Bank House so I assume he had bought it sometime before the gas connection, perhaps during the fire sale of the Bracewell assets in 1887. Directories are usually accurate and Barrett for 1896 reports George as living at Bank House. In the census for 1901 his address is given as Throstle Nest, a comfortable house on the old road in the centre of Thornton in Craven. Enough evidence I think to show he had more than simply a business connection with the area before 1888, he was house hunting. If there is a candidate for the 'man behind the scenes' who advised and guided the promoters, he is my choice. I have another, albeit fragile clue. The first minute book used by the directors was made by Waterlow Brothers and Layton Ltd, general stationers and manufacturers of account books, 24 and 25 Birchin Lane, Cornhill London. Is it too great a leap of imagination to imagine George telling the promoters, “start as you mean to go on”, and providing the first minute book from his supplier in Burnley?
You may be wondering, as I often have, why George didn't play a more public role before 1893 if he was advising the promoters. We know from his track record that the formation of a shed company was right up his street and after 1893 he is a force inside the CHSC, we suspect the directors were acting for him on the gas supply before 1891. I wonder how many plausible company formations George had seen and how many failed to live up to their early promise. There is no evidence of him being intimately involved on a personal level with the promoters of the CHSC and it may well have been that he held them at arms length until he was satisfied that they were more than a flash in the pan. At the same time I can well imagine him taking steps to secure his later position by making sure that the directors knew that once they had proved their worth he would come on board. In the minutes for March 15th 1893 we find the following entry; Res. 5th. That Mr George Proctor of Bank House be the secretary of this company at the rate of £30 per annum. On March 29th two more resolutions; 'Res. That the resignation of Mr John Hartley as secretary of the company be accepted. Res. That Mr George Proctor of Grimshaw Street Burnley be and is hereby appointed Secretary of the company at the salary of £30 per annum from this date'. On September 2nd 1893 at the half year shareholder's meeting we find, 'Res. That Mr Ed. Foden be appointed auditor for the ensuing year at a salary of £3-3-0.'
I have no hard evidence but it would surprise me if Mr Foden is anything other than an employee or an associate of George Proctor. I suspect that this is the reason why the promoters started with what looked like a couple of temporary appointments as secretary and auditor. One thing is certain, the influence of George Proctor can be clearly seen in the director's actions after 1893. Book-keeping, methods of accounting and the internal administration of the board are tightened up and we know that George is feeding the board information and advice on strategy.
There is another strong piece of evidence which appears in the minutes before George's direct participation as secretary. A month after the first meeting, on May 15th 1889, we find the following resolution, 'That Messrs Holden’s letter asking for terms for room and power be replied to. The terms to be that they pay per annum 39/- per loom and £90 for one tape machine for a term of three years subject to alteration if necessary at that time.' This the start of the harvest we will gather from the minute books, hard evidence of what the rent payable by tenants was. As time goes by the tenancy agreements alter in complexity and later on in format, we shall look at this in detail. At the moment what interests me is how the directors arrived at this first decision on prices. Was it a direct steal from what I am sure they knew about the prices at Long Ing or advice from George based on his experience? Remember that Long Ing was almost certainly getting the benefit of George Proctor's experience of rents charged in other shed companies. Whichever source was used, this price was related to local standards and was a good starting point. There was a formal tenancy agreement to be entered into and signed and George almost certainly provided an initial draft for this. Even the early agreements were more complicated than this minimal report in the minutes suggests.
It isn't until October 17th 1900 that we first find evidence in the minutes of the increasing complexity of tenancy agreements, 'Res. That the letter dated 17th October as drafted by the secretary in which the terms of renewal for all the tenants of the company on the 31st October are set out be approved and sent to Mr S Pickles as representative of the tenants. The terms are that the present rent of 39/- per loom per annum should be raised to 43/7. For each increase or decrease of 6d per ton in the price of coal the rent should vary by 6d per loom per annum. The tenancies to be yearly ones from the 31st of October terminable by either party giving the other six months notice in writing at the end of any month in any year.' We know from the minutes that in communicating with the tenants George frequently uses comparative examples of rents and conditions in other towns, this can only come directly from his involvement with other shed companies.
On balance I think we are safe in assuming that before embarking on the flotation of CHSC the promoters took advice, they would certainly talk to George Robinson at the Craven Bank and it may be that he recommended they contact George Proctor. What is certain is that they had a viable administrative structure in place before the first shareholder's meeting which stood the test of time and only needed slight adjustment in detail as they progressed.
I'm sure that you will have also realised that my assessment of the structure and how they arrived at it proves that they were using the example of existing shed companies. This reinforces my case that the specifics we can extract from the CHSC minutes are directly applicable to the room and power sector as a whole. I see this as being a major recommendation for the use of the evidence of the CHSC minutes in any assessment of the wider North East Lancashire sector, they were not operating in a vacuum but applying an existing business model.
There is one last area I want to examine before we discuss specifics, the relationship of CHSC to the community in general and the tenants and shareholders in particular.


The death of Bracewell and the collapse of his interests in 1885 was a severe blow to Barlick. The professional classes, small tradesmen and retailers saw not only an immediate fall in income but a bleak future. Those mill workers who still had a job at Clough Mill and Coates Shed must have felt insecure. I have no doubt that there was much debate about the future of the town and as we have seen, unemployed people in rented accommodation voted with their feet.
From my general research I get the feeling that long before Billycock died, there was an undercurrent of discontent and a desire for change amongst the budding entrepreneurs we have noted taking space in those mills that would allow tenants. These men seem small fry when compared with the Bracewells but their rapid transition into major manufacturers in the new shed companies suggests that they had been doing well, had accumulated experience and amassed not only capital but credibility with the bank. Names like Pickles, Nutter, Edmondson, Brooks, Slater and Widdup first appear as small manufacturers, often combined with retail trade, and soon become prominent as large tenants in the room and power sheds before eventually building their own mills. There had been one faint glimpse of the future when Nuttall built the new Coates Shed specialising in weaving but it never developed beyond a small mill.
The first significant breakthrough was the announcement in 1886 of the formation of the Long Ing Shed Company. This came so close after Billycock's death and before the collapse of Bracewell and Sons that I suspect its gestation was not initiated by the collapse but by pressure for space from existing small manufacturers. Long Ing was designed as a large modern weaving shed holding 1,200 looms and within a year of opening was extending to provide another 400 loom spaces for the Brooks Brothers. Note the multiple of 400 spaces, the ideal unit size. This is clear evidence of demand and the availability of capital. The fact that CHSC could attract £6,000 investment as soon as shares were offered to the public reinforces the point. From the evidence of the minutes the greatest proportion of the remaining £4,000 came from local sources.
Once Long Ing Shed was up and running I don't think it takes too big a leap of imagination to suppose that news that another modern weaving shed was going to be built would be received with enthusiasm in the town. With hindsight we can see that any optimism was well founded, the population figures tell the story: 1881, 4,028. 1891, 4,131. 1901, 6,381 and 1911, 9,703. Bear in mind that in 1886, as near as we can tell, the population fell to about 2,500 with the migration of the displaced Bracewell workers. The promoters of CHSC were well-known and respected, they were trusted and the speed with which their proposal gained acceptance and was acted on indicates pent-up demand.
We have another source of evidence that sheds light on public attitudes towards the new company. We have no way of knowing how many of the initial shares were bought by mill workers, if the example of the Oldham Limiteds is anything to go by there would be at least a few small investors. There was another factor, in 1888 there was no easily accessible way to use savings to generate interest, public banking was in its infancy. From the first days of the company loans were accepted from potential investors who weren't necessarily shareholders but these were all relatively large amounts. In the minutes for May 3rd 1894 it was resolved that small loans be accepted from shareholders at 4½% interest and shortly afterwards this same opportunity was extended to anyone who wanted to invest. As a comparison, bank interest rate between 1890-1900 was rising slowly from about 2% to 4%. We can't identify the extent of these small loans from the balance sheets and accounts but from the frequency of references to them in the minutes we can be certain that they existed and were a useful source of capital.
It would appear that there was a social cachet in lending money to the company or owning shares. These small shareholdings eventually became an embarrassment because due to partiple inheritance they were scattered more and more thinly. In 1981 I interviewed Victor Hedges, one time senior partner at Proctor and Proctor and secretary for the CHSC. I asked him about this and he told me that in later years it got to the point where it cost more to send the dividend payments out than they were worth. In December 1952, as secretary, he tried to remedy this situation; 'Res. That a letter be sent to shareholders pointing out that there were a number of very small holdings which involved the company in considerable expense in cheque stamps, postal charges etc and offering therefore to act as a go-between between members wishing to sell their small holdings and other members wishing to purchase them at the present market price of 10/- per share.' He told me that there was a limited response but no real improvement. Harold Duxbury told me that when the company was wound up they had a lot of shareholders on the books that they couldn't contact, a local solicitor was given the job of finding them but the last I heard there were still unclaimed shares. Harold was of the opinion that many of these 'orphan' shares would never be converted, the families who owned them saw them as talismans or family heirlooms rather than financial securities.
On the whole, the impression I have is that there was always a measure of public affection and pride in the success of the company. In April 1907 during discussions as to whether to build an extension at Butts Mill, George Proctor stated that CHSC was “the largest room and power company in England” and one would think that he would know.
This general impression of the CHSC relationships with the town led me to speculate on the differences between family firms and a democratic board. In both cases the motivation was essentially to make profit, the difference is that a family firm was private to the point of secrecy. This doesn't mean that they were any more or less worthy in their actions but the board of CHSC were definitely open to public scrutiny. Their responsibility was to the investors in the town who supported them and I think that their personal reputation was important to them. Any assessment of how this influenced their actions as directors must be subjective. All we have are occasional glimpses in the minutes of leniency towards staff and almost paternalistic behaviour when dealing with tied house accommodation.
My own opinion is that whilst there were undoubtedly kind men on the board who loved their children and dogs, their collective actions were usually based more on pragmatism then beneficence, what was best for the business? Having said this there is one entry which is almost affectionate. On April 19th 1956, 'It was reported that following the accident to his foot, Tom Marshall the engineer at WH had suggested that he should ease off a little and that £1 of his wage should be transferred to Ernest Marshall his son. The feeling of the meeting was that Tom Marshall should not suffer financially and that Harold Duxbury have an informal talk with him on the matter'. May 17th 1956, 'Mr Duxbury reported that as suggested at the last meeting he had had a word with Tom Marshall and arranged that he should take things easier but that he should suffer no reduction in wage. He had also arranged that Tom's son Ernest be given a bonus of £1 per week'. The engine at Wellhouse was still running but its days were numbered. I may be wrong but I detect a note of nostalgia and affection for both the engine and the old engineer. A nice entry, make your own minds up.
We need to look at relationships with the tenants. In the early days when demand for space outstripped supply, manufacturing profits were high and those lucky enough to gain a foothold in the shed realised the advantages of being able to enter the trade at such a low threshold of investment, the relationship between the board and its tenants was trouble free. Indeed, it can be argued that the board felt so secure that they developed a slightly autocratic manner in their dealings with the tenants. The relationship tended to deteriorate during the cyclical down-turns in trade which the weaving industry was always prone to. However, the universal experience was that until 1914, a fall in trading activities was always followed by a resurgence to even higher levels of activity and profit and this improvement often silenced any grumbling in the ranks. Paradoxically, it was rapid capital accumulation by the manufacturers in the good times that sparked more serious problems from the board's point of view.
Look at it from the manufacturer's point of view. If he has a full order book, buoyant demand and a good rate of profit it follows that if he had more looms he could make more money. Quite a few of them were operating 400 loom sets and knew they could fill 1200 but there was no space. In the early days CHSC could accommodate this burgeoning demand to a large extent by buying mills or extending the existing ones but eventually they reached their limit. Another possible solution open to the tenants was to buy shares in the CHSC and participate in the dividend generated by the rents they were paying. The big problem with this plan was that shares didn't often come onto the market and the reason for that was that apart from any sentimental attachment to them, they were a good investment. After a subdued start, the shares settled down at 5% dividend. In 1900 there was a fall caused by higher coal prices due to troubles in the mining industry. At that point CHSC raised the rents and instituted coal clauses in the agreements to protect them against further problems caused by problems outside their control. From 1906 onwards the dividend rose to 10%, there was a small bonus paid in 1910 and a further 25% bonus in June 1911. It wasn't until 1914 that the dividend fell, never to recover, as the industry entered the war and the long decline from 1920 onwards.
High profits between 1890 and 1900 in manufacturing built up the tenant's stock of capital and another avenue of escape opened. Eight large modern weaving sheds were built in the town financed by capital accumulated under room and power tenancy. This was the biggest benefit the shed companies bestowed on the town, it fuelled explosive growth not only in the mills but in housing and infrastructure. It should be noted that there was another unforeseen legacy implicit in this which came from a surprising source. The Bracewell hegemony had done Barlick a disservice by retarding growth at a time when the rest of North East Lancashire was booming so we were late starters but this conferred advantages. The weaving industry had standardised shed design, developed better engines, boilers and management systems and when Barlick eventually expanded it did so with the latest technology. The tortoise had overtaken the hare. By 1914 there were more looms in Barlick than could be operated by local labour and it became common for country weavers to lodge in the town during the week and go home to their villages at weekend.
After 1920 and the start of the terminal decline in the industry relations with the remaining tenants deteriorated. It can be quite depressing to read the minutes detailing the interminable disputes over coal prices and allowances for stopped looms due to bad trade, plant breakdown or renovation. It wasn't until 1940 when all weaving in the CHSC sheds stopped for the duration of the war that the disputes stopped. We shall see that there were alterations in the business model after 1945 and these were to prove far less contentious but that's a long way in the future.
The bottom line with the tenants was that all was well if they were satisfied. The problem was that this didn't happen too often and they could be as autocratic as the company. Major manufacturers like Stephen Pickles or James Nutter controlling almost 2000 looms apiece were not going to be easily controlled by anyone. They were powerful men and we will see how James Nutter's decisions closed Bankfield Shed in 1934 and denied weaving at Wellhouse during WW2. The closure of Butts Mill in 1933 was largely caused by Stephen Pickles re-arranging his interests. The factor that saved CHSC from the normal vicissitudes of corporate life was that though they were a public company, the market for shares was always private and closely controlled. The directors could not be raided by a rival bid.
We've set our scene, we have a good idea of the local circumstances and the environment the CHSC is working in. Time to look at some specifics and extract direct evidence from the minutes.


Forgive me if I become pedestrian again and tell you things you already knew. One of the most common errors historians make when explaining a specific is to make the assumption that the reader has knowledge of the general. Nowhere is this more true than in any description of a technical subject. I still remember how long it took me in the early days of my interest in textiles to grasp the essential difference between the Great wheel and the Saxony wheel, essential to understanding mule spinning and continuous spinning. Don't worry! We don't need this information to understand weaving. However, many people speak glibly of 'cotton weaving' but don't have any clear understanding of what it entailed.
The process the Room and Power companies were providing accommodation for in Barlick was the weaving of plain cotton cloth on simple Lancashire looms. This was the business of the vast majority of mills in North East Lancashire, what was often described as 'Burnley Printers' or, with slightly less respect, the mills that wove this bread-and-butter cloth were known in the trade as 'Rag Shops'. Grossly unfair actually because some of the plain cloths were high quality and made with the best grades of cotton yarn. By the end of the 19th century this trade was a mature technology, textile machinery had been perfected and standardised and specialised manufacturers had established themselves in central locations like Blackburn or Accrington and dominated the market. You were just as likely to see a Howard and Bullough tape sizing machine in Preston as in Barlick. A worker moving from one town to another would walk into essentially the same environment wherever he or she went. The construction of the mills was standardised, the modern girder shed with heavy gutters supported by cast iron pillars which carried the power transmission shafts and the distinctive saw tooth roof was standard. Ideally this was what was known as a 'north light' shed. All the glass faced as near due north as possible as this avoided direct sunlight entering the shed and gave the most consistent lighting conditions, one of the essential prerequisites for good work. Incidentally this was true world wide. It can be slightly disconcerting to see a typical Lancashire cotton mill on the Nevsky Prospekt in St Peterburg and realise it was full of Platt Brother's machinery from Oldham and driven by a Galloway engine from Manchester.
To make cloth a manufacturer needed looms. The industry standard was a 40” reed space loom which wove cloth about 36” wide. As the looms were a standard design, this meant that the floor space needed to accommodate the loom was well understood. See the architect's description of the new shed at Calf Hall in the report of the engine christening in December 1889: “The shed will hold 828 looms at 40” reed space and gives 40¼ square feet to each loom (33,332 square feet), the largest he thought, in the district with 22¼ square feet warehouse space for each loom (18,444 square feet)” This accepted criterion meant that the shed space needed to accommodate a given number of standard looms in a weaving shed was easily calculated.
In order to weave successfully, the weaver's warps in each loom needed to have the requisite type and number of ends (individual threads) for the cloth construction that was to be woven. Further, these warp threads had to be treated with size, a mixture of water, gum, a starch and tallow to give them additional strength and stop them 'penning up' as the warp withstood the friction of the healds and reeds. This 'penning' was the shedding of loose surface fibres which could block the dents (gaps) in the healds and reeds, raise friction loads and tension in the threads and lead to breakages. The composition of the size also varied with the demands of the cloth customer. For these reasons the ideal was that a manufacturer had his own tape sizing machine so he could closely control the process.
This is a good place to clarify an item of plant connected with the tape sizing machine. An essential prerequisite of taping weaver's warps was that the process had to be uninterrupted. If the machine was stopped during the production run the current weaver's warp being made was badly damaged by excessive contact with the steam heated drying cylinders. The tape was driven by the main engine via the shafting during engine running hours but provision had to be made for driving it when the engine stopped at breakfast or dinner time. In exceptional circumstances overtime might need to be worked after normal mill hours when the engine was stopped. This need for independent power was catered for by having a single cylinder steam 'donkey engine' next to the tape. The drive shafting for the tape machine was separate from the main transmission shafting and was driven from that source by a heavy leather belt. By moving this belt from a fast to a loose pulley the tape shafting could be disconnected from the main transmission shafting. This was done using a large fork controlled by a lever to shift the belt sideways. This fork mechanism also controlled the belt from the donkey engine to the main shafting. The tapers always knew when the main engine was due to stop and before this happened they started the donkey engine and once it was warmed and up to speed they operated the fork lever which simultaneously disconnected the main drive and connected the donkey engine drive. This was a seamless operation, the tape machine was not affected and kept running when the main shafting stopped.
So, whenever a tape machine is mentioned bear in mind that this includes the donkey engine. In case you are wondering, the drive between the dedicated tape shafting and the tape machine itself was also transmitted via a fast and loose pulley system which allowed the tape to be stopped at any time for maintenance or gaiting up. One more thing, in normal circumstances the tapers made sure that they had stopped taping, that is to say they had completed a weaver's warp and stopped the tape machine, before the engine stopped. The next time the machine started all the warp threads that had been inside the machine and spoiled by excessive drying when the tape stopped were wound through, cut off and discarded as waste before starting on a fresh weaver's warp and continuing as normal.
Another essential process was the warp preparation stage where weaver's warps from the tape machine were united with their healds and reeds ready for installation in the loom, this needed minimal machinery, in the early days it depended mainly on skilled manual workers. Only one more machine was essential, a cloth plaiting and measuring machine for converting cloth on the roll direct from the loom into folded piles which could be bundled for dispatch.
In practice, each manufacturing unit was divided into two sections, the weaving shed and the warehouse. All the functions of the firm apart from weaving took place in the warehouse which also served as storage space for loom-ready weft, tapers beams from the spinners, cloth awaiting dispatch and ancillary accommodation like the overlooker's workshops, the office and often the toilets. The room and power rent of a fixed figure per loom and tape machine was structured to include the warehouse space as this too could be standardised on so much space for so many looms.
This system was flexible and in theory could accommodate a manufacturers specific requirements in terms of loom numbers. However there was an ideal unit size embedded in the standard machinery. One tape sizing or cloth plaiting machine could deal with the output from 400 looms. The tape machine's demands for process steam and power on normal cloths was well understood so the tape price was always calculated on 'one tape for 400 looms'. This meant that both from the manufacturer's and the shed company's point of view a 400 loom unit was the ideal size. I put this point to Victor Hedges when I interviewed him and he agreed. He said that the most economic mills that Proctor and Proctor dealt with were 1200 loom sheds containing three 400 loom units.
Another factor came into this, the rule for sizing an engine for a given weaving load was always half a horse power for each loom, this included the ancillary power needed for the warehouse. A 600hp engine driving a mill containing 1200 looms could be run successfully from one large boiler. This boiler would be hard pressed when dealing with process steam as well, particularly when the size for the tape machines was being boiled to break down the starch molecules. As we will see later, the additional heating load in winter caused many problems and in practice most of the later 1200 loom sheds had two boilers. In the early days of the CHSC smaller numbers of looms per tenancy were accepted without question but we shall see from the minutes that unit size increasingly became a deciding factor when there were multiple applications for space.
We need to take account of one more factor which was crucial to economic management of the mills, I have never seen this discussed thoroughly in all my research. The reason that I know about it is because I had the problem when I was engineer at Bancroft Shed. It is the most important single factor in the economics of running a steam-driven shed.
The biggest single expense in running a mill is coal consumption and in normal circumstances it is the only variable. All other running costs are either fixed or relatively constant. The old manufacturers running their own mills had a very simple method of keeping a health check on their running costs. They accepted that all costs were constant apart from fuel and did what was often a weekly calculation of coal burned against yards of cloth woven. This crude comparison was reliable enough to flag up problems as they arose. This calculation was slightly different for a shed company. It was coal burned against the number of looms generating rent. In both cases, if the number of looms running and hence, cloth production, decreased, the overhead of the fixed and constant costs has to be divided between fewer looms and therefore the unit expense of each loom (or unit of cloth production) rises. In effect, if the number of looms halves, the fixed expense per loom doubles. If a shed company was to recoup this cost, the loom rent would have to double but obviously the tenants would never agree to this. In the later days of the CHSC when loom numbers were falling and allowances for bad trade were being demanded by the tenants it became increasingly difficult to make a profit. We are not directly concerned with government policies in the later days of the industry to reduce capacity but it's worth noting that when they eventually acted they subsidised loom-scrapping in each mill instead of encouraging scrapping of entire mills and the concentration of the remaining capacity in full sheds. By doing this the former they reduced the economic viability of individual sheds and this was a major factor in the eventual extinction of the industry.
The bottom line is that the price structure of the rents was predicated on running a full shed. As soon as there was empty space the company had to take some sort of action. We shall see in the later history that this resulted in more complicated tenancy agreements and eventually triggered the move away from rental agreements to a commercial lease of space. In the end these became repairing leases where the tenant was responsible for maintenance of the property.
I think we have a clear picture now of what the manufacturers were doing inside the shed. It's time to look at the devolution of responsibility, exactly what was the shed company providing in return for the rent? Where were the demarcation lines?
The shed company contracted to provide acceptable weatherproof accommodation, power for the tenant's plant and machinery and steam for process and heating to statutory standards in winter. The main lineshaft driven by the engine served cross shafts in the various spaces in the mill and the tenant took power from drums on the shaft via leather belts to the individual machines. In case you are wondering, this power could be applied or disconnected by moving the driving belt from a fixed pulley which drove the machine to a loose pulley which spun without driving. This was controlled by the weaver using a simple lever-operated fork through which the belt ran on each machine. The shed company provided the leather driving belt as this came under the heading of power transmission. The company was responsible for all maintenance and repair of the structure. The tenant was responsible for their own plant and general housekeeping. Clear cut, no ambiguities you might think, but hold on a minute!
The beauty of having the detailed information contained in the minutes is that we can see matters like these in close focus. It can be quite surprising to see an agenda of very weighty items and then find considerable attention being given to what seem to be trivial items, one of these is broken windows. At first glance one would suppose that this is structural and therefore the responsibility of CHSC but this was quite often not the view taken by the directors. The attitude seemed to be that the company would ensure that all window glass was in place and unbroken when a tenancy was taken up but thereafter it became the responsibility of the tenant. I can understand this in terms of low level windows broken by carelessness, or in some cases by workers seeking ventilation in summer, but there are instances of them being charged for broken roof lights at high level. I fail to see how this could have been supported.
Another instance of a grey area is cleanliness, in particular the regular sweeping down of surfaces that have collected the fine cotton 'dawn' that is an inevitable consequence of weaving. This dawn was highly flammable and in extreme cases can be explosive. I have been told by weavers who worked in gas-lit sheds that very often when the gas was lit, the dawn would fire and a blue flame race across the roof of the shed. It appears that this regular accidental ignition could keep the danger of serious ignition at bay. However, the factory inspector could demand that surfaces and shafting be swept and we see instances where this requirement has been passed to the tenant but they refuse to do it on the grounds that anything at high level is the company's problem and CHSC had to sweep the shafting and ceilings.
The provision and maintenance of toilets was a perennial problem. Again, it would seem to be clear cut, CHSC made the initial provision but the tenant was responsible for their condition. Unfortunately it wasn't that simple, we have to look more closely at the minutes to find out what could go wrong. We should remember that when Calf Hall Shed was being built on a green field site Barlick was in the first phase of installing a modern water carriage sewer system. There was no mains sewer at the site in 1889 so the lavatories were the pail toilets which had to be emptied at intervals by the local council, what was known as the Night Soil system. On September 11th 1889 during the build we find, 'Res. 4th. That the privies inside the shed be built with brick and whitewashed with calcium'. A week later; 'Res. 2nd. That the secretary write to the Sanitary Inspector [Skipton Rural Sanitation District. Barnoldswick Local Board wasn't formed until November 1890.] for information regarding the expense of emptying the closet tanks at the shed'. So far so good but on October 1st 1889 there is a bit of a rethink, 'Res. 2nd. That the privies be removed from inside the shed and be built outside the warehouse at the south west corner'. [Harold Duxbury once told me that if privies were built outside the main building they were not subject to local rates, perhaps the directors had only just realised this. Harold also thought that this was an incentive to manufacturers to place them outside as this was seen to be more hygienic, to put it bluntly, they smelled awful. One wonders why the architect, Mr Atkinson, hadn't realised this.]
In addition to the bucket toilets there appear to have been urinals as well for the men. On February 1st 1899, 'Res. That the urinal in Holden’s warehouse be connected with the new drain if practicable'. This raises the question in my mind as to what the existing disposal method was. From other entries it looks as though it was a simple pipe to a soak-away outside. I leave it to you to imagine what the standard of hygiene was, certainly far lower than would be acceptable today. There are frequent references to complaints from the BUDC Sanitary Inspector asking for improvements particularly after revisions to the Factories Acts.
As late as September 5th 1906 we find, 'Res. That Mr Bennett, BUDC surveyor, be requested to empty the closets at Calf Hall Shed on Saturday afternoon in future'. Even though some toilets had been upgraded to tipplers in the other mills the original pail toilets at Calf Hall were still being used and the smell caused by emptying them in working hours was a problem, remember that Saturday morning working was the norm. Eventually they were converted to 'tipplers', these were a primitive water carriage toilet with an intermittent automatic flush. This got rid of the smell when emptying the pails but introduced another problem, blockages.
On September 1st 1897, 'Res. That notices with respect to the throwing of waste or other materials into the closets which might injure the tipplers be printed on tin and affixed in the closets at Wellhouse Mill'. This is an interesting one. It’s a clash between the ethos of the manufacturers and that of the CHSC. At this time weavers were very tightly controlled as to how much waste yarn they generated. All waste had to be taken into the warehouse and inspected by the clothlookers to determine whether it was legitimate waste like yarn package ends or culpable waste like 'stabbed cops' [Carelessly mounted mule cops on the spike in the shuttle. They had no paper or wooden centre.] which were a sign of bad work by the weaver. Persistent production of avoidable waste could eventually lead to a weaver being dismissed so they developed strategies for clandestine disposal. Ernie Roberts once told me that in his weaving days he used to go into work thin and go out fat because he stuffed stabbed cops in his shirt and took them home to burn on the fire. Another way to get rid of waste was to throw it in the water closets and this resulted in blockages which were the responsibility of the CHSC and not the manufacturers whose policies generated the problem. I had similar problems at Bancroft Shed in the 1970s, not with weaving waste but with the advent of paper knickers! We also know from this entry that the closets were tippler toilets which were normally flushed by domestic waste water, one wonders where this came from in the mill. On February the 10th 1904 we find, 'That tenders be invited from Varley, Barrett, Smith, Brooks and Brown for a ½” water supply to Council standard from certain points to the tipplers as pointed out by Mr Hogarth, engineer at Butts'.
The pail toilets survived until a surprisingly late date. On July 13th 1939 we find this entry, 'Correspondence from BUDC was referred to concerning the conversion of pail toilets to water closets in Butts Cottage and Calf Hall Yard. Res. That the council be authorised to convert the toilet at Butts Cottage and also the closet in Calf Hall yard providing that they would connect the Calf Hall closet to the company's own water supply'. The pail toilets were by then obsolete and the council were withdrawing the night soil service. One small insight into this which demonstrates how misleading assumptions can be. It would be quite natural to assume that this meant that no night soil would be collected under any circumstances. Not so, the night soil tanker was still making its regular rounds in Barlick as late as the 1980s. They were emptying the downstairs commodes of disabled people who could not climb the stairs to the house toilet.
One last ray of light on this subject. On December 12th 1900, 'Res. That we carry out the Factory Inspector’s suggestions viz. Closets in front of the Laundry at Wellhouse Mill to have painted on one ‘Gentlemen’ and on the other ‘Ladies’'. Only a small matter but did this mean that in the early days these distinctions weren't important? Were they unisex? It's small clues like this that enable us to get a picture of the conditions in the early mills. It is so easy to make false assumptions from our modern frame of reference.
I have another small puzzle about the division of responsibilities in the shed. Until the 1930s the standard method of illuminating the company's sheds was gas lighting from the town's mains. It's clear from the minutes that the original provision and maintenance of gas pipes and the pendant lights was always seen as the responsibility of CHSC, the only time this was deviated from was if a manufacturer needed extra lighting, say for a machine he had moved for his own convenience. Each manufacturer paid for their own gas and this was measured by meters in each portion. As part of the supply system it seems obvious that the provision of these meters would automatically be down to the company but there are multiple entries in the minutes which show that this was not the case. On September 20th 1905, 'The Craven Manufacturing Co requested the company to supply larger meters in their shed and to rearrange the gas pipes ready for the changes in tenancy. Res. That they be allowed to use the existing meters but any new or larger ones must be provided by themselves'. In later years all meters were the property of the supply company.
As in so much research into old records, a nil return can often indicate a possible fact. There is no mention anywhere in the minutes of the replacement of gas mantles. Given the director's partiality for recording minutiae I have always taken this as an indication that the manufacturers replaced their own.
The standard finish for the brick lined walls inside the shed and warehouse and all the plastered ceilings was whitewash. The Board of Trade Factory Inspector was usually the arbiter of when this was done and he was also very keen on the boiler and engine houses, the standard seems to have been to whitewash or wash down once a year. Exterior painting of woodwork seems to have been at the company's discretion.
There was another use of whitewash which was always seen as the responsibility of the company. A classic north light shed didn't suffer from direct sunlight through the windows and so there was no problem from this source in terms of shed temperature in summer. However, this orientation meant that the matt grey roof slates received full sun and could get very hot. This heat was radiated into the windows opposite and it was common practice to whitewash the exterior of the window glass early in June to cut down on transmission of this heat into the shed. This was always a CHSC responsibility as they were seen to be responsible for shed temperatures and ventilation. Interestingly, apart from calls for better ventilation, especially in tape rooms, high shed temperatures in summer very rarely caused complaint. One gets the impression that the manufacturers realised that this was an Act of God and that the company couldn't do a lot about it.
This was definitely not the case with heating in the winter. Before we look at the minute book entries we should understand the special circumstances that applied to heating cotton weaving sheds. As a general rule, cotton processing is most efficient at the temperature and humidity in which it was grown. It was a very experienced cotton spinner who told me this and he reckoned that a good average was seventy degrees Fahrenheit and more than seventy percent humidity, this held true for weaving as well. The big problem in the sheds was that any direct form of heating like fan-assisted thermoliers tended to dry the warps and cause them to weave badly. Low level heating pipes were an unacceptable obstruction and the universal solution until the end of the weaving industry was a network of two inch steam pipes suspended just below the ceiling and supplied with steam at boiler pressure. Under this system some heat was radiated downwards but most of it rose by convection to roof level, the coldest part of the shed. The consequence was that it was a very inefficient system. I have spent more hours than I care to remember during winter steaming a shed from midnight onwards and watching the shed temperature actually fall for the first couple of hours as the hot air rising forced the cold air under the ceiling down to floor level. The Factories Acts varied over the years, as far as I am aware there was no requirement for a minimum temperature before the Factory Act of 1901. Regulation 5 decreed that the minimum temperature should be 50F but allowed half an hour after starting for this temperature to be reached. In 1918 the regulation was changed to not less than 50F at starting time (6am) and at least 55F by 6:30am. The temperature should not fall below 55F at any time during the day. The regulations were voluntary until 1929 when they became compulsory and were still at that level when I was running Bancroft Shed in the 1970s. Despite all these regulations over the years the weavers still complained and the engineer strove for economy.
Heating was a very heavy load on the boiler. To give a rough idea, the consumption of coal at Bancroft Shed when I was engineer was thirteen tons a week in summer and up to thirty five in winter, the difference being entirely due to increased heat losses. The consequence was that unless a mill was very well equipped with steam raising capacity, steam for the heating system had to be cut back or stopped completely once the engine was started and the process steam demand for the tapes came on line. In the case of CHSC, because of the constant expansion of the sheds, steam raising capacity always lagged behind demand. I don't think there is a single year in which there were not repeated complaints from the manufacturers in all three mills as soon as the weather became colder. I've noticed that it was only in exceptional cases that the factory inspector intervened, I have an idea that they recognised the faults inherent in the system and that pressure from them could not make any difference. The problem retreated to some degree later in the CHSC history because they had to install additional higher pressure boilers to meet the power requirements imposed by adding extensions to the sheds. When this happened the usual method adopted was to dedicate the new high pressure boiler to the engine and use the lower rated old boiler for process and heating steam. Later on the load on the engines decreased as loom numbers fell and the high pressure boilers could cope with both loads.
You will notice that in this overview of the relationship between the tenants and CHSC I haven't addressed the question of rent in detail. There is a lot of detailed information and it needs a dedicated chapter. However, I may have done enough to fill in some of the gaps, describe some of the everyday problems and give a clearer context in which the rental structure can be understood. Before we look at that in detail, we need to examine another aspect of the management of the mills. The directors' understanding of technology.

One of the fundamental requisites for success in designing and running a steam-driven mill is to manage the technology of the plant in the most efficient and economical manner. Reduced to the barest essential, the business of a shed company was to produce rotative power for their tenants by burning coal. The CHSC directors had to be either renaissance men or have access to the best advice. We have seen that the promoters came from non-engineering backgrounds and it is a safe assumption that they must have had good advice in the early days of the company. One wouldn't expect a baker, jeweller or furniture dealer to be an expert in company formation, the same holds true for technology. Small things like the misspelling of common technical terms by the minute-taker betray occasions when he was out of his depth. In modern terms we would say that they were on a very steep learning curve and the question I want to address is how they managed this situation, what were their sources of advice and how good were they.
The first technical decision they had to make was what type of textile mill they wanted to run. Was it to be the old model of a combined mill or did they want to specialise. They had enough examples both in Barlick and further afield to be quite certain that specialised weaving was the future. The next hurdle was the level of technology in the design of the building and the type of motive power. Here they were well advised first by their architect Mr Atkinson of Colne and also by the experience of the men who I think were their main advisers, George Robinson of the Craven Bank and George Proctor who had extensive experience from his role as secretary to other shed companies. I don't think I have to defend this statement in respect of George Proctor because of his intimate involvement with similar firms but you may wish to question my faith in George Robinson as an arbiter on technical matters, he was a bank manager, not an engineer.
We have good evidence to justify this assertion. On March 12th 1890, 'It was proposed by Proctor Barrett and seconded by Edward Smith that the Calf Hall Shed Company Ltd purchase the Wellhouse Mill for the sum of £8000 on the terms offered by Mr George Robinson'. After only a year of trading, expansion was to be effected by buying Bracewell's old mill which had stood empty for over three years. [Note that the bank sold Butts in the same year.] The question that arises is why were Butts and Wellhouse empty and unsold in a climate of buoyant demand for weaving space? George Robinson clearly knew the answer and also the solution. As Bracewell and Sons' banker he had watched the decline of their interests and knew that the days of the combined mill were over. Further, he evidently knew that one of the contributory factors was the old-fashioned power plant. The boilers were all Cornish single flue and the engines were unmodified Yates beam engines over fifty years old. The sale price of Wellhouse Mill quoted in the minutes is £8,000 but it soon becomes apparent that there were conditions imposed. Before the mill was transferred to the company the old engines were to be scrapped by the bank and CHSC had to agree to install a modern horizontal engine. The new engine demanded higher steam pressure and it was implicit in the deal that new boilers also would be required. It was quite obvious that these had to be the later, twin-flued Lancashire boilers. George Robinson was forcing CHSC to modernise.
Again, on January 23rd 1903, 'That we purchase from the Butts Mill Company Ltd the Butts Mill and Ouzledale Mill for £19,000. This consideration to include all loose effects with the exception of new stores and coal'. In the case of Butts, George Robinson had done exactly the same thing in 1889 before the sale of the mill in 1890 to the new Butts Mill Company for £8,000. He scrapped all the engines forcing the purchasers to buy and install a second-hand Musgrave horizontal engine and modern boilers. Hence the £11,000 rise in the value of the property.
It isn't hard to understand the bank's motives in pursuing this policy. There was a possibility that were going to have to accept a charge on the properties as security for loans to the buyers. It was in the bank's interest to make sure that if they became liquidator they had modern well-equipped mills to sell, they had been trying to sell the unmodified mills for three years in what should have been a seller's market. This is why I assert that George Robinson, even though he was not an engineer, was well qualified in 1888 to advise the CHSC on basic technology.
This disposes of the question of the initial advice to CHSC on formation. The next thing to address is what, if any, resources were available for further technical advice and services. I need to step back here and look at the role played in Barlick by the Bracewell hegemony. The management of the mills wasn't the only sphere in which it had been a dead hand on progress.
In the early domestic textile industry the crude looms and spinning wheels could be made and serviced by local carpenters and blacksmiths. Even a big concern like the corn mill could be maintained using these local resources. The development of the waterframe by Arkwright introduced the need for iron foundries to make small castings and clockmakers to cut the gears. In accounts of early engineering, the term 'wheel-maker' almost always refers to people who could manufacture gears. The advent of the water-powered factory system demanded another skill, the millwrights capable of heavy manufacture and fitting who made the water wheels and transmission systems. In Baines directories for 1822 and 1823 John Bracewell of Bancrofts is reported as 'millwright of Barnoldswick', I think this the John Bracewell born 1782 who, in White's directory for 1837 is reported as a cotton spinner at the water twist mill at Gillians. This is the only reference to the early engineers in Barlick I have found. After 1800 when steam engines became available the boiler-making industry was born and engineers were needed to build and maintain a new generation of prime movers. In the early days plant maintenance was done by the engine and boiler makers, they were the only people with the skills and the necessary machining capacity.
We have no evidence for who serviced the first engines in Barnoldswick at Clough, County Brook and old Coates Mill, all installed before 1830, we aren't even sure who the engine makers were or where they were based. The lack of specific evidence suggests that the early service industry in Barlick consisted only of carpenters, blacksmiths and tinsmiths leaving heavy maintenance to the engine and boiler makers. All this began to change after William Bracewell erected the first purpose-built steam powered mills at Butts and Wellhouse in 1846 and 1853.
We know that in his early career after he left home in Earby, William Bracewell moved to Burnley and went into partnership with his brother-in-law Samuel Smallpage who had married his sister Mary. He was primarily interested in cotton manufacturing but built up local contacts and in about 1860 he went into partnership with a man called Griffiths and bought the Marsland Ironworks, Burnley, built in 1817. Griffiths dropped out of the partnership shortly afterwards. On William’s death in 1885 this asset was sold for £20,000 and became The Burnley Ironworks, we shall meet them frequently in the CHSC minutes.
When William first saw an opportunity, shifted his attention to Barlick and built his mills in 1846 and 1853 he equipped them with Yates beam engines built in Blackburn and presumably used the same firm for his maintenance and service requirements. These early engines had faults and it may have been the expense of using the engine makers for maintenance that prompted his move into engineering in Burnley in 1860. Marsland's might even have been doing engine repairs for him, they were closer than Blackburn. He still had the technical problems but at least he wasn't allowing someone else to profit from his misfortunes. Marsland's were engine makers when he bought the firm and after 1860 the firm built some very large engines so he had his heavy engineering resource. Incidentally, his access to engineering expertise may have been what prompted him to re-boiler Butts Mill in March 1862 during the slack trade caused by the Cotton Famine. [Evidence of Richard Ryley's diary March 22nd 1862.]
In addition he established a mechanic's shop at Wellhouse Mill and found a good engineer, Peter Bilsborough. Bilsborough had an assistant called Shepherd and these two men were his local resource, only calling in the Burnley men when the job was beyond their capacity. This must have been a satisfactory arrangement because it remained in place until the collapse of Bracewells in 1886/87. At that point Peter Bilsborough stepped sideways and became a coal merchant based in the station yard at Barlick, he was to become a major supplier of fuel to the CHSC for many years. There is some anecdotal evidence that Shepherd attempted to carry on as an engineer based at Wellhouse but never made a success of it. The result of the typical Bracewell strategy of owning and controlling his technical resources was that there was no incentive for independent local engineers to get a foothold. The nearest we had got to this by the end of the 19th century was a small firm of general engineers and smiths serving the Earby branch of the Bracewell family, Henry Brown and Sons in Albion Street in Earby but they were not capable of tackling the heaviest repairs.
In terms of engine maintenance resources and technical expertise, in 1889 CHSC had the same problem as Bracewell in 1846 and had to use the same resource, go back to the engine makers. The 1889 Calf Hall engine was built by William Roberts of Phoenix Foundry at Nelson and the new Wellhouse engine by Burnley Ironworks, Bracewell's old firm. From the minutes it becomes obvious that Burnley Ironworks became the favoured firm for maintenance because on September 22nd 1897 we find, 'That the Burnley Ironworks Co be requested to send Mr W Clegg to indicate and overhaul the [Roberts] engine at Calf Hall Shed and that Messrs Roberts, Brooks, Edmondson and Wilkinson form a deputation to meet him'. From this point onwards, until a better solution was found, CHSC used BI for most of their heavy engine repairs. They also used two Skipton firms, Varley's and Ellison's for some heavy castings and millwright's work.
On May 10th 1899 we find, 'That new brackets be made for the air pump [part of the condenser on the engine] at Wellhouse by the new mechanic'. This 'new mechanic' is a man called Sutcliffe who rented the Mechanic's Shop at Wellhouse, the directors have addressed the gap in their service facilities and encouraged this new starter on their premises. This was the same strategy adopted by William Bracewell for small engineering jobs but using his own men. On March 14th 1900 we find, 'That the Mechanic’s Shop be offered to Henry Brown of Earby at the same rent as the present tenant, £25 per annum'. Sutcliffe had failed but Henry Brown’s uncle, John Duxbury of Crook Carr Farm in Barlick, was a shareholder in the CHSC, he has had a quiet word with Henry and tipped him off that the Mechanic’s Shop at Wellhouse Mill was coming vacant. Henry took the tenancy and in 1908 engaged a local man called John Albert Pickles as foreman at Wellhouse, he had worked as a skilled machinist at BI after serving his apprenticeship in Brown's shop at Earby. Johnny Pickles was a master engineer and becomes very important to CHSC. I have no direct evidence but I know that Henry Brown Senior was well-regarded in the profession, it was on his recommendation that BI took Johnny on as a machinist. Henry Brown knew where to go for a good man in 1908 and I think Teddy Wood at Proctor and Proctor was also involved in the same circles and knew of Johnny before his move to Henry Brown and Sons. I can't say who instigated the appointment but I don't doubt it was seen by CHSC as a good development.
On October 16th 1929 we find, 'It was reported that H Brown and Sons had filed their petition in bankruptcy. The rent owed by them had been cleared by contra account'. By this time Henry Brown and Sons had developed into a firm capable of dealing with the heaviest breakdowns and had built a new foundry at Havre Park to replace the Ouzledale tenancy. By encouraging them and Johnny Pickles who was the driving force that lifted Brown's game the directors had nurtured an efficient local engineering asset. The immediate result of Brown's failure was that the CHSC had lost this valuable resource.
At this point in the CHSC story Teddy Wood, George Proctor's partner, takes a lead role. As well as being a competent secretary, director and eventually chairman of CHSC he also had a keen interest in technology. He and Johnny Pickles were friends, respected each other and between them they were an excellent technical resource for the company. I suspect that Teddy first met Johnny when he was working at Burnley Ironworks. Brown's 'failure' was not really a failure as they paid out 19/6 in the pound after liquidation, more a crisis of confidence caused by the Marsden Building Society withdrawing credit in hard financial times. However, at one stroke CHSC had lost their local engineer and his essential foundry. What followed is an excellent example of enlightened management.
Teddy Wood went to see Johnny at his home in Federation Street and on November 20th 1929 we find, 'That the plant recently in the ownership of H Brown and Sons (In bankruptcy) be purchased from R S Windle, the trustee, for £425 and that it be loaned on hire purchase to a company to be formed, at 6% instalments to be paid monthly over a period of five years'. From the evidence of Newton Pickles, Johnny's son, what actually happened was that Teddy told Johnny to go down to the mechanic's shop and put a chalk mark on the machines he wished to retain. When Teddy saw that Johnny had marked almost everything he recommended that the directors buy the lot. This 'company to be formed' was J A Pickles and Son, it rented the Mechanic's Shop at the same rent paid by Browns and went on to become one of the most respected engineering firms in the district, outliving the CHSC. Before this overture from Teddy Wood, Johnny Pickles had raised a £500 loan from his aunt in Kelbrook, called in favours from his friends and was going to start up independently. The CHSC initiative was obviously the better bet so he took it.
There remained the problem of the foundry, an essential resource in the technology of the time. Henry Brown had rented Ouzledale Foundry from CHSC and ran it in partnership with a man called Watts who was the ironfounder. After WW1 Watts left the partnership and Henry engaged a young man from Keighley called James Cecil Ashby as foreman founder. In 1920 Brown's had bought land at Havre Park,erected a new foundry and moved their casting operation down there. In 1929 when Henry Brown and Sons failed at Havre Park James Cecil was out of a job. Teddy Wood went to see him and encouraged him to restart Ouzledale Foundry on his own account. I once asked Harold Duxbury why there was no evidence of this action in the CHSC accounts at the time and he said that CHSC had allowed James to take over the foundry rent free and rather than complicate the accounts they simply ignored the matter until the enterprise became profitable enough to pay rent. The company had taken a pragmatic decision and nurtured another essential resource, this was not charity it was good business. The success of the strategy can best be assessed by looking in any modern trade directory, you will find that the Ouzledale Foundry is still a major company in Barlick albeit on a larger site at Long Ing. The fact that we still have this asset in the town is a direct consequence of the CHSC's management strategies in 1929.
I think it's worth noting that there is no hint in the minutes of any discussions about these two initiatives but there can be little doubt that they happened, were agreed quickly and any necessary resolutions recorded. This informal process was an important part of the management of the company, we know the facts behind this incident from other sources. Newton told me that Teddy Wood told his father that 'he couldn't be doing with him not being able to work on all these mills” Teddy had other Proctor and Proctor interests in mind as well as CHSC. We are safe in assuming that similar discussions, informal intelligence and assurances lie behind much of the evidence we see recorded in the minutes.
Mechanical engineering wasn't the only area of technology where the company needed expertise. On April 27th 1892 we find. 'That the secretary write to Burnley Ironworks reporting an article on putting composition in boiler'. It would appear that the directors were aware of an advance in the science of boiler feed water treatment and were seeking advice from a reliable source. This is the tip of an extremely large iceberg and we need to make sure we know what is involved.
Boiling water in an enclosed vessel to make high pressure steam is dangerous and demands expert management and supervision. In the early days of steam boilers they exploded with distressing frequency. As was often the case at that time, Manchester, being the centre of the region where most boilers were operating, was a pioneer in addressing the problem. In 1854 a man called Williamson owned Bridgefield Mill in Rochdale and in September of that year the boiler exploded killing 10 workers, one of whom was the engineer, William Taylor. At the subsequent inquest, William Fairbairn, the Manchester engineer who first proposed the twin flued Lancashire boiler, was called as an expert witness and in the course of his investigations found that the cause of the disaster was that Taylor, knowing the engine was always short of steam, had placed weights on the safety valve to raise the pressure. Normally, the boiler never reached this limit as the engine kept the pressure down but on the morning in question it had stopped unexpectedly. While the plant was idle, pressure rose, the safety valve didn't operate and the boiler burst. It was the Bridgefield Mill explosion that finally convinced Fairbairn that boilers had to be better supervised in the interests of profit and safety. On the 19 September 1854 the Mayor of Manchester called a meeting in his Parlour at Manchester Town Hall with some of the of the most eminent engineers and manufacturers in Manchester and they formed the Manchester Steam Users Association which in turn heralded the birth of the great engineering insurance companies which are still supervising boilers to this day.
Thanks to this initiative, by the time CHSC entered the field they had a reliable source of insurance, inspection and advice on the technical aspects of boiler operation. Once a year there had to be a statutory inspection and the insurance companies encouraged their surveyors to make unannounced occasional visits. Just like your domestic kettle, a boiler builds up scale on the internal surfaces and the amount depends on the the cleanliness and chemical composition of the water pumped into the boiler to keep the water level up as steam is produced. The inspectors would report and criticise on any dangerous build up of scale in the boilers but didn't officially advise on chemical treatments as this would be a tacit acceptance of responsibility.
All the CHSC boilers were fed with surface water from condenser ponds containing insoluble matter which was precipitated as sediment and soluble elements which dissolved in the water and were deposited as scale particularly on surfaces directly heated by hot furnace gases. The first reference we find to this matter is on February 24th 1891, 'That Mr William Perry supply a cask of soda for Calf Hall Shed boiler'. This is before the enquiry was made of BI that we noted above. All I can say is that while we must give the directors credit for recognising the problem we can give no marks for their solution, adding soda is a very crude strategy and virtually useless. On September 15th 1897 we find, 'The secretary read the report of the Scottish Boiler insurance Co on the state of the company’s boilers. The report stated that on all the boilers large accumulations of scale had been made through neglect and also that several parts of the boilers were corroded and required attention'. I will not bore you with a full range of reports in the minutes but I can assure you that on occasions scale over ¾” thick was reported. This is a dangerous level because it can insulate the furnace tubes from the cooling effect of the water allowing them to become red hot, lose integrity and fail catastrophically. It also reduces the efficiency of the boiler and increases coal consumption. Various suppliers are tried and on September 6th 1916 we find, 'That the next barrel of boiler composition for Butts Mill be ordered from Charles Southwell, 57 Dale Street, Manchester'. The reason this entry caught my eye was that this firm supplied me with boiler composition at Bancroft Shed sixty years later. The longevity of the firm was due to its expertise, they recognised very early that the key to successful water treatment was to analyse the water and tailor the treatment to suit the individual boiler and water supply. Unfortunately this initiative was never followed up and right through the minutes we see occasional changes in supplier, it wasn't until after WW2 that the search for the perfect boiler composition appears to have been concluded.
A similar general problem can be found in the selection and sourcing of cylinder oil for the engines. The oil used to lubricate steam engine cylinders is specialised because it has to retain its lubricating qualities at high pressure and temperatures as well as withstanding the emulsifying effect of water which is always present with saturated steam. This becomes even more important if the steam is superheated to improve engine efficiency and gain more power. The strategy of superheated steam was adopted at both Butts [Oct. 27th 1915] and Wellhouse [Nov. 9th 1927] but there is no indication that a different oil was used. Newton Pickles, Johnny's son, told me that this was very common and they had to rebore many high pressure cylinders that had worn because of inadequate lubrication under superheated steam.
I often wonder how influential the mill engineers of the town were and whether the frequent changes in oil and boiler composition suppliers in the early days can be explained by conversations in the Commercial Inn on Church Street where that elite of the working class aristocracy, the engineers, gathered for a pint. These informal groups of senior workers were common and influential, I have evidence of the same being true of overlookers and winding masters in the mill forming similar loose associations. When I took over the engine at Bancroft shed I found that a high temperature oil used in foundries called 'core oil' was being used for cylinder lubrication. When I asked the old engineer why he used it he told me that his engineer mates in Colne had recommended it as being efficient and cheap. It may have been cheap but it was totally unsuitable for cylinder lubrication. The interesting thing is that before I made any change after taking over the engine I consulted with the engineer on a large colliery winding engine and he told me that Walker's Century Oils from Stoke on Trent supplied all the National Coal Board winding engines so I persuaded the management to change over to the more expensive but correct oil. They in turn were impressed by the fact that an organisation as big as the NCB used it. Incidentally, it was the same engineer that recommended Southwell's of Manchester for the boiler composition. In both cases I was fully satisfied, my directors realised the benefits and we used the same suppliers until the mill closed in 1978. All this was due to my informal network. We should take note of one other possible influence. I have reliable evidence that the engineer at Victoria Mill in Earby rose from his bed of sickness to collect his Christmas Boxes from suppliers. Never discount the effect of a backhander to the engineer who controlled the orders!
In the matter of lubrication the CHSC was not best served by the engine makers because it was in their long term interest to have regular re-boring jobs or even replacement of cylinders. I have often noted that engines in their original condition usually have totally inadequate lubrication of the low pressure cylinders and I suspect that this may have been a semi-deliberate policy.
From 1900 onwards the directors had the resource of Henry Brown's engineering experience and used it. However Henry was never an engine man and it wasn't until Johnny Pickles established his reputation after 1908 that we detect improvements which, whilst it was never noted in the minutes, stemmed from conversations between Teddy Wood and Johnny. They were personal friends and Teddy used Johnny's expertise for the other mills that Proctor and Proctor acted for. On September 25th 1918 we find, 'He [Teddy Wood] also gave particulars of the proposed alterations to heating at Butts Mill and Calf Hall Shed which will probably cost in the region of £350 to £500'. This is almost certainly the installation of a condensate return system to collect the pure, pretreated and hot resource of condensed water from the heating mains which had previously been allowed to run to waste and return it to the boiler. Johnny Pickles was a firm advocate of this efficient strategy and I have evidence from his son Newton that in later years he sold many such installations to mill owners by offering to do the work free in return for half the savings in coal for a specified number of years, it always worked! By 1910, twenty years after the formation of CHSC the directors had the beginnings of an adequate technical support system in place.
Hindsight is perfect vision, we shouldn't be too hard on the directors for any technical failings. In most cases they were not only dealing with their own lack of knowledge but with rapidly advancing technology. This applied to their engineers as well. Ideally the engine tenter should always have been an able man abreast of the latest developments but we have many examples in the minutes of their inadequacy in the early years. Simple tasks like indicating the engine, taking up wear in bearings and valve-setting were delegated to the engine makers at great expense when they should have been done by the engineer.
This may be the place to flag up a circumstance which was not peculiar to the CHSC, it was a national problem. The surprising reality is that even today there is no formal qualification for operating land-based boilers and engines. At sea the qualifications are very strict and a Marine Engineer’s Certificate is a very valuable qualification, in the days of steam ship-propulsion the boiler insurance companies actively recruited marine engineers for this reason. In 1897 there was a Bill in Parliament [60 Vict. Steam engines and Boilers. (Persons in charge)] to apply marine regulations to land based plant (excepting agricultural and those in the Queen's service) but it was withdrawn on July 12th because the session had run out of time due to a state visit so we inherited a situation where two men are working in the boiler house and engine house producing vast quantities of power to run the mill with no formal qualification. This applied to all mills, the only qualification was ability and experience. Add to this the fact that the 'engine tenter' was seen to have the best job in the mill and this explains why so many of these jobs passed from father to son. Firebeaters and engineers were quite literally born into the job and this was not necessarily the best training. We have evidence from the minutes to support this assertion.
On May 23rd 1923 we find, 'It was reported that the engine man at Butts Mill, Albert Hogarth, was intending to send in his resignation on Friday May 25th to terminate his connection with the company by one week's notice, to finish on June 1st. Res. That his resignation be accepted and that Charles Watson be appointed engine man in his place at the same wage. George Henry Watson, his father [engineer at Wellhouse Mill], attended the meeting and undertook to be responsible for his son's behaviour'. [This is the culmination of a long laid plan, George Henry has been bringing Charles on as a firebeater and oiler and training him to look after the engine.] On August 1st 1923 we find, 'It was reported during the meeting that Butts Mill engine was stopped for breakdown. That the Wellhouse engineer, George Henry Watson, be asked to take charge at Butts and that his son be transferred from Butts to take charge at Wellhouse'.
I know from Newton Pickles that what had happened was that Charlie Watson had been careless and got a slug of water in the engine which cracked the LP piston. This cylinder was 56” in diameter and the piston was a big lump weighing two tons so Charlie was fortunate it didn't smash the cylinder as well, a very serious mistake. Henry Brown and Sons were given the job of making a new piston and installing it. It was the biggest casting they had poured at Havre Park up to then [By 1923 Browns had moved their foundry from Ouzledale to the new premises.] and Newton remembers his mother taking him to the foundry at 2am to see it. The glow in the sky was mistaken for a fire and the fire brigade turned out. Dennis Pickles, no relation, machined the piston and it was installed successfully. This was a major step forward for Henry Brown and Sons, they had proved that they had the skill and resources to rectify a major breakdown, machining a 56” diameter piston would be seen to be a big job even today.
A year later on September 17th 1924 we find, 'It was reported that a new set of brass steps [bearings] had been ordered by the engineer at Wellhouse Mill for the crank [flywheel] shaft without consulting the managing director and that he had been running hot, using water on the bearings for a week previously'. [This is young Charlie in trouble again, these are big lumps of brass.] On November 26th 1924, 'It was reported that the engine man at Wellhouse Mill was not giving satisfaction and that at a meeting of tenants the secretary had been informed that the engine had not been running at proper speed for some time. During the meeting it was reported that Wellhouse Mill was stopped due to want of steam. Res. That the engine man be discharged forthwith and that the managing directors be authorised to engage a new man at a wage of £4-5-0 per week. That in the meantime Henry Brown and Sons be requested to take charge of the running of Wellhouse Mill engine. Mr Pickles attended the meeting and undertook the management'. [Notice that Johnny was there immediately. Was it him that brought the news?]
This is a sad story of ambition thwarted and hopes dashed. One wonders what passed between George Henry and his son, the old man would take this personally. Shortly after this series of events Teddy Wood presented the directors with a list of jobs needed on the Wellhouse engine and Henry Brown and Sons were given the work. I have little doubt that while he was running the engine Johnny made a little list and got together with Teddy, in that respect the system was working. Note that as well as having Henry Brown and Sons as providers of heavy engineering services, they had a resource if they needed an engine tenter at short notice. Newton Pickles spent a large part of his working life running engines when the regular engineer was sick or disabled and did the same for me in the 1970s at Bancroft Shed.
To complete the story of Wellhouse engine, on December 24th 1924, 'That the appointment by the managing director of Mr William Watson [No relation] of 57 Halifax Road Rochdale as engine man at Wellhouse Mill at £4-5-0 per week be confirmed'.
Billy Watson was to prove a brilliant appointment and was engineer at Wellhouse until 1940 when he left to go back to a large Rochdale engine and Tom Marshall took over. Newton Pickles learned his engine tenting from Billy, he was eight years old in 1924 and he called in at the engine house every morning on his way to school, Billy soon had him running the engine and starting it after breakfast time. If he was valve-setting in an evening Newton was with him, Wellhouse was in good hands.
This may be the place for a story which sheds light on the informal nature of the structure of the engineering service industry at the time. One Monday morning in 1930, shortly after Johnny had set up on his own at Wellhouse Mechanic's shop he grabbed Newton one morning and said “Come with me, they're stopped at Clough”. Newton was 14 years old and this was part of his on the job training. When they arrived at Clough engine house two of Johnny's experienced men were trying to start the engine after working on the valve gear over the weekend. Every time they applied steam to the engine it rolled over half a turn and bounced back. After several more adjustments and ineffectual starts a small voice piped up from the back row, “It never will start will it. The valves aren't set properly!”
This was the 14 year old Newton and of course his interjection sparked a furious row, how dare this kid walk in and tell them they didn't know their job! Harry Crabtree, the more experienced of the two fitters said “Hang on a minute, let's hear what Newton has to say. We aren't getting anywhere”. Newton took Harry down to the low pressure eccentric and showed him what he had spotted while watching them trying to start, the eccentric had been slackened as part of the repairs and re-tightened 180 degrees out of position because the fitters hadn't noticed that a rocking lever in the drive train to the valves reversed the rod movement. The eccentric was put back to the original position, the steam valve opened and off she went, “Ticky Tock” as Newton put it. At this point Johnny shoved his bowler hat to the back of his head and said “Right, that's it. I won't be coming out to breakdowns any more, you'd best send for Newton!” The surprising thing is that this is exactly what happened. Newton was sent to do the initial diagnosis whenever there was trouble with an engine and the only problem he had in the early days before his expertise became generally known was getting grizzled old engineers to realise that sending a fourteen year old lad to advise on engine running wasn't a joke! Nothing I know demonstrates the reliance on experience and expertise rather than formal qualification better than this story.
There is one other technical matter I want to draw attention to as an example of where hindsight can be so dangerous. In this case I know exactly what should have been done but it may not have been quite so obvious at the time. Do you remember me saying that the Butts Mill Company installed a second-hand Musgrave engine from Bolton when they bought the mill from the bank? This engine was universally disliked by everyone I have talked to about it. It was too big, ran too slow and had gearing problems from when it was installed in 1890 until 1934 when CHSC eventually stopped the mill because of bad trade in the weaving industry.
One of the things CHSC found when they bought Butts in 1903 was that the transmission shafting in the mill gave constant trouble. I suspect the basic cause was vibration in the shafting emanating from the gear drive on the engine. Both Calf Hall and Wellhouse engines were installed using the modern method of cotton rope driving from the engine to the second motion pulley on the lineshaft into the mill, Geoff Shackleton thinks that Calf Hall was the first Roberts engine built using this method. Cotton rope gearing never gave any problems with vibration as the ropes were a cushioned drive. The Musgrave engine at Butts had been designed using the earlier principle of a large jack gear mounted in the side of the flywheel meshing with a lesser diameter gear on the lineshaft. Properly made and with accurately made gears this is a perfectly acceptable and trouble-free way of transmitting power. The similar size Roberts engine at Pendle Street mill in Nelson was built in 1892 with machine cut double helical [herring bone pattern] gears and never gave any problem. However, the Musgrave had old fashioned cast iron gearing and the teeth were as cast. Gears made like this can be very good if properly made and installed but unfortunately, as it turned out, there was almost nothing right about the Musgrave gearing at Butts. The Yates engine at Long Ing used the same drive and had similar problems.
Let's have a look at the evidence from the minute books: July 15th 1903, 'That Messrs Ellison and Co be requested to overhaul the shafting and report on the piston at Butts Mill and get a tender for the work'. [I think Ellison's of Skipton had been given this task because they were associated with maintenance of the Musgrave engine for the Butts Mill Co and understand the problem from experience. For instance, they may have stripped the piston out at some time for inspection, there is no point repeating such a major task if it can be avoided.]
On April 13th 1904, 'That Messrs Slater, Brooks and Dent form a committee to examine the driving wheel and spur wheel of the engine at Butts Mill as to their condition'. April 20th 1904, 'That Messrs Ellison of Skipton be requested to chip the cogs in the flywheel [jack wheel actually] of the Butts Mill engine'.
Being made of cast iron, it was possible to chisel off any high spots on the teeth of the gear in an attempt to quieten it by improving the mesh. This is a very complicated subject, I don't intend to go deep into the technicalities but will quote Newton Pickles on this subject: “You can't chip to pitch”. This means that if there is a fundamental mistake in the original casting of the gear segments resulting in a discrepancy in the Pitch Circle Diameter of the gearing it can't be rectified by chipping, only alleviated, the problem will re-occur. This was the problem with the gears on the Musgrave engine.
On May 8th 1906 , 'That Burnley Ironworks be requested to send a man to chip the main flywheel teeth [the jack wheel] and adjust the main pedestal. April 29th 1908 , 'It was reported that the flywheel needed chipping and it was resolved that Ellison's of Skipton be instructed to put the work in hand. August 16th 1911, 'That Burnley Ironworks be requested to examine the wedges in the flywheel at Butts Mill when next in town'.
These are wedged cotters which secure the joints between the castings which make up the flywheel. It was quite common for them to loosen over time especially if the wheel is subject to vibration, I think we can assume that this is the case with the Musgrave engine because of the faults in the gearing.
December 17th 1913, 'The Burnley Ironworks Co reported on the Butts Mill flywheel as follows: “On December 13th we made an examination of the fly spur wheel and pinion at the above mill and beg to submit the result of same. The teeth, as far as can be seen, are sound but badly worn, the original shape on the driving side being destroyed completely. These require chipping to shape. This is very urgent if you require the wheel to run for long as owing to the jarring action on the teeth all the joints throughout the wheel are moving and wearing. The condition of the arms and segments are as follows: The letters given are those marked on the wheel. Segments G and J are broken. Areas of C, D, E, I, J and L are sprung open at the boss end showing that the cotters are not doing their work properly or the arm ends are broken. This cannot be seen without stripping the wheel. The flywheel keys [stakes] are slack and require taking out, cleaning and re-fixing. The pinion [second motion] appears to be in order with the exception of the teeth which are the same as the fly spur and require chipping. The governor requires overhauling and re-pinning as the majority of the pins are worn. We would advise you to have these faults attended to without delay as the wheel is rapidly becoming worse. Res. That Burnley Ironworks be instructed to do what they deem to be necessary to put the wheel and governor in order'. The directors probably took other advice after this terrible report and on January 7th 1914 we find , 'That Messrs Wilson and Barrett visit Burnley Ironworks with regard to the Butts engine'.
They have a serious problem here. The gearing on the Musgrave was never right and things are coming to a head. There is no direct evidence from the minutes as to how much work BI did on the wheel and in itself this seems to indicate that they did no more than replace some broken gear segments and re-fit the flywheel stakes. They must have done a decent job because the gear and flywheel aren't mentioned again until March 10th 1926, 'That H Brown and Sons be instructed to examine the fly wheel at Butts Mill'. Whatever Browns found was evidently rectified and there is no further mention of the gear in the minutes. However, from what Newton Pickles told me his father kept a close eye on it and no doubt acted immediately he saw a problem developing, the engine ran without further report until finishing in 1934.
I don't want to give the impression that I think the CHSC directors were remiss. They were on a steep learning curve and in this respect they were no worse, and perhaps a lot better, than others in their position. This was certainly the case compared to Long Ing. One of the main shareholders there was George Rushworth from Colne, an engineer and scrap merchant. I have an idea that George saw two routes to profit from his investment, one as a shareholder and the other as their tied engineer. Unfortunately he wasn't as good an engineer as he thought and there is a lot of evidence of breakdowns through bad work. Long Ing wasn't a reliable mill until the late 1930s when Stephen Pickles bought the remaining shares from Rushworth's and got what was by then Henry Brown Sons and Pickles in to sort the plant out. This cured the problems. It's interesting to speculate on whether having an engineer like George Rushworth on the board was an advantage or a liability. Perhaps the lack of engineering expertise on the CHSC board gave greater freedom to find the best solution to a problem.
With hindsight, the most economic action at Butts would have been to bite the bullet in 1903 and replace the defective gears with modern machine cut replacements. I suspect that by the 1930s the directors would have agreed but this is no basis for criticism. In 1903 they were focussing on other aspects of their new mill at Butts. On June 24th 1903 we find, 'The secretary read the correspondence with ref to the Craven Manufacturing Co's tenancy at Butts Mill and gave particulars of the coal consumption at Calf Hall Shed, Wellhouse Mill and Butts Mill. In the case of Butts Mill, for the four months ending May 31st the cost was 15/2 per loom per annum with Monk Bretton coal at 11/6 per ton with 6d for carriage. In the case of running Wellhouse Mill and Calf Hall Shed together the cost was 13/1 per loom per annum with Altham coal at an average price of 11/1 per ton delivered in the boiler houses'. This discrepancy of 2/- per loom per year between Butts and the other mills was a serious matter.
On November 6th 1912, nine years later, 'It was reported that the consumption of Altham coal which was now 14/2 per ton was as follows:
Mill Looms Looms/ton HP Looms per hp
Calf Hall 51½ tons 1659 32.2 738 2 ¼
Butts, 53 tons 1930 36.4 700 2 ¾
Wellhouse 70 tons 2330 33.3 970 2 ½
Interesting figures. Despite being universally disliked the Musgrave at Butts is the most efficient engine. I think the crucial lesson from these figures, all other things being equal, is that the Butts transmission system is the most efficient. It's taken nine years but the measures adopted at Butts have resulted in an impressive improvement. This was good technical management because despite its inherent problems the engine is as economical as the other mills.
It was no random walk that led CHSC to having George Robinson, George Proctor, Teddy Wood and Johnny Pickles looking after them. We have to conclude that despite any shortcomings, they at least knew how to pick good men.


Bearing in mind that we have already established that any evidence we find in the CHSC minutes on rents and tenancy agreements is almost certainly representative of other shed companies in North East Lancashire, one of the exciting aspects of the evidence to me is that it gives us concrete information about the cost, terms and conditions of the tenancies. Having said this, I must immediately sound a warning note about the levels of rent charged. As we trace the CHSC policies through the course of the minutes we shall come across comparative examples of rents in Colne, Nelson and Burnley which demonstrate that there was a price differential between Barlick and these towns, the Barlick rents were higher.
Anyone who is familiar with the wages structure agreed between the unions and manufacturers in the North East Lancashire textile industry will have come across 'The Uniform List of Prices to be paid to Weavers in the Cotton Manufacturing Industry', often referred to as the 'Blackburn List'. My copy is the famous 1937 edition which contains the adjusted prices after the More Looms agreements subsequent to 1932. On page 52 there is a sub-heading numbered 41 with the title 'Local Disadvantage Allowances'. These were deductions from the Standard List wages allowed to manufacturers for 'local disadvantage' as prescribed by the industrial courts. These varied over the years but in effect they were recognition that manufacturers in towns which were outliers from the main industry were under a local disadvantage because of higher costs and could therefore make a reduction in wages to maintain profitability. We need go no further into the Uniform List but it is worth noting that the rates are incredibly complicated and it was often said that a union official who had grasped the data and knew how to interpret it was the ideal man to have as a senior administrator, if he could understand the list he was a top man. What concerns us is that the concept of Local Disadvantage was accepted and well understood by the industry.
The Barlick manufacturers used local disadvantage to modify the weaver's wages. The shed companies used the same mechanism to modify rents, the essential point being that this meant they were higher. Just as the weavers resented a reduction in wage, the tenants were not happy with higher rents and we come across many instances of protest against this. At the moment I simply want to flag up for readers that whilst the tenancy structure used by the CHSC and the effects of national circumstances like coal prices and government legislation are directly comparable with the North East Lancashire shed companies as a whole, there is always a differential between Barlick prices and the other towns. We shall quantify the amount from the evidence but once we have recognised it we can make a direct comparison with other companies.
I make no apology for the density of the evidence that follows, there is no gain without pain. This is prime source material that can be trusted. What follows are minute book entries, any contribution from me is in italics. One clue as to what I see as important. We can trace the structure of the agreements with tenants from the heady days at the end of the 19th century to the difficult conditions in the modern industry. The main lesson for me is how the CHSC management strategies evolved to accommodate these changing conditions.
May 15th 1889. That Messrs Holden’s letter asking for terms for room and power be replied to. The terms to be that they pay per annum 39/- per loom and £90 for one tape machine for a term of three years subject to alteration if necessary at that time. [Very simple and I suspect that any conditions which applied were almost a given. At this early stage the board didn't feel the need for a lot of clauses. If there were any there is no clue and we never get to see the full contract, all we have is the evidence of the minutes. Note that this is before Calf Hall Shed started in November 1889.]
November 7th 1894. The secretary [George Proctor was appointed March 1893] informed the meeting of the result of an interview he had had with Mr Holden. Mr Holden offered to take room and power for 410 or 420 looms at the same terms as present with 6 months allowance for gaiting up. He would like however to have the whole of the front warehouse. Mr Joseph Windle attended before the directors and offered to take room and power in the extension at Wellhouse Mill for about 400 looms at 39/- per loom per annum if the company would provide sufficient warehouse room and allow him twelve weeks for gaiting up; this the directors promised to do. [A buoyant demand for room and power is driving CHSC forwards but note the concession of a 'grace period' to allow the looms to get into full production. In later years when tenants were thin on the ground extended grace periods were used as bribes to encourage tenants to move. At that time Barlick must have been overrun by carts carrying looms from mill to mill!]
February 9th 1898. A written application was made by James Nutter and Sons, B&M Holden and S Pickles and Sons (Calf Hall Shed) and Messrs A Pilkington, Joseph Windle, W Bailey, and Boocock Brothers (Wellhouse Mill), tenants of the company for a re-adjustment of the rent for Room and Power on the grounds that the present price (39/- per loom per annum and £90 for a tape for 400 looms) is in excess of that paid at Earby, Foulridge and other mills in Barnoldswick and asking that the directors receive a deputation from them. Res. That the secretary be instructed to reply saying that after very careful consideration the directors could not see their way to make any reduction from the present price. The secretary stated that the price of best slack coal delivered at one of the Nelson mills was 6/8 per ton and the rent of looms 38/- per annum (average in Nelson for a modern shed). Best slack delivered at Barlick Railway station is 7/3 per ton and, with cartage, at the shed 7/10, a difference of 1/2 per ton. This additional cost of coal amounts to 2/- per loom per annum so that from the company’s standpoint the rent at Barlick is 39/- minus 2/- which is 37/- per loom as against 38/- per loom in Nelson. As to tapes, the average in Nelson is £85. Taking 3 tons of coal per tape per week at 1/2 per ton increased cost of coal the additional cost would be £9-2-0 per annum so that the company is only charging, as compared with coal cost at Nelson, £80-18-0 per tape. S Pickles rent of tape £90 for 416 looms, a comparative price of £77-8-9. J Nutter £90 for 414 looms, £77-17-1. B&M Holden £90 for 414 looms ditto.
[George Proctor is using his wide experience, doing his homework and presenting a good case. The irony of this application by the manufacturers is that they saw no problem in applying the ‘Local Disadvantage’ rule to weaver’s wages on the grounds that as they were at the end of the railway line and an outlier of the main weaving districts their profits were less. It's a different matter when it is applied to them, one law for the rich and another for the poor.]
February 26th 1898. The secretary reported with reference to the tenant’s application that he had let during the last year 1100 looms on yearly tenancy at 39/- per loom per annum for 40” reed space looms and £90 per tape. 560 looms at 38/6 for 40” reed space and £95 for tape on a ten year lease. 1200 looms at 38/- per annum on a seven year lease. Room and Power in Earby is 38/-. [Again, GP is drawing on his experience of acting for other shed companies to defend the CHSC actions.]
December 19th 1898. That we let Room and Power to James Moorhouse for 400 looms for ten years from 1st January 1899 on the following terms: 400 looms of 42½” slay space [same as reed space] at 39/- per loom per annum. Tape sizing machine £90 per annum for 420 looms. Tape overtime 1/- per hour. ['Overtime' is running the tape outside engine hours which means a firebeater has to be on duty to keep steam pressure up for process and the donkey engine which drove the tape machine when the main engine was stopped.] Three month’s rent to be always due and payable in advance on the 1st day of each month. The rent to commence on the 1st day of May 1899. The tenancy may be terminated on the 31st of December 1903 by Mr Moorhouse giving six month’s notice in writing. The company undertake to keep the temperature at 60 degrees in winter and to provide extra steam pipes for that purpose. If too cold after these precautions the company undertake to brick up the side windows. The company further agrees to erect an office and to lime-wash the wall opposite the warehouse windows'. [To get reflected light.]
March 14th 1900. That the rent of all the company’s looms be increased 2/- per loom from the 1st of April next. That Dr Roberts (failing him W P Brooks) P Barrett and the secretary form a deputation to meet the directors of the Butts Mill Company at the Craven Bank, Skipton, on Friday next and that they be authorised to inform them as to the rise of 2/- and to ascertain if they are prepared to follow us in this increase. That the same deputation previously appointed, together with the secretary, be instructed to meet the directors of the Long Ing Shed Co on Tuesday night to inform them of our decision as to the increase in rents. That a meeting of the directors be held on Tuesday night next at 7pm to receive the report of the deputation. [It's evidently important to CHSC that they are in step with the other landlords.]
March 20th 1900. The deputation appointed to wait on the Craven Bank reported that all the tenants at Butts Mill held leases of 7 or 10 years and that 4 or more years had yet to run. The leases did not contain a coal clause. [The lack of coal clauses is a serious problem for the Butts Mill Co, they did not take knowledgeable advice when writing the leases. ‘Coal clauses’ were a mechanism for adjusting rents on a sliding scale during the term of the contract consequent on coal price variations, fuel was the major expense. The same mechanism was often included in yarn and cloth contracts transacted on the Manchester Cotton Exchange, these covered other costs such as wages as well. The effect was to inject automatic stability into trading and allowed companies to trade with confidence at very narrow and competitive profit margins. This was fine when there was plenty of demand but in the end it proved to be an Achilles’ heel for the industry in the terminal decline after 1920. The importance of the exchange contracts in this context is that the manufacturers understood the principle and already operated under it in other transactions.] 'The deputation appointed to meet the directors of the Long Ing Shed Co reported that the Long Ing Co were quite willing to advance rents 2/- per loom per annum from 1st of April next'. [The inability of the Butts Mill Co to act in concert with the other two companies was not a big problem because they were no threat. They were not trading profitably with consequences we shall see in January 1903.]
March 28th 1900. A letter was read from the Cotton Manufacturer’s Association [Barlick manufacturers, they often act for the tenants in any dispute.] stating they could not meet tonight owing to the absence of two or three of the principal tenants. Res. That we approve the suggestion of the secretary with reference to the increase of rents, that each tenant be written to and offered an increase of 2/- per annum per loom and that the matter be left in his hands. [George Proctor smells a rat here in the dilatory behaviour of the Barnoldswick Manufacturer’s Association, he isn’t falling for any stalling tactics. Legally, because of the way the agreements are written, the company can terminate them, usually with six months notice, and offer new terms. This is what he is going to do. There follows a rearguard action by the tenants but eventually they agree to the increase.]
October 17th 1900. That the letter dated 17th October as drafted by the secretary in which the terms of renewal for all the tenants of the company on the 31st October are set out be approved and sent to Mr S Pickles as representative of the tenants. [The CHSC tenants were evidently acting in concert and Stephen Pickles as a major manufacturer was their choice for spokesman.] The terms are that the present rent of 39/- per loom per annum should be raised to 43/7. For each increase or decrease of 6d per ton in the price of coal the rent should vary by 6d per loom per annum. The tenancies to be yearly ones from the 31st of October terminable by either party giving the other six months notice in writing at the end of any month in any year. [I checked the increase of 6d per loom for 6d in coal price against the original because in some other agreements this was 5d per ton. 6d is the figure clearly noted in the minutes. There are other instances where we find this confusion, I have no explanation beyond noting that there is always the possibility of mistakes in the minute-taking.]
January 25th 1901. That in consequence of an erroneous impression amongst our tenants that the directors promised a reduction in rent from the 31st of December last, the rent from the 1st of January 1901 will be 42/6 per loom per annum with a proviso that should the average price of coal burned during the present half year be less that 12/11 per ton delivered, the same will be allowed on the rent account for June next in accordance with the agreement entered into between the tenants and the company on October 31st last. This arrangement not to be in any way treated as a variation of the said agreement. [Communication problems are not just a modern phenomenon! The problem arises from different interpretations of when the sliding scale alterations in rent due to coal prices come into effect. The tenants seek the decrease from the day the coal price reduces while the CHSC reckons the date to be when they have finished burning the expensive coal. It is noticeable that this complaint doesn't arise when the coal price goes up and CHSC are burning cheaper stock. Why are we not surprised by this? Anyone who has followed modern debates on energy prices will recognise that this syndrome is still alive and well.]
March 6th 1901. The secretary reported having received a letter dated February 28th 1901 signed by the tenants of the company in which they stated that they had decided to pay rent at the rate of 41/- per loom. (Although agreements were signed October 31st 1900 for rent on a sliding scale. See minutes.) Res. That the secretary be authorised to demand the payment of rent in full and failing payment he be authorised to sign distress warrants for the rent. [A distress warrant is a legal instrument which authorises the company to enforce payment of a debt by seizure of the debtor’s goods. This is a valuable sanction available to the directors as a last resort, there are many entries demonstrating that it was used.]
July 10th 1901. The secretary reported that the rents charged to the tenants were at the rate of 41/3 3/5d [Difficult to transcribe this, it is 41/- plus three and three fifths of a penny] per loom per annum from 1st of April last, the same as the Long Ing Shed Co Ltd.
March 25th 1903. [CHSC bought Butts Mill in January 1903 and now face the task of bringing the Butts tenants into line with Calf Hall Shed.] The secretary reported that Mr John Wilson's tenancy at Butts Mill would terminate on the 31st of March and that he [George Proctor] had proposed the following terms for the continuation of the tenancy: 'The tenancy of the shed which is capable of holding 404 40” looms but in which he has placed 436 looms at an average width [reed space] of 34” be as follows; 40/- per loom for 404 looms and 20/- for 32 looms. £90 per annum per 400 looms for his tape. Other conditions of the tenancy be as the CH and WH tenants'. [The standard tenancy was based on 40” reed space looms.]
April 8th 1903. That the basis of rent for the Butts Mill tenants be as follows: 40/- per loom for the number of looms the shed is capable of holding on a 40” basis and 20/- for each loom more than the capacity on the above basis. £90 per annum for the tape per 400 looms (actual) in the shed with a sliding scale of 6d per loom for each 5d per ton in the price of coal. That the secretary be instructed to write to all of the tenants (Except those having leases.) informing them of the resolution and asking them if they are agreeable and will comply with the same. [It looks as though the Butts Mill Co has let their space on a different basis than CHSC practice. From what I can gather, even though the minute-taker uses the word lease at times, the standard CHSC contracts were tenancy agreements which could be terminated by either side on a six monthly basis. A fixed term lease put the tenant in a far stronger position. We will see later that after 1937 CHSC started to use the mechanism of the lease to give themselves greater security.]
June 3rd 1903. A letter was read from the Craven Manufacturing Company [The Craven Manufacturing Company was started in 1900 at Butts Mill by Stephen Pickles and his brother. It was a separate entity to S Pickles and Sons at Calf Hall Shed.] which stated that their arrangement with the Butts Mill Company was to pay the rent three months after it became due and that they had paid a shilling per loom per week less than the Long Ing Shed Co whose rate at the present time was 37/7 1/5d per loom per annum. Res. That the Craven Manufacturing Co be informed of the terms of the resolution passed on April 8th last with reference to the price for room and power at Butts Mill. And that the secretary be instructed to take such steps as were necessary to enforce the arrangement by giving notice to terminate the tenancy if necessary. [These are times of buoyant trade and CHSC know that the tenants can afford the adjustment. Smart operators like Stephen Pickles know that they know this but will try to get any advantage they can. I am reminded of Kipling's description of the intelligence war on the NW Frontier of India as 'The Great Game'. The Barlick equivalent for the manufacturers was constant guerrilla warfare with the shed companies to gain an advantage.]
July 1st 1903. That the saving in coal effected by the stoppage of the engine in any of the company's mills be allowed to the tenants of that mill or mills in proportion to the number of looms possessed by each tenant provided that this allowance shall not be granted to any tenant of the company who has not agreed to the terms fixed by the directors. [Clever stuff! An incentive to the rogue tenants to stop quibbling over new terms and fall into line. Note that the amount of the reduction is in the control of the directors. Note also that the basic rent carries on even though the engine is not running. I have always wondered about the legality of this as one would think that by stopping the engine against the will of some tenants the CHSC had broken the terms of their agreement. However, there must be some clause in the agreements I know nothing about because this is never advanced as a counter argument by the tenants.]
July 15th 1903. The secretary gave particulars of Horsfield Brother's warehouse room at Butts Mill showing that they had 2.12 square yards per loom and that to provide them with 2.5 yards per loom (on account of inconvenience) would cost £4-1-3 per annum. Res. That this amount to be allowed from the annual rent paid by them. [A smart move by Horsfield Brothers, Butts is an old combined mill converted to weaving and in order to do so there were compromises made in the proportion of warehouse space to looms run. Standard allowances of space were incorporated into the design of new sheds like Calf Hall and so this problem didn't arise. Horsfield's have realised this and used it in the guerilla warfare that was negotiation of rents.]
December 9th 1903. The secretary reported that he had taken the measurement of the warehouse occupied by the Craven Manufacturing Co at Butts Mill and that there were about 1550 square yards for 685 looms being 2.263 yards per loom. To provide 2.5 yards per loom will require an addition of 162½ yards to the present warehouse which, at a cost of £1 per yard would mean an annual cost to the company of £6-10-0 per annum. It was resolved that taking into account the very inconvenient arrangements of the rooms and the quantity of gas needed to light them, that the rent from January 1st next be the same as the other tenants but with an allowance of 1/- per loom for these inconveniences. [This was one of Stephen Pickles' companies and he was a sharp operator. He has noted what Horsfield's have achieved. The Great Game again.]
December 30th 1903. With reference to the tenancy of the Craven Manufacturing Company which will terminate on the 31st of December 1903, the secretary reported that he had informed them of the basis upon which the tenancy could be renewed. Viz. 40/- per loom per annum and £90 per 400 looms for the tape with an allowance of £34-5-0 for inconvenient warehousing. They however requested the Company to allow them a deduction of 4 4/5d per loom on account of the fall of 4d per ton in the price of coal in April last. It was eventually arranged that the allowance asked for should be granted provided that the allowance for warehousing be reduced to £30 per annum. Res. That seeing that the tenants at Wellhouse Mill and Calf Hall Shed pay 39/7 1/5d per loom, that this be the basis for Butts Mill from the 1st of January 1904 and that the arrangement made by the secretary with the Craven Manufacturing Co be approved. [Normally the CHSC directors were more obdurate than this but I suspect that they were perhaps prepared to be more flexible in the process of standardising the Butts Mill tenancy agreements. They could also be unsure of their ground in that there was the possibility of confusion as to when changes in coal prices took effect.]
April 13th 1904. The secretary was prepared with information as to the rateable value of the Company's premises but it was resolved that seeing that Butts Mill is rated at a low rate the figure be not read out. [!!] The secretary stated however that the increase in rates of 8d in the pound would mean 4d per loom per annum to the CHSC. [Rates were relatively stable and in the early days were not used in pricing loom space on a sliding scale like coal. However, in any general increase they were taken into account.]
November 11th 1904. That the rent of the company's premises after the 31st of December next be as follows. Viz: 41/- per loom per annum with coal at 10/3 per ton at the wharf or station with an increase or decrease as the case may be of 6d per loom for such 5d per ton in the price of coal. That any increase in the total rates on the premises from the present time be paid by the tenants (by increase in rent) and that any reduction in the total rates be allowed to the tenants, in proportion to their looms and that no allowance be made for the holidays. That the secretary be instructed to inform the deputation appointed by the tenants. [It's noticeable that as the CHSC gets more experience the complexity of tenancy agreements increases. As most of these adjustments were overseen by George Proctor I think we can assume that the same problems were being addressed in other companies he was associated with.]
November 23rd 1904. The secretary said that he had communicated with tenants re the new tenancy agreements and they had agreed to the following clauses:
1.Rent 41/- per loom per annum. Sliding scale of 6d for 5d for coal.
2.Sliding scale for rates.
3.Rent to be paid on the first day of the month after it has accrued.
4.No allowance for holidays
But they objected to “no allowance to be made for breakdown”, “allowance of coal saved in case of strike, bad trade or lockout” and “termination of notice on 39th June or 31st December in any year by six months notice” and they requested that we should give them 55F minimum temperature in sheds. Res. That allowance be made as hitherto for breakdowns, strikes etc. That notices be as before and that the temperature requested be inserted in the agreements. [After a struggle we have another significant adjustment in the tenancy agreements which reflects the uneasy industrial situation at the time. The directors were continually negotiating the fine line between maximising profit and ensuring that they had full sheds. Remember that the new mills in Barlick are coming on line at this time. 1903 Moss Shed 2,000 looms. 1905 Bankfield number 1 shed, 1,800 looms.]
July 3rd 1907. The manufacturers of Barnoldswick having decided to run short time for about two weeks the tenants of the company applied for some remission of rent for the time they are stopped. Res. That as the stoppage was due to bad trade the tenants be allowed rent at the rate of 10/- per loom per year and that this allowance should not include the stoppage for the holidays. [The allowance would be pro rata to the hours stopped. One of the peculiarities of the cotton industry was the cyclical nature of the trade and it seems that there has been a downturn so from the manufacturers point of view it makes sense to stop weaving and allow stocks of cloth to be sold. Failure to do this could be dangerous, the major bankruptcy of Bradley Brothers at Bankfield in the early 1930s with almost 1,000 looms was generally attributed to weaving for stock during bad trading conditions. Evidence in the LTP.]
June 5th 1912. The secretary gave particulars of the extra cost of coal during the coal strike from which it appeared that the additional charge to the tenants would be about 3/9 to 4/- per loom at Calf Hall and 2/8½d per loom at Viaduct Shed. [Viaduct Shed was at Colne, cheaper coal.]
July 18th 1912. The secretary read a letter dated July 10th which has been sent to all tenants of the company asking for a full return of all export taping and the prompt payment of rent accounts, intimating that the interest would be charged at 5% until payment. Also a request for payment for the extra cost of coal during the strike. [Export taping was running sets for other tenants. Remember that rent on the tapes was based on the number of looms a manufacturer was running. If they didn't report the extra warps, they were getting them free but using CHSC resources. The manufacturers were obviously charging the other firms for the service.]
A letter was read from all the tenants of the company complaining at what they consider to be the exorbitant charge for coal during the strike, viz. 3/8½ per loom and stating that two other room and power companies had charged only 6d for every advance of 5d in the price of coal and that they wished to be placed on the same footing. Res. That the secretary be empowered to deal with the matter and to demand payment of the whole of the charges. [I thought this clause was already in the tenancy agreements?]
January 8th 1913. The accounts for the half year revealed a very large increase in the price of coal and after some discussion it was resolved that the secretary be requested to draft a scheme for increasing the rent payable by tenants for room and power based on an increase in the price per loom and price for tapes. To be submitted to the directors immediately after the shareholders' meeting. [These were turbulent times in the coal industry and the directors had seen a rise in price from about 10/- a ton to close to 15/-.]
January 23rd 1913. The additional cost of turning [Running the engine.] and the reduced profits for the half year were discussed. Res. That the rents as from August 1st 1913 be at the rate of 47/- per loom and £120 per annum for a tape with any additions or reductions that occur between now and that date on a sliding scale of 6d per loom for each 5d per ton and £3 per tape rise or fall of 5d in the price of coal. That the letter prepared by the secretary be sent to each of the tenants by tonight's post asking them to agree to these terms before January 28th. That in the event of any tenant not agreeing to the proposed terms they be sent notice of termination of tenancy under the common seal of the company. [This will be six months notice to quit the premises, the situation is serious, George is not messing about!]
February 5th 1913. The replies of the tenants to the secretary's letter of January 23rd intimating the increase of rent from August 1st were read. The tenor of which was that they were willing to pay the same rents as other tenants in the town, 46/8 per loom and £95 for a tape machine. After careful consideration it was resolved that the proposed rents be adhered to in every particular and the secretary be instructed to reply in the terms of the letter submitted to the meeting. [We have seen that the directors were quite prepared to agree to reasonable reductions to ensure full sheds but in this case they have made a decision that they can go no further. Not a lot of point having a full shed that couldn't make at least a small profit.]
February 26th 1913. The secretary read letters of acceptance of the increased terms from Edmondson and Co and Anthony Carr. It was decided that the question of terminating the tenancies be left over until the end of March. [There is no further mention of this matter so we have to assume that the rest of the tenants acquiesced to the new terms.]
October 14th 1914. That the allowance to tenants be at the rate of 4d per loom per week and £1 per week for tapes when the engine is stopped and 2d per loom per week when the whole of a tenant's looms are stopped but the engine is running. [We get a glimpse here of what was to become a major problem, allowances for tenants in times of bad trade. The fixed costs of the company carry on regardless of whether the engine is running or not. The only real saving to the company is if the engine is stopped completely and therefore the heat losses associated with it and the boiler throughout the mill. This is why a lone tenant stopping only gets half allowance. One of the consequences of this was pressure on the tenants to act as a body and all stop at the same time.]
March 24th 1915 . The secretary reported the bank balance to be £622-11-2 in credit and reported a list of rents owing by the tenants and stated that the present rents at Barnoldswick were 49 shillings and two fifths of a penny per loom per annum and £130-10-0 for a tape machine serving 400 looms, both based on Altham coal at 15/7 per ton.
December 23rd 1915. The question of the rents charged by the company was discussed. It was reported that other Room and Power companies in the town were charging from 1/3 to 3/- per loom more than CHSC based on the price of coal delivered at the mill. The matter was allowed to stand in abeyance. [A surprising decision but of course these are worrying times because of the Great War. It may be that the matter uppermost in the director's minds was retaining tenants to keep the mills as full as possible.]
October 25th 1916. The secretary reported that the cost of boating Altham Coal had risen by 3/- per boat [A boatload is about 46 tons so this is a price rise of just under a penny per ton.] and that the rent to the tenants would be raised by one penny per loom per annum.
January 19th 1918. The question of increasing the rents payable by the tenants in consequence of the heavy increase in the cost of providing Room and Power was adjourned until the next meeting. The present rent was 58 shillings and 11 and four fifths pence per loom per annum and tapes £188 for 400 looms.
January 31st 1918 . That the rents of the company from February 1st 1918 be 63/- per loom per annum and £200 for a tape serving 400 looms based on the cost of Altham nuts and Sharlston nuts delivered in the boiler houses at the respective mills as on December 31st last with a sliding scale of 6d per loom per annum and £3-5-0 per tape per annum for each rise or fall of 5d (or part thereof) in the price of coal as delivered to the boiler house and a sliding scale for rates based on the present rates. No allowance to made for breakdowns of less than eight hours. Tape overtime to be 2/6 per hour. The extra cost of coal or the saving effected by the use of coal other than the present source of supply to be paid by or allowed to the tenants. [This is a significant alteration to previous contracts, in other words the rent rise is triggered as soon as coal price moves upwards, not a full 5d move as previously. On the face of it this is fair because it applies to reductions as well but the underlying trend is upwards so this favours CHSC. Note also that this could mean a rent rise for one mill while others remained the same. What is obvious but never spelled out in the minutes is that the administration of the invoices to tenants was done by Proctor and Proctor in Burnley. Changes like this complicate the process and we would do well to bear this in mind.]
June 19th 1918 . Mr Wood reported the result of his interview with the Cotton Control Board which was fixed for Friday morning last to the effect that he placed before Sir Herbert Dixon full details of the proposed rent increase which was only ½d per loom per week and that a letter had been received from the Control Board informing the company that they were quite justified in making the increases proposed. [Useful ammunition in any dealings with the tenants.]
Res. That the draft letter to the tenants as follows be sent:
“I beg to hand you herewith accounts for rent owing by you from February 1st last on the terms proposed in our letter of February 6th 1918. I shall be glad if you will let me have your remittance of the amount by return of post in which event the sum of £---- being at the rate of 2/6 per loom may be deducted leaving the net amount £----. In the event of you not remitting the amount by June 25th it will be presumed that you do not accept the terms and that the notice to terminate your tenancy which has been accepted on your behalf by Mr S Pickles as representative of the tenants will continue to run. I am to inform you that in this event the full rent on the new basis will be payable with interest thereon at 6% and without the allowance of 2/6 per loom (which was withdrawn by our letter of April 25th) before the renewal of your tenancy will be considered. I trust you will see your way to accept our terms and to remit your cheque before the date mentioned. The question of allowance for stoppages owing to the reduction of working hours to 40 hours per week from June 15th will be considered after September 30th when the savings effected have been ascertained”. This letter to be sent to each tenant together with their account. [The 40 hours must be a temporary local agreement, perhaps connected to the bad trade due to cotton shortage. Bear in mind that raw cotton (cellulose) was used extensively to make nitro-cellulose explosives.]
January 22nd 1919. That the tenants be allowed for stoppages during the half year ending December 31st 1918 at the rate of 5/- per loom per annum making the total allowances for the half year 7/6 per loom and that no further allowance be made from the rent accounts. [A high figure and indicative of the difficult trading conditions despite the post-war restocking boom.]
December 24th 1919. That the circular letter submitted to the tenants fixing the rent at 104/- per loom per annum and £350 for tape machines from January 1st 1920 be approved.
January 19th 1921. That the charge made to tenants for the five months ending November 30th for the extra cost of coal at the rate of 8/6 per loom be allowed to them. This was made notwithstanding the fact that the cost of coal during the period was more than the basis price. The allowance being made in recognition of the large number of looms standing because of bad trade. [In July 1920 the cotton trade cracked and never recovered, my sources for this are the Craven Bank papers at Liverpool, the monthly commercial reports and the evidence in the local managers reports which are quite specific. CHSC couldn't know the long term implications of this but they recognised that they had to allow for hard times to encourage and retain tenants. By mid 1921 coal was in short supply due to stoppages at the pits and the price rose to over 42/- per ton.]
Teddy Wood appointed as secretary June 28th 1922. July 12th 1922. It was reported to the meeting that Mr George Proctor, secretary to the company for the last 30 years died on July 6th 1922. July 20th 1922. Full obituary for George Proctor. Reported as “carried unanimously, all standing”.
September 13th 1922. Further discussion took place as to the basis of rents. The usual custom of reducing the rents by 6d for each 5d alteration in coal price has been continued as in times past but Mr Banks reported that some of the other Room and Power companies in the town were only allowing 5d for 5d alteration in coal price and making no reduction for tape rent. The feeling of the meeting appeared to be that it is advisable to reduce the rents as quickly as possible owing to the bad state of trade and to consider additional charges or reductions for saving in coal or increased cost of coal at the end of each month as has been the custom since 1920 when rents were increased 21/- per loom. [I'm slightly confused by this minute. I think what they are saying is that before making any changes they need to consider the matter further bearing in mind that any increase during the present state of trade may not be productive. It could well be that they knew how close to the wind many of the tenants were sailing.]
The secretary reported that rents owing were £6,652. [A high figure and I insert it to reinforce the above.]
October 10th 1923. The question of allowances to tenants for looms stopped due to bad trade was further considered. Res. That an allowance be made of 6d per loom per week for all looms stopped in excess of 5% of the looms upon which rent is paid from July 1st to December 31st 1923 it being understood that this allowance should be in lieu of allowances for reduction in wages and saving in coal due to looms stopped during the bad trade and especially in consideration of the present bad trade. The question of further allowances after January 1st 1924 to be considered later. [Notice the mention of wages. This must refer to the wages saved by the CHSC if a mill was closed completely. There must be a clause to this effect in the agreements.]
November 28th 1923. Mr Wood reported that Room and Power companies in Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Earby and Kelbrook [For whom he was almost certainly acting.] had agreed, in consequence of the state of trade, to allow 13/- per loom per annum and £70 per tape per annum for the half year ending June 30th 1924. Res. That we make an allowance to tenants of 10/- per loom per annum and £50 per tape per annum from the rent from February 1st 1924 to June 30th 1924 owing to the rents at Calf Hall [CHSC? I think that 'Calf Hall' is sometimes used as a shorthand reference to the company.] being lower than other mills in Barlick and the other districts. The rebate being deducted from the rent when paid.
March 24th 1926 . [Remember that this was the time of the General Strike.] It was reported that there was a lock-out in the town which commenced on March 15th 1926 and that it had not been settled but it was hoped a settlement would be arrived at on Saturday. [Unfortunately not. The manufacturers were desperate to find ways of reducing costs and the wages paid to the operatives was the easiest target. Fining workers for bad work etc had long been a bone of contention between the unions and the manufacturers so when the number and severity of fines was increased tensions rose. Another route to increasing margins was use of lower grades of yarn which reduced costs but also increased the fines as weaving was more difficult. The workers at Edmondson's Fernbank Shed walked out claiming compensation for 'bad stuff'. Nobody would give way so the manufacturer's association locked the whole town out and this lasted for three weeks.] Res. That the tenants be allowed the cost of coal which is rather more than the savings effected owing to the stoppage and that the amount be at the rate of 7d per loom or 30/4 per loom per annum.
April 22nd 1926 . Mr Wood reported that the Committee of Inspection of W F Suthers and Sons Ltd (In liquidation) had decided to dispose of the plant by public auction as no reasonable offer had been received. [A bad time to sell!] The amount distrained by CHSC for rent arrears was £1,000-9-1 and the February and March accounts amounted to £302-11-2. The number of looms owned by Suthers was 376 38” and 40” reed space. The feeling of the meeting was that the looms should not be allowed to leave the premises as the very bad state of trade and the excessive cost of new plant would make it difficult to obtain a new tenant with sufficient capital to re-instate the machinery in the premises should the looms and preparation machinery be taken out. Res. That we offer the Committee £3 per loom and make an allowance from the February and March rents of one half which would be equal to the purchase price of the plant. [Smart thinking. The Committee would be running the business as liquidators. There are other costs involved as well such as loom shifting and spacing and commissioning of new looms. By taking this course the CHSC have a weaving unit ready to be stepped into at a very low capital threshold.]
June 16th 1926. Mr Bilborough attended and placed before them an offer he had received by phone of Sicilian [Silesian actually!] large round coal over 2” at 42/6 per ton at Hull, railway carriage 10/5 per ton and wagon charges 1/6 per ton. [54/5 per ton!]
August 18th 1926 . That the tenants be informed that the directors are prepared, as from July 1st, to bear a proportion of the extra cost of dear coal which is about 1/- per loom per week and are prepared to charge only 6d per loom as from that date although the stock of coal was finished on June 11th. That the usual charges and allowances for stoppages be made to the end of June. That should the tenants agree to stop at any of the mills and the engine is entirely stopped, an allowance of 7d per loom per week be made for a full week's stoppage. These terms are based on the present price of coal. If the price of coal varies the directors reserve the right to vary the charge.
October 13th 1926. The question of the tenant's application discussed at the last meeting came up for further discussion. Res. That a letter drafted by the secretary be approved, adopted and a copy affixed in the minute book. Res. That no allowances be made to tenants who had given notice to quit tenancies. Aldersley's, S Pickles and Sons Ltd and T Nutter Ltd.
[Copy of the letter referred to:] From Edward Wood, Secretary, Proctor and Proctor, Chartered Accountants, 3 Grimshaw Street Burnley (and at Mansfield Chambers, 17 St Anne's Square, Manchester.) Partners Edward Wood FCA and William Taylor ACA. October 15th 1926.
Dear Sirs,
My directors have carefully considered your application of September 14th and the arguments in support which were fairly stated by your representatives Messrs Holden and Pickles at the conference on September 29th.
They request me to say that they have a great deal of sympathy for the tenants who find themselves so seriously affected by the present deplorable state of trade. They are in a position to understand your difficulties because they are seriously affected by it themselves. They have, at the moment, no income from 1475 loom spaces and this loss of income seriously affects their own position. In addition to this, the company has voluntarily accepted the greater share of the burden of the cost of dear coal since the Coal Strike began in May last by charging the tenants a nominal amount of 6d per week only. Up to the present moment this cost is about £1,250 more than has been charged to the tenants.
Further, the rents charged by this company have been several shillings per loom per annum and tape rents many pounds per annum lower than mills in Burnley, Nelson, Earby or Barnoldswick during several years and more substantial allowances have been made than by other companies in the town.
However, in view of the present state of trade and the fair way in which your case was presented, the directors feel that they cannot refuse your request entirely, and although they cannot see their way to vary any of the conditions of your tenancy, which are common to all Room and Power tenancies in the district, they are prepared to make a further concession, solely on account of bad trade, from October 1st 1926 to March 31st 1927 of a discount from the rent accrued in these months at the rate of 10% which may be deducted at the time of the payment of each of the above-named months rent providing all rents owing as per account rendered be paid before the end of November next [1926] and that each of the six months rent be paid before the end of the month following that in which it was accrued.
They sincerely hope that these concessions, which, under the circumstances, are made at great sacrifice, will enable you to tide over the present difficulties of the trade. Yours truly, Edward Wood, Secretary.
Notice the phrase 'which are common to all Room and Power tenancies in the district' in the letter. This supports my contention that the principles of the management, if not the actual prices, can be transferred to the Room and Power sector in North East Lancashire as a whole.
October 26th 1927. The secretary reported on his meeting with tenants and their application for an increased allowance from rents in reply to our suggestion of October 12th. Res. That the allowance be increased from 5% to 7½% from October 1st until March 31st 1928 with the usual proviso and that the following letter read to the meeting be approved:
“A full report of our interview was was submitted to my directors on Wednesday last and I am instructed to say that in view of the continued state of bad trade they will increase the allowance from each monthly rent account from 5% to 7½% from October 1st 1927 until March 31st 1928 and that each month's rent be paid within 14 days. The directors are making this reduction at great sacrifice and they cannot, in the interests of the shareholders, consider any variation from this, their final offer. In addition to the above I am pleased to be able to inform you that the directors have been successful in getting a reduction in the price of coal delivered in the boiler house from November 1st of 1/8 per ton which means a reduction in rent of 2/- per loom per annum and £13 per tape per annum. The combined reductions will thus be equivalent to about 7/7 per loom per annum from October 1st and 10/3 per loom from November 1st.” [Difficult times and I can't help but notice the conciliatory tone compared with the CHSC attitudes in the early days when weaving was a licence to print money.]
September 19th 1928. The secretary reported that a letter in the following terms had been sent to the tenants and that one or two had expressed themselves grateful for the increased allowance.
“I am instructed by my directors to inform you that the allowance of 10% now made in consideration of payment within 14 days will cease on September 31st. All rent paid at that date and within 14 days will of course be subject to this allowance. In view of the present state of trade they have decided to allow a deduction of 12½% (about 12/8 per loom) from monthly accounts submitted from September 1st provided each month's rent be paid on or before the 14th day of the succeeding month. The allowance to be discontinued as and from the date of receipt of notice from any tenant deciding to quit his tenancy.” [Not much point paying a reduction designed to retain tenants to any firm handing their notice in. Bear in mind that the great expansion of mill building has resulted in there being almost 25,000 loom-spaces in Barlick and Salterforth.]
November 4th 1929. A letter was read from S Pickles and Sons, the Craven Manufacturing Co and the Butts Manufacturing Co giving six months notice to terminate the tenancy in view of the possible trouble anticipated with the operatives re the 5% deducted from wages for Local Disadvantage. The operatives having given notice to the manufacturers to have this reinstated. [The manufacturers were trying every route to lowering production costs and this imposition was one of them. This was one of the consequences of the findings of the Arbitration Court in Manchester chaired by Justice Rigby-Swift in August 1929. It led to a strike ballot on November 11th in favour of a strike but in view of the low turn-out and the number of spoiled voting papers the larger action was dropped. More important is that the manufacturers were experimenting with eight slowed-down looms per weaver in an effort to reduce costs. This was the start of the More Looms system and disputes. We shall hear much more of these during 1932.]
A letter was read from the Barnoldswick Manufacturers Association asking a representative to attend their meeting on Wednesday morning at 10:30am. The secretary reported the various conversations he had had with members of the Manufacturer's Association re the application of the weavers union for payment of the standard prices (on Blackburn List) paid by other districts. Res. That in the event of a strike, for three weeks after the commencement of the strike to allow full rent for all looms stopped as a result of the strike for such time as they may be stopped during this period. For the following three weeks to allow a reduction in rent of 1/- (one shilling) per loom per week for all looms stopped as a result of the strike. In the weeks following and until the termination of the strike, the total saving of coal effected in consequence of the strike which will be as follows: In sheds where the engine may be stopped at the rate of 6d per loom per week (or 26/- per loom per annum) and in mills where the engine may not be stopped, at the rate of 4d per loom per week (or 17/4 per loom per annum.) [Note that the reduction in allowance is more generous than the 50% deducted previously in these circumstances. CHSC has been forced into another concession by the worsening trading conditions.]
January 15th 1930. The secretary reported he had received an application for space for 400 looms and also for renting a similar number of 40” looms. He had offered to rent the space and looms for the first twelve months at 50/- per loom and £100 for the tape, per annum, and the second 12 months at 70/- per loom and £200 for the tape. Res. That he be allowed to vary the terms at his discretion to secure occupancy of the space. [We shall see much more individual negotiation and variation of terms to attract tenants. Times have changed.]
April 30th 1930. A letter was read from Slater Brothers giving notice to terminate their tenancy on September 30th. The secretary reported that the present rents were: Loom rent 84/11 and three fifths of a penny, less 12½%, 74/4 and one tenth of a penny. Tapes £238-15-11 less same allowance, £208-8-6 and that in his opinion the notices from most of the tenants had been given with a view to forcing a reduction in the rent and the basis price. He reported that the rents in Nelson had been reduced to about 66/6 per loom and £210 for tapes. Res. That on May 1st the rents of the premises be on a new basis as follows: Loom rent, 70/-, if paid within one month less 5%, 66/6. Tapes £210, if paid within one month £199-10-0. Based on the present rates and price of coal. But that this be not allowed to any tenant who does not withdraw notice to leave the premises.
Remember that two things have happened since 1900. First, the profits made by the manufacturers in the shed companies were high enough for them to achieve higher loom numbers by building their own mills. Barlick and Salterforth now have 14 mills and about 25,000 looms, one of the highest concentrations per head of population ever seen in the North West industry. Second, just as this resource matured in 1914 the Great War cracked the trade and apart from a brief re-stocking boom which fizzled out in July 1920, the industry went into terminal decline. By 1930 loom numbers were falling and the tenants saw themselves as having the upper hand. Edward Wood was right, this was pressure for reductions and in order to keep tenants and survive the CHSC has to steer a very precise course between acceding to reasonable requests and trading at a loss.
May 21st 1930. The secretary reported that S Pickles and Sons, Craven Manufacturing and Butts Manufacturing had intimated that they were not prepared to continue after the notice expires on the terms proposed. Messrs Holden had also interviewed him with a view to obtaining allowances for looms stopped. They had at present only 50 looms running out of 416. [A good indicator of the severity of the depression.] Res. After considerable discussion that the tenants be allowed, as from May 1st 1930, 6d per week (26/- per loom per annum) for all looms stopped. These to be counted every Monday morning, certified by the manager and countersigned by the engine man at each mill'. On the same date: That a contract be entered into with P Bilborough for the continuation of supply of coal for one year from July 1st 1930. Acton Hall washed nuts 21/- per ton. Bentley washed doubles 22/-. Both delivered at Barnoldswick station. [The coal price has fallen due to general lack of demand, the collapse of coal exports due to the artificially high exchange rate and the success of the mine owners in forcing wage reductions.]
April 15th 1931. The secretary reported that he had received notices from B&EM Holden and the Monkswell Manufacturing Co to terminate their tenancies on September 30th 1931 and that he had also had interviews with J Windle and Sons Ltd and M Horsfield and Sons regarding their request for rents to be based only on looms running. After considerable discussion it was unanimously resolved that the tenants be informed that the company agree to the tenancies being varied as follows: Rent to be on the basis of the actual numbers of looms running; the tenancies to be terminable at three months' notice from any Quarter Day; all looms stopped to be paid for at the rate of 2/6 per loom per annum to cover rates etc. These terms to be applicable only if notice is withdrawn, where it has been given, full rent to be charged until the end of the tenancy in such cases.
The principle that the CHSC was operating on was that there was an economic level below which rents could not fall. Remember the importance of maintaining a full shed to spread the fixed costs. In effect they are telling the tenants that if they know of a better deal, they should go for it. I have little doubt that Proctor and Proctor knew exactly what was available and at what cost. Add to this the expense and disruption to tenants of relocating and you have the elements of the equation that guided the board.
April 12th 1933. [Though never directly referred to in the minutes, Butts Mill closed in April 1933 never to run again.] The secretary reported that he had arranged provisionally for J Widdup and Sons Ltd to take a tenancy of the space at Wellhouse Mill lately occupied by Richardson Ltd at a rent of 68/5 per loom to include the tape, this rate being the basis rent of 70/- per loom and £210 per tape for 400 looms both less 5% for cash and less a further 10% allowance in lieu of an allowance for stopped looms. To sell them 256 looms at £2 per loom to include tape and other plant. Three months grace to be allowed and the next twelve months at half rent. Res. That the secretary's actions be confirmed. [In the circumstances this is a good deal but it demonstrates how the balance of power has moved from the CHSC to a manufacturer with a full order book.]
June 20th 1934. The secretary reported that a Self-Help company started by Messrs Jonas Smith, Whitworth, Lister, Ormerod and Aspden had applied for space at Wellhouse Mill and they had been offered space on the following terms: Half rents to be paid for six months as warps are put in the looms. No rent to be charged for the use of the company's looms for six months, afterwards the rent to be 3d per loom per week. ['Self Help' is a cooperative weaving shed managed by the weavers. Self help sheds were already operating in Victoria Mill Earby and Sough Bridge Mill. This innovation never took off in Barlick but in Earby and the other NE Lancashire textile towns it became quite common. It was a brave initiative and a sound principle, it failed in the long run only because the trade was so bad that the difficulties were insurmountable.]
July 18th 1934. The secretary reported that on Saturday July 14th he had met Christopher and Sidney Brooks and that they had agreed to a tenancy of approximately 830 looms at Calf Hall Shed for a term of four years from October 1st 1934. Rent to be payable on the total loom-space occupied and to be at the rate of 68/5 per loom to include the tapes. (This rate being the basis rent of 70/- per loom and £210 per tape for 400 looms both less 5% for each and less a further 10% in lieu of looms stopped.) Three months grace to be allowed and a further twelve months at half rent. The CHSC to remove looms and plant, to move drums as required and to exchange loom pulleys if necessary. [This last clause interests me, quite a concession. This refers to fitting the looms with larger pulleys to reduce their speed for the More Looms system, usually seen as the responsibility of the tenant. It's also worth noting that the Brooks Brothers were also major shareholders in Westfield Shed, one of the new builds. The fact that they were prepared to take on a further 830 looms on a fixed term of four years demonstrates that by 1935 there was a rising demand for cloth and it may be that they are competitive because they have gone over completely to the More Looms System whereby one weaver ran double the number of looms albeit at a slower speed that they are more competitive. Under the old four loom per weaver regime the speed was between 220 and 240 picks per minute, under More Looms it was reduced to 180.]
February 20th 1935. The secretary read correspondence and reported on his interview with Widdup and Sons whose tenancy terminates on February 28th. (Pencilled note: '? March 31st') Res. That the secretary make the best terms he can with them offering 70/- per loom per annum less 5% with tape £210 for 400 looms less 5% to pay on looms running only with a minimum of half rent.
January 20th 1938. Mr Wood reported that WE&D Nutter, the new tenants at Wellhouse Mill, will commence paying rent on February 1st 1938 and that the terms of tenancy agreed on behalf of CHSC by him in accordance with the August 18th 1937 minutes were as follows: The tenancy is for 870 looms to be charged as 900 looms of 40” reed-space and the rent is 68/5 per loom of 40” reed-space (including tapes) based on the cost of coal and rates as at July 6th 1934 with the usual sliding scale for increases or decreases after that date. Three months grace was granted and rent to commence on February 1st 1938. One half week's rent to be allowed for holidays each year. The tenancy to be for three years commencing on September 1st 1937and after that period be subject to six months notice. It was agreed that WE&D Nutter be allowed to use 234 looms owned by CHSC at the same rent as the 870 looms, a total of 1104 looms charged on 1134 with a minimum rent to be charged on 900 looms. [This is a big tenancy for three years and this no doubt explains the major concession of including the tape cost in the loom rent.]
May 19th 1938. A report was given of negotiations with Mr Ellison re the tenancy of a portion of Wellhouse Mill previously occupied by Hulme and Co. Res. That the secretary be authorised to negotiate with him on the following basis:
1.Rent to be the usual CHSC terms as paid by Hulme and Co.
2.Tenancy to commence June 15th 1938.
3.A minimum rent to payable on 24 looms.
4.3d per loom per week to be charged for use of the looms to commence after the first six months of the tenancy.
5.During the first three months of the tenancy rent to be paid on the looms as they are gaited up.
Res. That Mr Ellison should have an option to purchase at the end of six months:
36 x 40” cross rod looms with dobbies at £7-10-0 per loom. (without dobbies £7.)
12 x 45” Cooper's plain with fast reed at £7-10-0 each.
12 X 40” circular box looms at £10 each.
[The looms are CHSC property having been the subject of distraint on a manufacturer who failed owing rent. The terms for starting are generous and the fact that looms were rented for pence per week lowered the threshold of entry and made it more likely the manufacturer could succeed and therefore pay rent.]
December 21st 1939. That in common with other Room and Power companies a letter should be sent to the tenants stating that in view of the greatly increased costs it had been decided to increase the rent charges by 10% from January 1st 1940. Rent to be charged on the full number of looms with an allowance of 6d per loom per annum [per week surely?] for stopped looms. [See the loom census in the appendices for an indication of how loom numbers had fallen to 13,359 by 1941 from the peak of almost 25,000 in 1920. Almost a 50% contraction.]
December 17th 1942. A letter was read which had been sent out by the Nelson and District Manufacturer's Association to their members dated December 8th 1942 stating that the figure for rent of closed mills had been agreed at 45/6 per loom per annum based on 40” reed-space. Particulars were given of the amounts paid by the various tenants at Wellhouse Mill to date.
December 12th 1946. It was reported that on November 6th 1946 a meeting had taken place held by persons connected with cotton weaving mills let on the Room and Power system and that it had been agreed that rents should be increased from January 1st 1947 as follows: Loom rent to be £6-17-4 per loom per annum based on the present cost of coal and rates with the usual sliding scale for increase or decrease in these costs. Rent should be charged on the full loom-space occupied on the basis of 40 square feet representing the space to required for one 40” reed-space loom. Allowance for space not used to be made at the rate of 9d per week per loom, such allowance to be made on the difference between the 40” reed-space of looms running and the total looms on which rent is charged. Tape rent to be £572-19-0 per annum. It was agreed that this basis be adopted in line with other companies. [This informal association was a counterbalance to the manufacturer's associations and was evidently successful.]
May 20th 1948. It was reported that a meeting of Room and Power owners in the district from Burnley to Barnoldswick had been held at which it was decided to form a Room and Power Owners Association and that at this meeting it was decided that owing to the increase in costs generally, the basic rate should be increased from £6-17-4 to £7 per loom per annum and that there should be no allowances for stopped looms, both alterations to come in from July 1st 1948. Res. That CHSC should join the association and that the amended terms be adopted. [From this point onwards the decisions of the RPA are used to validate rises in rents. Late in the day but a useful tool.]
February 15th 1951. A report was given re the proposed increase in rents of £2 per loom per annum and £163-14-0 per tape to take effect from March 1st 1951. It was agreed that this be approved and that the rents be increased accordingly.
July 10th 1952. It was reported that discussions had been taking place between the R&P Owners association Committee and the Tenant's committee and that it was probable that the allowance of 9d per loom per week where a tenant was completely stopped would be extended to cases where they have more than 10% of looms stopped for more than a full week and that the allowance for tape stoppages would be increased from half to three quarters rent. The extension of the allowances for stopped looms would apply from July 1st 1952 to September 30th 1952 when the matter would be reviewed.

I think I have pressed my case far enough. There is of course much more in the minutes if you care to go back to the original and do your own research, however, the above extracts give a good picture of how tenancy agreements and rents evolved until the end of mainstream weaving in Barlick. Once the CHSC had surmounted the early difficulties they paid a regular dividend rising from 4% in 1894 to 10% in 1906, from then until 1922 they paid 10% with an exceptional 25% bonus on capital in 1911. 1923 to 1927 they averaged over 15%, 1928/29 10% and then the dividend falls off the cliff, averaging under 2% until 1937. The miracle was 1923/27 and bearing in mind how badly the trade was doing at the time, it's no wonder that the tenants thought there was some slack in the accounts that they could exploit in lower rents. It says much for the business acumen of the board that they resisted the pressure. The Craven Herald published a report on half year mill dividends on 18th July 1930. 'Fernbank and Crow Nest 2½%. Calf Hall 1¼%.
At the beginning of the Second World War, the weaving trade was a pale shadow of what had gone before and as far as CHSC was concerned the war was to stop weaving for the duration. However, this didn't mean the end of their activities, paradoxically the actions of Herr Hitler were to breathe fresh life into the company. We need another chapter heading.


In September 1939 the unthinkable happened, despite the 'War to End Wars' we found ourselves opposing Germany and her territorial ambitions again. There is nothing in the minutes to suggest that the board had any inkling of what was to happen to their operations, nothing was certain. They carried on using the same model until in 1941 the Cotton Control Board stepped in and introduced the Concentration Scheme whereby looms allowed to be run were designated registered or licensed looms. None of CHSC's tenants were allocated looms under this scheme and all weaving in the company's two remaining sheds Calf Hall and Wellhouse stopped. In order to understand what followed and the business model the board adopted we have to step back in time.
CHSC minutes for September 18th 1935. 'A letter was read from Barnoldswick Urban District Council asking for particulars of premises for sale and the price in connection with an enquiry for Aircraft Constructional Work. Res. That the letter lie on the table'. [This is very significant. The German threat had been realised and in 1934 the government called for the design of a new fighter and engine. By 1935 Rolls Royce were well forward with the design of the Merlin engine and were agitating with other aircraft manufacturers for what was called the 'Shadow Scheme'; new factories for aircraft production, financed by central government and preferably beyond the range of enemy bombers to accommodate the new capacity that would be needed. Surveys of available space started far earlier than anyone realised. Barnoldswick was to be very important! See the History of Rolls Royce, Vol. I, pp. 192-198 for the details.]
On September 12th 1940, an advertisement appeared in the Manchester Guardian: 'Manufactories, works etc wanted. Factory premises wanted, ground floor, about 300,000 square feet in North Lancashire. Information to A B Smith care of the County Hotel, Lancaster.' This was the Ministry of Aircraft Production looking for shadow factories for the Rover Company of Coventry who had been given the task of cooperating with a man called Whittle and developing his new gas turbines. The MAP found Bankfield Shed, requisitioned it on September 25th and it became 'Number 6 Shadow Factory'. Later the Rover Company took Calf Hall and Butts Mill. In Earby they took Grove Mill and Sough Bridge and in Clitheroe, Waterloo Mill. Eventually Wellhouse was taken over as well by the government for storage of essential supplies as varied as naval stores, newsprint and even tobacco in bond. Rover also requisitioned the country club at Bracewell Hall near Barnoldswick for the company offices. In 1942 Rolls Royce were to take over Bankfield and the jet engine. [See 'Vikings at Waterloo' by David S Brown and the official history of Rolls Royce for more details.] Incidentally the work of upgrading the mills was given to local contractors. Briggs and Duxbury did well out of this work. We shall see that this was to be a lifeline for the CHSC but in 1939 none of this was clear.
From the end of 1941 the manufacturers forced to stop weaving had a decision to make, did they abandon their tenancies and scrap looms or did they carry on paying rent to store their plant until weaving commenced again. Some tenants at Wellhouse took the latter course but others whose space was completely requisitioned by the MAP had a different problem, did they scrap the looms or find space to store them. Contemporary evidence is that many took the latter course and paradoxically this resulted in a demand for space to store looms stacked two high. Even in sheds that carried on weaving, any spare space was soon filled with stored looms. [See the licensed loom document in the appendices for the scale of the cuts.]
This is where the CHSC experience of the war years diverges from the generality of the industry in the neighbouring towns. They become landlords to the new industries and after the war it was only at Wellhouse that they reverted to room and power for weaving. We shall take the evidence of the minutes and learn what we can of this new role which involved an entirely new business model and how the company coped with the change. The story becomes complicated so it would probably be best to look at events mill by mill. Let's start with Butts.
Butts Mill ceased weaving in 1933 and lay empty. The company had a liability on their hands. What was to be done with it? This was before the possibility of requisitioning by the MAP had arisen.
March 21st 1934. An application from Lomas and Barrett regarding the tenancy of the warehouse extension at Butts Mill was considered. Res. That they be informed that CHSC were prepared to accept a rent of £65 per annum, the landlords paying the rates (providing de-rating was obtainable) the tenants to brick up the opening between the warehouse and the main body of the mill. It was stated that no power would be required.
April 18th 1934. Reported that a letter had been received from Lomas and Barrett re the proposal for a tenancy of the warehouse extension at Butts Mill saying that their client did not regard the premises as being very suitable and that the matter was being dropped for the time being.
August 22nd 1934. Mr Wood reported that in view of the bad condition of the economiser at Calf Hall Shed and the filling up of the shed by the removal of R Brooks from Westfield it was advisable that the new economisers at Butts Mill be moved to CH. Res. That this be done. [This is significant. It shows that CHSC had bitten the bullet and recognised that Butts Mill would never run again as a steam-powered weaving shed. They also moved a modern high pressure boiler from Butts to Calf Hall where the engine was struggling with the increased load.]
November 21st 1934. A verbal application from Messrs Briggs and Duxbury [A new partnership destined to become the biggest building contractors in Barlick.] to rent the new warehouse at Butts Mill was considered. They offered to pay £50 for the first year and £55 for the second if the business proposed by them proved successful. Rates and insurance to be paid by CHSC, Briggs and Duxbury to wall up both openings into the shed. The tenancy to commence on January 1st 1935 and to be subject to three month's notice from any quarter end whilst the rent shall be payable quarterly. Res. That the tenancy be approved providing the premises come under the de-rating provisions.
January 16th 1935. The secretary reported he had been in touch with Dobson's Dairies of Lloyd Road, Levenshulme, Manchester re the possibility of renting part of Butts Mill. Res. That the matter be left in the secretary's hands with the suggestion that a rent of £150 per annum be asked, the tenant to pay the rates. [This never came to anything. Dobsons took New Coates Mill and were there until the early 1960s when they were taken over by Express Dairies and much reorganisation of milk distribution took place and the Coates dairy was closed. By a nice coincidence they were delivering milk to 38 Norris Avenue in Stockport at the time, the house where I was born in 1939.]
December 23rd 1936. Reported that Briggs and Duxbury had purchased a building of their own and that therefore the additional tenancy at Butts discussed at the last meeting would not take place. They had also given notice to leave the space in Butts they already occupy on March 31st next. [They bought the Model Lodging house in Butts built as accommodation for weavers who lived outside the town. It became redundant after the fall in loom numbers during the depression and B&D still operate from there in 2011.]
April 21st 1937. Mr Banks reported that part of Butts Mill previously occupied by Briggs and Duxbury whose tenancy ended on March 31st 1937 had been let to Mr Fred Procter, furniture dealer of Walmsgate, from April 1st 1937 at a rent of £50 for the first year and £55 per annum from then onwards; CHSC to pay rates. [Procter's eventually bought the old Baptist Chapel in Walmsgate and were in business there for many years.]
June 16th 1937. It was reported that a portion of Butts Mill had been let to Mrs Whipp for the purpose of a furniture and second-hand store at 17/- per week, rates to be paid by CHSC. The tenancy be subject to three months notice dating from July 3rd and to be paid quarterly.
August 18th 1937. Mr Banks reported that he had agreed to let space previously occupied by Aldersley's (Butts) to Robert Tomlinson (pencil note 'Bevo' Ltd) for making ice cream at a rent of £40 per annum, CHSC to pay rates, tenancy to be subject to six month's notice but such notice not the expire during the period March 1st to September 20th in any year. The tenancy to commence from September 1st 1937. [I suspect that this was to protect Bevo from being given notice during the ice cream season.]
November 17th 1937. Discussion took place on an enquiry from R S Windle, Mr Jackson and Mr McVie re the purchase of Butts Mill. Res. That it be put on offer at £8,000. [This initiative never went any further. Interesting to compare this price with the asset value of Butts Mill on the June 30th 1930 balance sheet, £27,586. Even allowing for the accountant's predilection for enhanced asset values this is a major reduction and illustrates how pessimistic the board were about future prospects.]
February 17th 1938. Reported that an enquiry re space had been received from Mr Aldersley and also that he had enquired for terms for storage of 87 looms at Butts Mill. Res. That he be allowed to store the looms for 15/- per week together with rates if these be charged.
May 19th 1938. A letter was read from Messrs Bevo Ltd re part of their tenancy at Butts Mill in which they suggested that the tenancy should be taken over by Mr Lister, Electrical Engineer of Barlick. Res. That they (Bevo) be informed that the directors have no objection to them sub-letting the ground floor warehouse to Mr Lister. [Interesting that the directors saw it as easier to allow Bevo to sub-let. I think this is the first time they allowed this.]
October 20th 1938. Mr Banks reported that the tenancy of part of Butts Mill occupied by Bevo Ltd would cease on December 31st 1938 and that he had arranged from January 1st 1939 for the bottom room to be let to Mr A Lister, electrician, Albert Road Barnoldswick on a quarterly rent at 10/- per week.
May 18th 1939. First mention of Victor Hedges acting as secretary. Teddy Wood became chairman.
December 21st 1939. Correspondence from Norman Barrett [Son of Proctor Barrett and acting as an architect, surveyor and land agent.] was read in which he enquired on behalf of a client for terms for leasing part of Butts Mill. Res. That the secretary inform him that the company would probably be prepared to negotiate on the following lines:
1.The lease to be for 10 years.
2.The tenant to put the premises in habitable order, provide lavatories etc, all repairs and alterations to be subject to the landlord's approval.
3.The tenants to maintain the premises, provide their own power and heating and pay rates and all other outgoings except Landlord's Property Tax and insurance.
4.The rent for the weaving shed to be as follows: 1st year nil. 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years £200 per annum. Next five years £300 per annum. If the third storey warehouse (Aldersley's) was included the rent to be increased by £125 per annum for each of the ten years. [Note that this is a repairing lease. It isn't clear at this point from the minutes but in the list of registered looms there is an entry for H Ellison Ltd, 50 looms in 1940, 88 in 1941 and 99 in 1947, this is a firm owned by Aldersley and it seems they were in Butts with electrically driven looms. Not strictly room and power but significant that this was a lease and a completely different basis compared to how the old tenancy agreements were managed. I have to add that this is my best guess as Worrall's directory for 1941 reports H Ellison as being in Wellhouse with 240 looms. The directory would be compiled before the impact of loom registration became clear and the entries for 1941 are certainly defective.]
February 15th 1940. Correspondence with Thomas Rumney and Co, solicitors of Manchester, on behalf of their client Messrs Hendley and Co of Manchester [This evidently refers to Norman Barrett's enquiry.] was read and approved subject to the terms being altered by CHSC not agreeing to insure any of the property but this charge to be paid by the tenant. The terms of the tenancy to be for ten years terminable at the end of five years, at seven years and renewable afterwards by negotiation any sub-letting to be with the consent of CHSC but not to be reasonably withheld. The rent to be £200 per annum and the tenants be allowed to make a road out over our land between Butts Mill and Calf Hall Road, CHSC to fence the land off and the tenancy to commence on March 1st 1940.
March 28th 1940. Reported that a lease of part of Butts Mill to Hendley and Co Ltd had been prepared in accordance with the agreement reported at the last meeting.
February 20th 1941. Reported that the Kelbrook Mill Company were in need of storage room for shafting and it was resolved that accommodation be offered to them at Butts Mill at 10/- per week. [They were in Sough Bridge Mill which had been requisitioned for the Rover Company and were evidently taking an optimistic view of re-installing the shafting after the war. This never happened, they moved to Brook Shed in Earby in 1941. In 1945 Sough Bridge Mill was taken over by Bristol Tractors, a subsidiary of Jowett Motors of Bradford and ceased to be a weaving shed.]
May 15th 1941. Mr Banks reported that he had provisionally agreed with Nutter Brothers a rent of £150 per annum for the storage of looms etc at Butts Mill the term to commence from May 1st 1941 rates to be charged to CHSC but refunded by Nutter Brothers. Res. That this action be confirmed. [Nutter Brothers had swapped their looms in the new shed at Bancroft for James Nutter and Sons' looms in Bankfield. It looks as though these had been in storage at Bankfield but with the takeover by the MAP they had to find a new home for them.]
July 17th 1941. A letter from the District Valuer dated July 14th 1941 suggesting that the tenancy of the ground and first floor of the office at Butts Mill should be combined and that a payment of 6/- be made. The Air Raid Authorities to pay rates and water charges and bear the cost of external repairs and main structural repairs and other expenses to maintain the property in a state to command rent. Res. That the terms be agreed. [This was the ARP using the offices at Butts for their Barlick HQ during the war.]
September 19th 1941. Mr Banks reported the letting of three rooms at Butts Mill to BUDC electricity department at £100 per annum, tenants to pay rates. Commences on September 1st 1941. Res. That the letting be approved.
January 15th 1942. The meeting was informed that MAP had requisitioned the three large weaving sheds on the ground floor at Butts Mill together with the boiler house, coal store etc. The plans showed an entrance in Butts. The requisition was dated January 12th 1942 and described as; 'All those premises known as Butts Mill, Barnoldswick, shewn for the purposes of identification coloured pink and brown and edged with red on the attached plan'. The areas of the three sheds being:
1.Shed 20,011 square feet
2.Shed 18,260 ditto
3.Shed 17,521 ditto
Total 55,792 square feet.
[This space was used throughout the war, mainly by Rover Company for reconditioning aero engines but there is also evidence of a bonded warehouse for tobacco there after Liverpool was blitzed in 1940/41. Ellison and Co were in the separate Monkroyd Shed at the back of Butts with their own entrance onto Calf Hall Road and were not affected by the requisitioning for the Rover Co.]
February 19th 1942. Consideration was given to tenders for shafting and gearing at Butts Mill which has to be removed under direction from the requisitioning authority. Res. That the highest tender of £427-10-0 from James Dixon of Burnley be accepted. They to bear the cost of dismantling and removal. Plus 64 economiser pipes at £1 per pipe. [The first thing that had to be done was to modernise the sheds. Removing the shafting was part of this process and happened at all the mills taken over by the MAP.]
June 18th 1942. It was reported that Mr Wood and Mr Banks had met the District Valuer at Bradford re compensation for Butts Mill. A claim had been made for £1000 per annum but only £1 had been offered. It was pointed out to the DV that £150 was at present being received for only a small part of the premises and eventually a provisional suggestion of £200 was made by the DV who stated he would consider the matter further and make a written offer. [This matter dragged on for a long time, CHSC refused the offer. See below for the denouement.]
July 16th 1942. Correspondence with the National Fire Service was read in which permission was asked to close the clow at Butts Mill to create a static water supply. It was decided that the matter should remain in abeyance for the time being because of the danger of flooding and the inability of the NFS to undertake the responsibility for any damage arising therefrom and in view of static water being provided by the Rover Co Ltd. [Static water supplies for use during fire-fighting were very important because during bombing there was a possibility of mains supplies to conventional fire hydrants being disrupted. Where there was no natural resource, prefabricated steel tanks were erected at strategic points and they made wonderful boating ponds for the lads! Their position was marked with a large yellow painted sign 'EWS'. (Emergency Water Supply.)]
It was reported that a Draft Lease had been received from BUDC re the lease of a portion of Butts Mill now occupied by the Electricity Department and that negotiations were proceeding re a further small space temporarily occupied by them. It was reported that Mr Aldersley had enquired about the tenancy of the space over that occupied by Mr Lister, caravan maker, at Butts Mill but that eventually he had found that he did not require it. Since then government officials had seen Mr Banks and told him that it was intended to store Nutter Brother's looms in the space at Butts Mill and that Mr Battye the district valuer would deal with the question of rent. [Moving them out of the weaving sheds?] Mr Banks reported that the Craven Cellar [Butts] had been let to Mr Procter, furniture dealer at £17-10-0 per annum payable quarterly and to commence on September 30th and also that additional space had been let to Mrs Whipp at £1 per week, the rent to commence January 1st 1943, both cases being subject to certain alterations by CHSC.
September 17th 1942. It was reported that the Rover Company were carrying out certain alterations to Butts Mill in the portion requisitioned by them. Mr Jacques presented the board with a very complete plan with elevations, areas and tenancies for which the members expressed their thanks.
October 21st 1943. That Messrs Aspden and Johnson be instructed to revalue Butts Mill for insurance purposes and that when this had been completed, failing agreement with Mr Battye the District Valuer as to rent, his approval should be obtained for the appointment of Mr George Singleton of Blackburn as an independent valuer to advise as to the rent to be paid for the requisitioned part of Butts Mill. [See the LTP transcripts 78/SA/1 to 18 for interviews with George Forrester Singleton who founded the firm of G F Singleton and Sons, one of the most respected firms of Industrial Estate Agents and Valuers in the NE Lancashire. The firm is still in business in Blackburn in 2011.] As the unoccupied part of Butts Mill was deteriorating due to general dilapidation, broken windows etc it was resolved that Mr Jacques should obtain estimates for the work to be done and apply for the necessary Building Licence. [A licence for materials had to be obtained from the Board of Trade.]
November 18th 1943. Reported that Messrs Aspden and Johnson had made a valuation of Butts Mill for insurance purposes which totalled £56,190 of which approximately £22,905 was in respect of the part occupied by Rover Co Ltd. Bank account in credit £3654-8-6. Rents owing £237-7-2. [Note first the disparity between this valuation and the propsed sale price above and that every cloud has a silver lining. Stopping the engines has removed the biggest expense, coal for power, and the requisitioned premises are producing a regular income at very little expense to CHSC as they are on repairing leases. Consider this as well, the requisitioned premises have been totally upgraded with level concrete floors, full electrical installations and are being given regular maintenance. Things could be worse! Note also that this was true of all the mills taken over as shadow factories, we shall see later that this was to be a key factor in the transition from a war economy to peacetime conditions in the area.]
November 16th 1944. Reported that an interview had taken place with Mr Battye the District Valuer re the compensation payable by the Air Ministry for the portion of Butts Mill requisitioned by them. After protracted negotiations he had increased his figure from £200 to £300 per annum. [Victor Hedges the secretary from Proctor and Proctor is earning his corn! This valuation was back-dated to the original takeover in 1942.]
As the war neared its close many firms were looking at the possibility of moving to better premises. Plans were being laid for the post-war economy.
March 15th 1945. Mr Hedges reported on his visit to Pancreol Ltd at Settle stating that the premises at present occupied by the company were not in very good condition. In the interview he had mentioned Butts Mill but they seemed more interested in Calf Hall Shed stating that a two storeyed building was essential. Mr Hedges had pointed out that this could be arranged for at Butts Mill. In reply to a question about the approximate rent for Calf Hall Shed he had explained the difficulties in coming to any decision on the matter at the present time but he had mentioned a very rough estimate of £2,000. At the end of the interview it was left that Pancreol Ltd would apply for permission to inspect both Calf Hall Shed and Butts Mill. [Pancreol Ltd were associated with Hodgsons Ltd Tanners of Beverly in East Yorkshire. I wonder whether anyone looked at the conditions imposed in the original conveyance of 1888 which prohibited 'noisome use'. Anything connected with the tanning industry could come under this heading.]
June 21st 1945. A letter was read from the West Riding County Council giving notice to vacate the premises at Butts Mill occupied as an Air Raid Warden's Post as of September 29th 1945 and asking if the CHSC would agree to possession being given up on July 20th and offering £10 in lieu of making good the premises. Res. That these proposals be agreed to and Mr Banks make arrangements for the premises to be decorated and the furniture cleared.
We'll leave Butts at this point and look at Calf Hall Shed which was a relatively simple case, the tenants were moved to Wellhouse and the whole mill was requisitioned for the use of the Rover Company for the duration of the war.
September 30th 1940. The secretary reported that the Ministry of Aircraft Production had, on behalf of a Coventry firm (Rover Cars), requisitioned Bankfield Shed (3000 looms) for aircraft production and require a further 1200/1600 loom shed. They have been unable to secure this and as we were not in a position to provide it at Wellhouse the tenants at Calf Hall Shed had been approached with a view to removing to the space available in Wellhouse Mill. The secretary read a report on the position which had been submitted to the MAP setting out the probable cost of removal, allowance to tenants for removal and all incidental expenses relative thereto. The letter also suggested a rent for Calf Hall of 3/6 per square yard comprising the warehouse and shed space. £250 per annum for the use of the boilers and supervision of the heating should they require it, the tenants to pay all rates and fire insurance.
December 19th 1940. That Proctor and Proctor, 3 Grimshaw Street Burnley be appointed to conduct the necessary negotiations with the MAP for compensation for the requisitioning of Calf Hall Shed and the consequential removal of tenants etc as from the date of requisition, October 5th 1940. It was reported that the engine at Calf Hall Shed had been stopped on December 18th 1940 and that the Rover Co had asked that the lineshafting be removed. Res. That a price should be obtained for the line shafting as it stood. [Once again the board has to accept the fact that the mill would never run again. Unlike Butts, the engine remained in place until after the war when it was scrapped.]
June 19th 1941. It was reported that the MAP would agree to CHSC continuing the insurance of Calf Hall Shed and would refund the premiums payable (at 2/6 %) providing CHSC would waive any claim against the Air Ministry for damage covered by the policy. Mr Wood reported on negotiations with Mr Horan, the Lands Officer of the Air Ministry as to compensation for Calf Hall Shed and Mr Horan had stated he would recommend a payment of £2,000 per annum. Negotiations as regards the cost of removal etc were still proceeding. Res. That Mr Wood's actions be approved and that he be authorised to obtain the best figure possible.
August 7th 1941. Reported that £600 had been received on account from MAP for the requisition of Calf Hall Shed.
September 19th 1941. Mr Wood reported on a meeting with Mr Entwistle and Mr Dean representing the Air Ministry re the requisitioning of Calf Hall Shed. He stated that the original figure of £2,000 quoted by Mr Horan had been withdrawn and the highest figure they would agree to is £1,500 per annum. Res. That the offer be accepted but considerable disappointment was expressed. Mr Wood said that compensation for removal expenses etc were still proceeding.
December 18th 1941. Mr Wood stated that he had put in a claim for loss on shafting at Calf Hall Shed amounting to £3,320-16-0 less £396-4-2 realised [sale of shafting] making a total of £2,924-11-10. He had given an undertaking that if this amount was received, no claim would be made for reinstatement of the shafting. Res. That this be approved.
April 15th 1942. It was reported that the Inland Revenue had increased the Schedule 'A' valuation of Calf Hall Shed to £2,500 following an increase in the rating assessment but that they had eventually agreed to reduce it to £1500 being the compensation rent receivable from the government. [The basis of Schedule 'A' tax was the notional rental value of the premises.]
December 21st 1944. Reported that two directors of Hurst and Thackway Ltd had visited Calf Hall Shed to consider a possible leasing of the shed after the war. Following this a letter had been received from them asking if an approximate figure for rental could be stated. Res. That a reply be sent pointing out that in view of the many questions which would arise on the termination of the government's requisition it was impossible to fix a definite rental. It was further resolved that for their guidance they should be told that the government paid a compensation rent of £1,500 per annum and were responsible for rates, heating, power, insurance and all outgoings, CHSC being liable for Schedule 'A' Tax only.
We'll leave Calf Hall being looked at by a firm wanting modern premises after the war. Let's have a look at Wellhouse now. The first thing to recognise is that Henry Brown Sons and Pickles are still in the Mechanic's Shop at Wellhouse and are busy on war work. They take over the old laundry which has been empty for five years after Barrett's Steam Laundry built their own premises on Gisburn Street. Brown and Pickles remained tenants of the CHSC right through the war, in fact they had the premises until 1982 as tenants of Silentnight who bought the mill in 1978.
September 30th 1940. The secretary reported that the Ministry of Aircraft Production had, on behalf of a Coventry firm (Rover Cars) requisitioned Bankfield Shed (3000 looms) for aircraft production and require a further 1200/1600 loom shed. They have been unable to secure this and as we were not in a position to provide it at Wellhouse the tenants at Calf Hall Shed had been approached with a view to removing to the space available in Wellhouse Mill. [This is a repeat but a reminder that in order to free Calf Hall Shed for Rover the government agree to pay the removal costs of the CH tenants to Wellhouse Mill.]
Nov 21st 1940. Mr Wood and Mr Banks reported on the negotiations relating to the alterations at Wellhouse Mill for the removal of the tenants from Calf Hall Shed to WH to make room for the Rover Co Ltd and the steps taken were approved.
June 19th 1941. That the letting of the part of Wellhouse Mill previously occupied by Messrs Ellison (approximately 900 square yards) to the Manchester Guardian and Evening News Ltd for the storage of newsprint at an annual rent of £200 per annum together with an annual payment of £39 to cover fire watching be approved. The tenancy to commence July 1st 1941. [It was normal practice during the war to have fire watchers on duty in case of direct hits by incendiary bombs, a small bomb designed specifically to set fires and not explode. This Ellison is the firm mentioned previously as having 240 looms at Wellhouse. The wording suggests they have moved and in 1951 they are noted in the Manchester Royal Exchange year book as being in Fernbank Mill with 200 looms. In the same year Edward Aldersley is in Monkroyd Shed at Butts with 386 looms. Worrall for 1957 reports Ellison's still in Fernbank and Edward Aldersley in Monkroyd at Butts with 386 looms. Once again I apologise for lack of clarity, see June 19th 1958 for at least one certainty about Edward Aldersley at Monkroyd Shed.]
We have to try now to make sense of what was happening to the weaving tenants in Wellhouse Mill. I have a suspicion that the reason this is so unclear from the minutes is that the CHSC board didn't understand what was going on either! Not surprising really, everything was moving at breakneck speed. What is certain is that following Wilfred Nutter's decision to keep Bancroft Shed open during the war by running his registered looms there, all weaving at Wellhouse was stopped by the Cotton Control Board, some tenants deciding to stay there paying a reduced rent to store their plant. The government requisitioned space at WH, not from CHSC, but from the tenants who were in possession and made arrangements for loom storage with them. I think this was a bit of a surprise for the board and they had to start negotiating with the tenants as to who should get the rent and what level it should be set at. At the same time CHSC were responsible for other areas of the mill like Brown and Pickles' tenancy. It gets complicated, the Admiralty requisition space as well, soldier on!
On June 19th 1941 it was reported that WD&E Nutter had submitted a scheme under the concentration of the cotton industry to the Controller under which a portion of Wellhouse Mill occupied by them would be vacated and their Bancroft Shed would be run. The Cotton Controller had said that in this case Wellhouse Mill would have to be closed unless WE&D Nutter could be persuaded to carry on at Wellhouse and Bancroft Shed be closed. Mr Wood said he had seen Mr Wilfred Nutter who would consider the position and that he had already seen other tenants at WH who were arranging to see Mr Nutter. [A no-brainer for Wilfred Nutter who controlled this firm, James Nutter and Sons and Nutter Brothers and I suspect everyone knew it. He was a smart cookie and given the choice of carrying on with registered looms in his own premises at Bancroft and staying as a tenant at Wellhouse his decision was a foregone conclusion. James Nutter and Sons wove on at Bancroft through the war and was the last steam-driven shed in Barlick when it closed in December 1978. I was the engineer who stopped it. Recognise also that this was bad news for the Calf Hall tenants who had been moved to Wellhouse, I think it would be a bit of a shock for them because they thought they were safe.]
September 19th 1941. It was reported that the following tenants at Wellhouse Mill had received notice of requisition for space for storage. Horsfield (Bankfield) Ltd. WE&D Nutter Ltd and Ellerbank Manufacturing Co Ltd, that their looms were being moved by direction of the Ministry into space occupied by other tenants although no notice of any kind had been received by CHSC. [I like the last part of that sentence, I think the directors were slightly disconcerted to see the disposition of space in one of their mills being decided by the MAP and the tenants. Complete loss of control.]
November 20th 1941. It was reported that £3,137-9-3 of the claim re the removal of tenants to Wellhouse Mill had been recommended for payment; that £1,018-12-2 had been disallowed and that £2,363-8-9 had been referred for further consideration.
December 18th 1941. It was reported that it was understood that the Government Storage Department had agreed with the tenants concerned at Wellhouse Mill to pay for storage space taken: Ellerbank, £115 per annum. WD&E Nutter, £406. Horsfield (Bankfield) Ltd £106. Total of £627 per annum being at the rate of 2/- per square yard, the government to pay rates, repairs etc. [In effect, a repairing lease.]
May 21st 1942. It was reported that a Payable Order for £2461-13-1 had been received from MAP which together with £1000 received previously on account made a total of £3461-13-1 in settlement of our claim under Section 2(1) (D) of the Compensation (Defence) Act 1939. [I assume that this is the removal expenses from CH to WH.]
Rents. A copy of a letter sent out by the Manufacturer's Association of Burnley and Nelson was read in which a recommendation was made re the rent of stopped mills and stating that the sub-committee appointed by them to deal with the matter had unanimously recommended firms (members) to pay 50% of the loom rent (not tape rent) based on the total number of looms formerly in their occupation on the understanding that at a later date the amount paid will be adjusted up or down according to a final recommendation. Res. That in view of the letter the manufacturing tenants at Wellhouse Mill be asked to pay a provisional rent equivalent to half the rent on the total number of looms previously occupied by them. [This is dead money as all looms are stopped. It has always surprised me that the manufacturers paid it. I suspect those that did were optimists looking forward to the return of the good old days after the war and this was regarded as rent for plant storage.]
August 6th 1942. Mr Wood reported that J Widdup and Sons Ltd had paid £250 on account for storage of looms at Wellhouse Mill.
November 19th 1942. An offer from one of the tenants of the portion of Wellhouse Mill recently requisitioned to pay over the amount receivable by him from the Cotton Board for maintenance of plant together with the cash received in respect of premises requisitioned from him by the government was reported. Res. That negotiations on these lines should be continued. [The board are groping their way towards a model for dealing with the new situation.]
December 17th 1942. A letter was read which had been sent out by the Nelson and District Manufacturer's Association to their members dated December 8th 1942 stating that the figure for rent of closed mills had been agreed at 45/6 per loom per annum based on 40” reed-space. Particulars were given of the amounts paid by the various tenants at Wellhouse Mill to date. [We don't know enough details about this matter. I suspect that the per annum loom rent for a loom was being used as a basis for quantifying a reduced storage charge. In the case of tenants whose space had been requisitioned I think that they were simply paying anything received from the government direct to the CHSC and this was accepted as the figure for storage.]
January 21st 1943. A letter from the Manchester Guardian was read intimating that in consequence of the change in position as regards the supply of paper they will not require the premises at Wellhouse Mill. The secretary had replied that we would communicate with the Ministry and offer the premises to them and would write to them later. The secretary reported that he had been in communication with the Mersey Tobacco Bond Ltd offering these premises to them and that they were looking into the matter. [Later developments show that newsprint was still stored as it is mentioned at the end of the war. Despite this the Mersey Tobacco Bond moved in and presumably paid rent direct to the CHSC. The Nigerian Tobacco Bond took space in Butts. It should be borne in mind that during the war the government took control of virtually all manufacturing and the supply network. As part of this they ensured that 'buffer stocks' of essential materials were maintained in safe locations. For many years after the war there were 'buffer depots' scattered all over the country, usually in rural locations, where stocks of essentials were maintained and rotated to maintain quality. By the end of 1995 all had been closed.]
May 20th 1943. The secretary reported that the account for heating Wellhouse Mill amounting to £313-13-0 had been passed for payment. [The engine is stopped but the premises still require heat. It becomes obvious later that the engineer, Tom Marshall, has been kept on as an employee of the Mersey Tobacco Bond and is running one of the three Lancashire boilers for heating the mill. I suspect he's keeping an eye on the engine as well ready for the restart after the war. This payment will be for essential boiler maintenance, still the responsibility of the CHSC as they would be the insurers.]
January 20th 1944. Mr Wood reported that owing to the increase in costs various Room and Power companies in the district were arranging for an increase of 10%. As the CHSC mills had been requisitioned, no looms were running so this matter did not directly affect the company's tenants except for the increased costs of the power plant (boilers and engine) at Wellhouse Mill when running re-commenced. Res. That the matter be left over for further consideration. [CHSC are looking forward to the time when weaving can re-commence at Wellhouse Mill after the war. There was an air of optimism growing in 1944. Remember that 'D' Day was to be on June 6th 1944 when the liberation of Europe started.]
September 21st 1944. Reported that Mr Moore of the Admiralty had seen Mr Banks re their use of unrequisitioned land belonging to CHSC lying between Wellhouse Mill and the old foundry belonging to Messrs Brown and a plan was submitted of the land proposed to be requisitioned. [A pencil note dated October 19th suggests a rent of £10. The Admiralty have taken over what used to be Henry Brown and Sons' foundry which I think still belonged to the Marsden Building Society after the foreclosure in 1929. The Admiralty have used CHSC land to make a road to it. This building is now occupied by Gissing and Lonsdale.]
August 23rd 1945. In view of the termination of the war the Manchester Guardian and Evening News Ltd had decided to give notice of their tenancy at Wellhouse Mill on December 31st 1945. [They must have decided to stay after all.]

The Calf Hall Shed Company has survived the war. Because of the complicated circumstances of requisition they have been introduced to new management mechanisms. Now they have to contend with the peace and the complications of de-requisitioning. Let's see how they ran the business after the war.


The easiest way to clarify what happened after the war is to deal with the process of returning the company's three mills back to full CHSC control before we follow what the company did with them. The first thing that had to happen was de-requisitioning when the government relinquished interest in all three mills. Remember that when the war started, Butts and Calf Hall were weaving sheds with no mains electricity for power, old flagged floors and subdivided for weaving tenancy. During the course of the war all of Calf Hall and most of Butts has been modernised, new roads built, services installed and in some cases new buildings erected. Wellhouse had not been fully requisitioned and modernised so the position there was slightly different. The various government functions that had used Wellhouse did so on repairing leases and so all that had to be addressed after de-requisitioning were any adjustments needed to ensure that the space was handed back in at least as good condition as it had been before the war.
In the case of Butts and Calf Hall the government attitude was that 'betterment', the investment in modernisation, had to be paid for. Let's have a look at what this entailed. One final word of explanation, in 1945 Grove Engineering were working in Butts Mill as tenants of the MAP and a woollen firm called Blin and Blin have agreed to become tenants of the whole of Calf Hall Shed.
September 20th 1945. A report was read as to the present position re the negotiations for de-requisitioning and re-letting of Butts Mill and Calf Hall Shed. [These mills had been totally modernised to the standards necessary for aero engine maintenance and repair. Good floors, decorated and new mains services including electrical wiring. They were in far better condition than they had been when taken over. Remember also that all the shafting had been taken out, the Musgrave engine at Butts has gone but the old Roberts engine at Calf Hall is still in situ, these were now modern factories.]
Butts Mill: Mr Wood reported that negotiations were proceeding with Grove Engineering Co Ltd. He said that, subject to the confirmation of the directors it had been agreed that the portion of Butts Mill at present requisitioned by the government should be let to the Grove Engineering Co Ltd for a term of ten years at £1,450 per annum. The lease to undertake full maintenance of the premises and be responsible for the rates, insurance and all other outgoings with the exception of Schedule 'A' Income Tax. It had already been agreed that in case a supply of steam is not available for heating from Calf Hall Shed, CHSC would put in a boiler at Butts and make a nominal charge for interest and depreciation not exceeding £50 per annum. The agreement was subject to the proviso that the government agreed to a reasonable settlement of the question of reparations (if any) which CHSC would have to pay. [Grove Engineering was a spin-off from the Rover Co's operations at Grove Mill in Earby. Grove Mill was taken over after the war by Armoride's, a firm that made plastic seat covering for the motor industry. A successor firm, Wardle Storey is still in business there in 2011. Grove Engineering must have seen the space in Butts as a cheaper option then staying where they were. CHSC must have been contemplating putting a steam main in to Butts from Calf Hall Shed, they had evidently decided that at least one element of the Room and Power system would remain under their control.]
Calf Hall Shed: It was reported that following the last meeting of directors further negotiations had taken place regarding the proposed agreement with Blin and Blin Textile Fabrics Ltd of Huddersfield and that company had been asked to confirm in writing the provisional agreement reached. A letter had been received from Messrs Marshall, Shaw and Lister, solicitors, stating that Blin and Blin would make a firm offer to lease the property for a term of forty years (determinable at the option of the tenants after twenty years) at an annual rent of £2,000 without any liability on their part to make any contribution towards the sum, if any, to be paid to the government for improvements to the property.
Res. That a reply should be sent stating that CHSC confirmed the secretary's provisional agreement with Mr Fletcher of Blin and Blin for an annual rent of £2,000 for a period of 15 years, Blin and Blin to maintain the property, pay rates and all other outgoings except Schedule 'A' Income Tax but also to pay an additional 5% per annum on the sum payable to the government by CHSC for improvements made to the property. It was also suggested that should Blin and Blin care to extend the period of the lease beyond 15 years the directors might be persuaded to reduce the rate of interest payable from 5% to 4%. Res. That Mr Singleton, valuer, of Blackburn, and Smith, Smith, solicitors of Burnley, be retained to carry out the necessary valuations and legal work involved in the negotiations.
November 15th 1945. Re the de-requisition and re-letting of Calf Hall Shed and Butts Mill it was reported that no further progress had been made since the last meeting except that Mr Blin and Mr Fletcher had called to see Mr Wood to enquire into the position and some general conversation had ensued. It was also reported that a letter had been received from the MAP stating that the Chief Valuer had been instructed to commence negotiations re the adaptations carried out by the Ministry at Calf Hall Shed.
January 17th 1946. It was reported that the tenants at Wellhouse Mill had received notice that the premises requisitioned from them for the storage of tobacco [The Mersey Bond] would be de-requisitioned on January 31st 1946. (Pencil note in margin dated February 21st 1946 'Not de-requisitioned yet. Per Mr Horsfield'.)
March 21st 1946. It was reported that a letter had been received from the Admiralty Lands Office dated March 20th accepting responsibility for repairs to the roof at Wellhouse Mill which have been carried out by CHSC on the requisitioned portion of the premises and suggesting that the cost of these repairs be included in the claim for reinstatement which would arise on release. Res. That this should be agreed to.
It was reported that Tom Marshall [The engineer at Wellhouse up to the engine being stopped.] was ceasing to be employed as boilerman by the Mersey Tobacco Bond on March 23rd and from that date his full services could be given to CHSC. Res. That he be paid the engine man's union rate for a normal week, £6-4-0 per week until such time the engine restarts when the matter will be revised. [There would be much rejoicing at Brown and Pickles and I have little doubt that Johnny Pickles and Tom Marshall got their heads together to plan what needed to be done prior to the restart.]
It was reported that Mr Singleton had met the District Valuer who said that the amounts payable by CHSC to the government in connection with money expended on Calf Hall Shed and Butts Mill during the period of requisition would be £33,000 for Calf Hall and £15,000 for Butts Mill, the latter including the brick building erected on land adjoining Butts Mill and not the property of the company. [On the land owned by the Conservative Club and used pre-war as a bowling green.] Mr Singleton had not yet received the schedule of the improvement from the District Valuer and was therefore not yet in a position to go into the details. [I knew George Singleton and he was a very upright and honest man. He was also skilled in negotiation and there is little doubt that he would do the best he could for his clients strictly within the rules.] It was also reported that a figure of £33,000 had been given in confidence to Mr Fletcher of Blin and Blin's who had said in reply that the maximum amount that Blin and Blin were prepared to go was an annual rent of £2,000 together with 4% on a maximum of £25,000, the lease to be for twenty years and possibly to be reviewed at the end of ten or fifteen years. It was unanimously resolved that negotiations with the District Valuer should be continued with a view to an agreement on the lowest possible figure for CHSC and that Blin and Blin would be in order in assuming that the tenancy would be arranged. It was considered that the matter of Butts Mill could be left over for future consideration as Grove Engineering were already in the premises as tenants of the Ministry. [Who were paying rent direct to the CHSC.]
May 16th 1946. It was reported that schedules and plans of the Government's Betterment Claim on Calf Hall Shed and Butts Mill had been received by Mr Singleton from the District Valuer and that Mr Singleton had an interview with him on May 14th. He was preparing a report on the position which would be submitted to the directors. It was reported that Mr Singleton had advised that CHSC would be in order signing the indemnity required by the government to facilitate the entry of Blin and Blin into Calf Hall Shed and this would not prejudice the company's position. Res. That in view of Mr Singleton's advice the indemnity should be signed. It was reported also that Mr Singleton had advised that the company would be in order disposing of the engines at Calf Hall Shed and that this would not compromise their position. In view of the urgent request of Blin and Blin for this to be done it was resolved that the engine be disposed of at the best possible price. [Sentimental I know but very sad to see an old servant of the company going like this. Remember the overload it shouldered for over fifty years.]
Reading between the lines, this was a difficult period for the board. Rover have moved out of Calf Hall and Butts but neither is as yet de-requisitioned, this couldn't happen until betterment has been agreed and paid. Despite this, the board has to lay out money at Calf Hall preparing the shed for the Blin and Blin tenancy. There are no certainties and I suspect that the advice of George Singleton, who, being deeply immersed in this process in other parts of Lancashire, could give reassurance as to the probable outcome, was a valued asset.
June 6th 1946. Mr Hedges read a letter from Mr Singleton dated June 4th stating that the District Valuer would not accept an offer lower than £26,000 for Calf Hall Shed and £15,000 for Butts including the building on the site owned by the Conservative Club [This was a new brick building erected on land belonging to the Conservative Club next to, and run during the war as part of, Butts Mill. Theoretically it belonged to them but I suspect they were quite happy to let the board conduct the negotiations and eventually take over the building as part of Butts after buying the land off them.] but excluding the land itself. Mr Smith said that if agreement were not reached, the alternative was that the government would invoke compulsory powers to take the premises at 1939 prices which Mr Singleton had put at £7,000 for Calf Hall Shed and £1,638 for Butts. [Hard ball!] Res. That Mr Singleton be empowered to make the best settlement possible, Calf Hall £26,000 and Butts £15,000 subject to CHSC being able to acquire the land from the Conservative Club at a reasonable price and the District Valuer giving assistance to do this. [There is a note in ink next to this entry: 'See Mr Singleton's letter June 15th 1946. Agreed: CH £24,000 and Butts £13,000.']
Reported that a letter had been received from the Board of Trade to the effect that they understood that the Admiralty did not intend to retain Wellhouse Mill permanently but that the date of de-requisition had not yet been fixed.
All this is bad news but the board now know the size of the problem. They coped with it by running an overdraft of up to £35,000 with their bank. Jumping forward to October 20th 1955; 'it was reported that £17,728 had been received from the insurance companies re the fire at Butts Mill and that £13,000 had been placed on deposit with the bank on September 12th at 2½% interest and subject to one week's notice of withdrawal'. [For the first time since the war the CHSC had a credit balance at the bank and £13,000 on deposit. Ten years of crippling interest charges came to an end.]
November 14th 1946. Reported that the government has given up possession of Wellhouse Mill and that the CHSC could repossess the premises. Also reported that a settlement had been reached with the Admiralty for the payment of £2,145-3-5 in connection with the dilapidations on the portion of the premises requisitioned by them.
April 17th 1947. It was reported that Butts Mill had been de-requisitioned on April 14th 1947 and that payment of £13,000 betterment had been made.
November 20th 1947. It was reported that Wellhouse Mill had commenced running on November 3rd. [There would be lot of happy faces that morning, not least in the shop at Brown and Pickles, they were still working on other engines but Wellhouse had always been their particular baby. I'll bet a pound they were all down there to watch it start! Newton told me that the ting he remembered clearly was the smell from the stagnant water in the air pumps when he and Tom Marshall first turned the engine over. We had the same experience 40 years later at Ellenroad!]
As we've already noted, the company came out of the war with an overdraft of up to £35,000 and uncertain trading conditions. All of Calf Hall and a large part of Butts is let. Wellhouse is weaving again but short of tenants. The positive side of all this is that Butts and Calf Hall are now modern premises. This was true of all the de-requisitioned factories in the area and was to be a great advantage during the post war years. Many of these mills are still being used for industry as I write this in 2011.
Let's look at the final phase, the end of weaving and the rise of the new industries. Don't worry, the board are all able men, they are going to survive!


The one thing that is certain about the two World Wars is that when the fog of battle cleared the landscape was different. Not just physically, technology and society had changed also. In 1945 the steam mills were almost a thing of the past, only five engines were left running in Barlick. New industries had come into the town with the Shadow Factories and the incomers taking up modernised space after the war. The old wage structures were shattered and in the heady days immediately after the war, with a Labour administration revising Council Housing, building the National Health Service and instituting the Welfare State it was a completely new world. This was the ethos the CHSC directors and the remaining manufacturers had to accommodate. There is much evidence in the LTP about managers who were determined to go back to the pre-war ethos and 'bring the workers to heel'. They were in for a surprise, this was unknown territory and like the CHSC they had to adapt to survive. The evidence of the minutes seems to be that the CHSC board understood this and soon saw the advantages of new repairing leases and none-weaving tenancies.
Just to remind you, Calf Hall Shed is let to Blin and Blin on a long repairing lease for £2,000 per annum plus 4% of the betterment. I shall report changes in that situation as they arise.
Let's follow Butts which in 1945 has one major tenant, Grove Engineering. They have the modernised section of the mill used by the Rover Company during the war for aero engine repairs. They were to take a ten year repairing lease at £1,450 per annum. There are some smaller tenancies as well, Butts was being managed as what we would now call unit space development and this model was emulated in many of the old mills.
October 18th 1945. It was reported that following the letter to the Grove Engineering Co setting out the terms agreed on at the last meeting of the directors, Grove Engineering had been in communication with the various government departments and that the MAP had agreed to accept them as provisional tenants at Butts Mill at a nominal rent from Monday October 22nd and that financial negotiations were to be put in hand with CHSC immediately. Mr Hedges gave a report of the various points raised at a meeting at the Board of Trade offices in Leeds on Tuesday last [The minutes say October 18th but I think this should be the 11th.] which he attended with Mr Karam of Grove Engineering. [I get the impression that the MAP are doing all they can to assist Grove Engineering to make a new start at Butts. Unlike the aftermath of WW1 when the 'Geddes Axe' terminated all government contracts and caused much damage to manufacturing industry political decisions had been made to try to effect a smooth transition to a peace time economy. It may be that this included some continuation of war time contracts and this may have been what Grove were engaged in. For an interesting first hand account of the effects of the Geddes Axe on industry after WW1 seek out the privately published autobiography of John Howlett, OBE, 'The Guv'nor', the story of the Wellworthy piston ring company.]
Information was also given to the directors as to the negotiations with the Ministry re Sough Bridge Mill at Kelbrook. [Remember that Proctor and Proctor were acting for many mills in the area so they would have direct knowledge of this matter. Sough Bridge Mill had been a Rover Company shadow factory during the war and immediately after the war ended it was taken over by Bristol Tractors, a branch of the Jowett Motor Co at Bradford. Grove Mill in Earby eventually became Armoride. There was a huge demand for industrial premises and more importantly, for a skilled labour force nurtured by the high tech aero engine industry. Barnoldswick and Earby were very attractive locations for these reasons. Commercial information like the circumstances at Sough Bridge was gold dust to the directors as they negotiated their way through these novel circumstances, they own a mill and get rent for it from a government department who have sub-let it to Grove Engineering but will not relinquish it until the betterment claims have been settled. Nothing in the director's experience prepared them for this. The betterment claim for Butts was settled at £13,000 on April 17th 1947 and the mill de-requisitioned.]
March 18th 1948. It was reported that the draft lease to the Grove Engineering Co Ltd of the portion of Butts Mill occupied by them had been received from the solicitors and would be sent to Grove Engineering as soon as the schedule of landlord's fixtures and fittings had been agreed. [CHSC were now the landlords to Grove Engineering.]
September 23rd 1948. It was reported that a Receiver had been appointed in Grove Engineering Co Ltd. It was understood that the appointment was made by the Debenture Holders. A letter was read from the Receiver of Grove Engineering re the recent flooding. Mr Duxbury stated that he had inspected the goit which appeared to be structurally in order and that there seemed to be no obstruction. He stated that when the flooding occurred the volume of water appeared to be more than the goit could take. It was agreed that the occurrence was of an extremely unusual character and appeared to be an Act of God. [The Receiver is managing Grove Engineering and they are still trading.]
May 19th 1949. It was reported that at an informal meeting with the creditors of Grove Engineering held on April 29th an offer to pay 2/6 in the £ to unsecured creditors had been made and accepted by the majority present. Nothing further however was yet known as to whether the company would carry on.
January 19th 1950. It was reported that a notice had been received from Mr Woolley, manager and Receiver for Grove Engineering that he had ceased to carry on the business and was selling the plant and machinery by auction. He gave notice to terminate the tenancy on April 14th 1950. Res. That the attention of Mr Woolley be drawn to the list of fixtures and fittings and schedule of conditions of the tenancy so that the whole of the fixtures and fittings should be delivered up to CHSC and the premises also delivered up in a state of good and tenantable repair. [That tenancy didn't go too well did it. However there are other fish to fry.]
December 15th 1949. Res. That the top portion of Butts Mill now occupied by Mrs Whipp should be let to Clarke's Mattresses of Skipton from January 1st 1950 at £150 per annum, tenant responsible for rates, internal repairs, heating and lighting and that the landlord construct two lavatories and wash basins and entrance, fire escape and carry out external repairs. Res. That in consequence of this letting Mrs Whipp's rent be reduced to £110 per annum, the tenant to be responsible etc. [An important entry. This was the start of Tom Clarke's association with CHSC which culminated in him eventually buying Wellhouse Mill in 1978. He also became the owner of Moss Shed, Salterforth Shed and Clough Mill. His firm became Silentnight, reputed to be the biggest bedding company in the world and still active in Barlick in 2011. During the transcription word has been received that Silentnight are in serious financial trouble. At the date of writing, a venture capital company has taken over the business.]
February 16th 1950. A report was given of a meeting on February 14th 1950 between Messrs Jacques, Duxbury and A V Hedges representing CHSC and the directors of John C Carlson Ltd at which it was agreed that portions of Butts Mill now occupied by Grove Engineering and being vacated by them on February 14th should be leased to Carlson's from April 15th 1950 for a term of 15 years with an option for the lessee to break on the 5th or 10th year at a yearly rent of £1,600, the tenant being responsible for maintenance and insurance of the building and to have first option on any other part of Butts Mill becoming vacant. Res. That the agreement be confirmed and that Smith Smith be instructed to draw up a lease. [John C Carlson Ltd became Carlson Ford and later Carlson Filtration, they eventually bought Butts Mill and are still there in 2011 producing high quality filtration media.]
November 16th 1950. Res. That the CHSC common seal be affixed to the lease to John C Carlson Ltd of a portion of Butts Mill, the terms of which were set out at the meeting on February 16th 1950.
May 17th 1951. 'Mr Duxbury stated that Clarke's Mattresses were interested in the tenancy of the engine house at Butts Mill. It had been pointed out however that under the terms of the lease this must first be offered to John C Carlson and it was agreed that Mr Duxbury should see Tom Clarke, explain the position to him and then consult with Carlson's. It was thought that a rent of £100 per annum should be asked subject to a year's grace, the tenant to make good the floor and do all necessary alterations'.
I shan't detail all the small increments in either Carlson's or Tom Clarke's tenancies as they gradually expanded. They were both good tenants on repairing leases and had excellent relations with the directors, I have found no instance of any disagreement. There were other small tenancies and adjustments at Butts Mill over the years, I shall return when there is something significant to report. One small point to note is that in 1947 Edward Aldersley, is weaving with possibly 290 looms in Monkroyd Shed, a small weaving shed at the back of Butts Mill. He had no registered looms during the war and so I assume they stayed in the shed unused under a storage agreement and after the end of the Cotton Control Board regulations in late 1947 he restarted them using individual electric motors. Edward Aldersley had more than one iron in the fire at Butts, he was associated with other lettings. The only clue I can offer is this entry from March 20th 1947. 'A letter from Edward Aldersley Ltd was read dated March 17th in which he accepted the CHSC offer to rent the building adjoining the premises already occupied by him [Monkroyd Shed?], the ground floor of which was occupied by Mr Dixon. The rent to be £45 per annum for the top floor from April 1st 1947 and £55 per annum for the ground floor from July 1st 1947, he to pay his own rates'. My feeling is that this is Aldersley arranging for warehouse space to go with the shed. The date is right, the Cotton Controls are being relaxed. Note that this is not the old Room and Power tenancy agreement but a lease of space to accommodate looms with individual electric motors. [I apologise for not having a complete picture for Aldersley, it's confusing. The name Ellison is associated with him and this firm had a small number of licensed looms during the war. It may be that Aldersley was running about 60 of his looms under the licence granted to Ellison. That's as near as I can get. If this is correct, a small number of looms ran in Butts right through the war.]
We need to look at Wellhouse Mill. We left it as the engine restarted under the old engineer on November 3rd 1947. It is very difficult to identify the firms who were still weaving, the trade directories are works of fiction during the war years and the immediate aftermath. I suspect that names to watch out for at Wellhouse are the Ellerbank Manufacturing Co, Horsfield (Bankfield) Ltd, WE&D Nutter, Ellison, Midgely and possibly Widdups. This will become clearer as we search the minutes. The crucial fact for our narrative is that this is the rump of the CHSC's pre-war business. Calf Hall and Butts are being operated on simple industrial tenancies and repairing leases. We shall see how this model also comes to be used at Wellhouse as weaving declines further and other opportunities arise. From here on I shall report mainly on Wellhouse but insert developments with the other mills as they arise in the chronological order.
August 15th 1946. Res. That tenders be obtained from James Proctor of Burnley for two new stokers for boilers 2 & 3 at Wellhouse Mill. [They have been out of use and deteriorated during the war years I suspect. Cheaper to renew the stokers than repair them. Remember that one boiler had been in use for heating and was probably in better condition.]
April 17th 1947. It was reported that J&D Ellison had applied for space and Mr Duxbury had promised to see them with a view to letting a portion of the space at Wellhouse Mill partially occupied by Messrs Eli Johnson and Sons. That Messrs Johnson's rent be reduced from 20/- to 15/- per week as from April 1st 1947. That Briggs and Duxbury be authorised to carry out the repairs to the shed walls at Wellhouse Mill abutting on Mr Midgley's portion of the shed.
May 15th 1947. A report was given re tenancies at Wellhouse Mill and correspondence from WD&E Nutter was read. Tentative applications for space from Williamson and Son, Lancaster and Mr Aldersley [Trading as Ellison?] were discussed. It was also reported that Messrs Midgely had applied for slightly increased space. It was reported that an application had been received from Rolls Royce Ltd for a tenancy of the portion of the yard at Coates Wharf which had been requisitioned by the Ministry from R O'Neill. [A tenant of CHSC? They were still owners of the wharf. This must be a sub-let.] It was agreed that this portion should be let to Rolls Royce as from March 17th 1947 at a rent of £10 per annum, the other portion to be let to R O'Neill at £10 per annum also to date from March 17th 1947. [Coates Wharf was used by Rolls for many years for their stockpile of coal for Bankfield Shed across the road. Bear in mind that while Rover had relinquished their tenancies in the shadow factories after the war, Rolls Royce had stayed on at Bankfield and their new factory at Gill Brow. I think it possible that Bankfield was still owned by British Celanese and rented by the MAP but after the war a de-requisitioning exercise similar to the one that CHSC went through would have taken place and at that point Rolls Royce bought Bankfield. This is conjecture but I think it's most likely correct. They are still there in 2011. The last mention of Coates Wharf in the minutes is in November 1955 when Rolls Royce are offered 'the remainder of the land' for £125. I assume that they bought it and owned the whole site.]
June 19th 1947. It was reported that following an enquiry from Messrs Midgley and Co and a letter from the Cotton Control Board it was hoped to start running on September 1st at Wellhouse Mill with the following number of looms:
Horsfield (Bankfield) Ltd 200 looms
E Midgley and Co 200 looms
WD&E Nutter Ltd 250 looms
[Start date was November 3rd 1947. Henry Brown Sons and Pickles were given the task of re-starting the engine at Wellhouse. Newton told me about it, he went down and together with Tom Marshall they started the engine and ran it while they checked the lubrication of the shafting and the valve settings. The engine had a lot of load on when it stopped and was starting with a light load so a lot had to be done. This would include checking the new generator and electric lighting. History repeated itself forty years later when Newton played out with me when I restarted the 3,000hp engine at Ellenroad after it had been stopped for over ten years. I can tell you it's exciting stuff and very dangerous, you never forget it!]
An application was received from Messrs Widdup for a temporary tenancy of the spare land at Wellhouse Mill to be used for the storage and breaking up of looms. Res. That this should be agreed to and that Harold Duxbury should negotiate a suitable rent. [Loom-breaking became a common occurrence once the ultimate decline of the industry was accepted. Many of these looms would have been in storage during WW2 in the hope that happy days would be here again but reality had set in. There is nothing more depressing to anyone who has worked in the industry than seeing good machinery being scrapped.]
July 28th 1947. It was reported that conversations were taking place with James Slater Ltd re the possibility of them taking a tenancy at Wellhouse Mill. It was reported that provisional arrangements with Widdup for temporary occupation of land at Wellhouse Mill for storage and breaking up of looms as reported at the last meeting had fallen through. [Most likely the looms were taken direct to the foundry for breaking up.]
That the offer of Electrification Ltd for the provision of a Control Panel for the electrical installation at Wellhouse Mill of £365 be accepted. [Wellhouse has to be prepared for restarting. A large alternator had been installed driven by the engine to supply mains voltage power to electrically driven looms.]
September 25th 1947. A report was given of negotiations with James Slater Ltd regarding the tenancy of part of Wellhouse Mill formerly occupied by Horsfield (Bankfield) Ltd. Res That the terms set out in a letter of September 5th 1947 to James Slater Ltd be confirmed. Res. That the letting of part of Wellhouse Mill formerly occupied by M Horsfield and Sons Ltd to Messrs Joshua Dunkerley and Son Ltd be confirmed. The tenancy to be a monthly one and the rent to be £52-10-10 per month. The premises to be used for temporary storage of looms. [The tenancies specified above would be all looms stored, not running. This item gives an idea of the rent the manufacturers had been paying for loom storage. It looks like £600 per annum for 200 looms. This is what it cost the firms with unregistered looms to hang on hoping for better days.]
October 23rd 1947. The question of the basis of rent charges for the starting-up of looms at Wellhouse Mill was considered. Res. That for the first three months rent should be paid on looms running where this exceeded the standing rent now being paid. Res. That from the date the engine starts running at Wellhouse Mill now arranged for November 3rd the wage of Tom Marshall, engine man, be increased to £8-5-0 per week.
November 20th 1947. It was reported that Wellhouse Mill had commenced running on November 3rd. A report was given of provisional negotiations with Alexandra Mill Co Ltd for the occupation by them of the shed space at Wellhouse Mill formerly occupied by M Horsfield and Sons Ltd, their intention being to use it for stocking knitting. It had been suggested that CHSC would be prepared to let it to them for £100 per annum exclusive of power, heating and lighting. CHSC to be liable for rates and insurance of the building and the tenants for all repairs, maintenance, alterations, installations and air-conditioning required. CHSC to be responsible for asphalting the floor. No further development had taken place and it was resolved that negotiations should continue on the same basis. [This tenancy never materialised but worth noting that after the war Stephen Pickles at Long Ing Shed went over from weaving to knitting.] It was also reported that an enquiry for space for 50 to 100 Jacquard looms had been received from Darlington Fabrics Ltd and for space for approximately 50 looms from Mr E Holden of Rook Street Barnoldswick. The question of the letting of the warehouse space at Wellhouse formerly occupied by M Horsfield and Sons Ltd was also discussed and it was stated that Brown and Pickles had offered to pay £78 per annum for a portion of the first and second floors and Mr Duxbury stated that he was in touch with a possible tenant for the top storey at a rent of possibly £150 per annum provided a separate entrance from Wellhouse Road was made. [The Brown and Pickles tenancy at Wellhouse Mill continued through the war and outlived the CHSC. When Silentnight bought Wellhouse in 1978 Brown and Pickles carried on until demolition in 1982.]
December 18th 1947. A report was given as to an enquiry made by G S Sidebottom and Co Ltd re vacant space at Wellhouse Mill previously occupied by M Horsfield and Sons Ltd. It was also reported that the Alexandra Mill Co Ltd who had previously been in negotiation for this space had now made arrangements at their own premises in Macclesfield and were therefore not now interested in the tenancy.
January 15th 1948. A report on the position at Wellhouse Mill was given, particulars of negotiations with Nutter Brothers Ltd for the tenancy of the space formerly occupied by M Horsfield and Sons Ltd and with Messrs Sidebottom and Co Ltd for the tenancy of space at present occupied by John Widdup and Sons Ltd which they had given notice to terminate on March 31st 1948. Letters dated January 5th to both of these firms setting out the suggested terms of tenancy were read and approved. Nutter Brothers tenancy to commence May 1st 1948 and a provisional date for Sidebottom of April 1st subject to adjustment if necessary. Reference was made to the date on which the normal basis of rent shall come into force. Res. That this be further discussed at the next meeting.
February 19th 1948. A report was given on Wellhouse Mill. Nothing had been heard from G S Sidebottom as to whether they had received a licence from the Cotton Control Board. [It looks as though new start-ups were still being controlled.] James Slater Ltd had stated that a number of flags in the weaving shed were loose and the loom feet would have to be set in concrete. It was agreed that this was the landlord's responsibility. [It was generally accepted that it was a bad thing for a Lancashire loom to be fastened down rigidly, the tacklers liked to see them 'breathe' a bit while they were running. At Bancroft we re-set our own looms and used to sit the feet on thick pads of felt impregnated with a sticky bitumen which worked well but our flags were firm.]
A letter containing an estimate from Metropolitan Vickers Ltd of £78-2-6 for replacement of the automatic voltage regulator at Wellhouse Mill was read and it was agreed that the work should be done. Res. That the rents at Wellhouse Mill be continued to be charged on looms running for the time being until the position became more settled. [I'm not sure if the following is the case but I have the evidence of Walter Fisher of Brown and Pickles that the installation of the new alternator at WH was done by Ellison's and due to a mistake in routing the bus bars carrying current from the alternator, when first started there was a very serious dead short to earth. Walter said it was the only time he had ever seen the ropes on an engine flywheel slip, the overload was so great. It may be that this has resulted in the destruction of the original regulator and that this item is the replacement. Both Walter and Newton Pickles suspected that this sudden overload on the engine may have been the start, or at least, a contributory cause, of the fracture of the engine fly-shaft which occurred on May 22nd 1951.]
March 18th 1948. It was reported that G S Sidebottom and Co Ltd had signed a tenancy agreement for the space at Wellhouse Mill to be vacated by J Widdup and Sons by March 31st 1948 and that they had asked for the space to be cleared and the necessary repairs put in hand as soon as possible. A letter from James Slater dated March 11th was read in which they asked that the asphalting of their alleys should be put in hand as soon as possible. [The alley was the space between looms and blocks of looms. The former was the weaver's alley and the latter the broad alley. I suspect this is the broad alleys.] Res. That for the time being Mr Duxbury should arrange for the worst places to be made good. Mr Wood reported an interview with Mr Fletcher of Blin and Blin re the chimney at Calf Hall Shed which was in a dangerous condition. Res. That CHSC should contribute a third of the cost of approximately £582, that is £194. [The boiler at Calf Hall Shed was still in use for process and heating steam. I suspect that the work referred to is the removal of the head of the chimney and stabilising the shaft by re-pointing. This was its condition when I knew it from 1960 onwards.]
Mr Wood reported he had received a letter from Martins Bank re the overdraft and together with Mr Hedges had called to see Mr Whitaker the branch manager. It had been pointed out that rather higher expenditure than had been originally anticipated was being undertaken including the provision of generators, installation of electric light and the provision of new lavatories etc. Although the whole of Wellhouse Mill was now let it would be some time before full production could be obtained and there would not be a considerable increase in income for some time. It was possible that the overdraft might increase a little further. [I insert this item to remind us that CHSC was running an overdraft of over £30,000 at this time caused by the betterment payments to the government as part of de-requisition of Butts and Calf Hall.]
It was reported that additional warehouse space at Wellhouse of approximately 90 square yards had been transferred from the premises formerly occupied by Widdup's to E Midgley's tenancy. It was considered that a reasonable rent for this was £20 per annum. A report was given re the looms still on the premises belonging to Messrs Haighton and Messrs Goggins. Res. That every endeavour be made to get these removed at the earliest possible date. [These firms were never weaving tenants of the CHSC, this is war time loom storage, most likely stacked two high.]
May 20th 1948. A report was given on the water supply at Wellhouse Mill. Mr Duxbury said that his men were engaged in cleaning out the well and he would endeavour to trace the suspected leakage from the dam. It was reported that a meeting of Room and Power owners in the district from Burnley to Barnoldswick had been held at which it was decided to form a Room and Power Owners Association and that at this meeting it was decided that owing to the increase in costs generally, the basic rate should be increased from £6-17-4 to £7 per loom per annum and that there should be no allowances for stopped looms, both alterations to come in from July 1st 1948. Res. That CHSC should join the association and that the amended terms be adopted. WH Rents. In view of the present position it was resolved that the matter be held over until the new rates come into force on July 1st 1948.
July 15th 1948. It was reported that arrangements were being made between James Slater Ltd and Horsfield's (Bankfield) for the running of looms in the portion of space at Wellhouse Mill not yet completely filled up by Horsfield's (Bankfield). Res. In connection with this, that the looms belonging to CHSC stored at Wellhouse Mill should be sold, five of these being purchased by Messrs Horsfield. Res. That the open store shed opposite the engine house at Wellhouse Mill should be let to Brown and Pickles at £20 per annum from July 1st 1948.
December 16th 1948. It was reported that James Slater Ltd had asked for approval for the installation of between 30 and 40 additional looms in the portion of Wellhouse Mill now occupied as a warehouse. Res. That this be agreed. Slaters also enquired whether the directors would agree to lease them for a period of say five years, the portion of Wellhouse Mill now occupied by them. It was considered that no objection would be taken to a proposed lease. [This is significant as it signals a consolidation of the changes in the relationship between CHSC and a weaving tenant. Instead of the usual tenancy agreement it becomes a lease with more security for both parties. The period of frenetic shuffling from one shed to another to chase grace periods is over.]
February 17th 1949. That in view of the valuable services and extra work rendered by Tom Marshall the engine man at Wellhouse Mill he be given a bonus of £50 after payment of tax.
June 16th 1949. A letter from James Slater Ltd re expenditure incurred by them at Wellhouse Mill was considered, the items consisting of a charge for additional shafting etc of £477-10-3 and expenditure on the office, canteen and warehouse etc £275-4-10. It was considered that this expenditure had been incurred by James Slater for their own benefit but that CHSC would offer £100 towards the additional shafting. [Note the mention of the canteen. The provision of canteen facilities by a weaving firm would have been unheard of before the war. After the war, when 'Britain's Bread hung on Lancashire's Thread' and labour was scarce the manufacturers had to provide incentives to get weavers into the shed. Canteens and subsidised transport to and from work at rural mills became common.]
April 20th 1950. Consideration was given to a request for an extension at Wellhouse Mill to provide further accommodation for G Sidebottom and Co Ltd and E Midgley and Co Ltd. It was considered that in view of the extensive repairs necessary to the present structure and the proposed increase in loom-space for Sidebottom's the proposition was feasible if the two tenants would agree to make a reasonable contribution. It was pointed out that it was not known whether the (current building) licence for £3,934-12-6 applied for by Mr Duxbury would be approved but it was thought the cost might considerably exceed this in view of the request for more space. It was considered reasonable to ask the tenants to contribute £500 each towards the capital cost. In the case of Sidebottom's this not to fall below the additional rent for 40 loom spaces and in the case of Midgley's £150 per annum. Also that they should be asked to pay a year's rent in advance, this to remain in operation for three years. [With the general demise of the room and power system in Barlick and the desire by CHSC to maximise the return on their investment in restarting Wellhouse Mill, the agreements with tenants are being tailored to individual circumstances. The CHSC don't need to look over their shoulders to see what other shed companies are doing.]
May 18th 1950. Mr Hedges reported that he had seen Mr Midgley re the possible extension of Wellhouse Mill to provide more accommodation for them and Sidebottom's. Mr Midgley has stated that in view of the conditions suggested by CHSC the two companies had decided not to proceed with their request for an extension. Mr Midgley also pointed out that the roof over his entrance would have to be repaired and suggested that while this was being done arrangements should be made to include a gantry to be installed at the same time and that the floor should be covered with asphalt. He said he would be willing to pay rent in advance to cover this. It was agreed that Mr Duxbury should go into the matter and the probable cost with a view to further consideration being given to the matter at the next meeting.
August 31st 1950. A further complaint from E Midgley and Co re the state of the roof on the entrance to their portion at Wellhouse Mill was considered. Mr Duxbury stated that the roof was in very bad condition and repairs were urgently needed, it was impossible to defer this until next year. The cost of repairing the roof would be approximately £750 but an alternative would be to put in a flat roof to increase the height so that loading could be done under cover. This would cost approximately £1,500. It was agreed that Mr Duxbury should see both Midgley and Sidebottom and see if they would make a contribution of £200 each and pay 5% on the balance of the cost.
September 21st 1950. H Duxbury said he had seen Midgley's about the roof over their entrance and that they would be prepared to pay £250 towards the cost but did not feel that rent should be increased. He had also seen Sidebottom's who had not yet come to any decision on the matter. Mr Duxbury thought that they wanted considerably more warehouse space. Res. That Midgley's offer be accepted and that Mr Duxbury should put the work in hand, approximate cost £750.
October 19th 1950. Mr Hedges stated that at the request of Mr Whitaker of Martins Bank he had called to see him and Mr Whitaker had said that the maximum amount on the overdraft should now be £25,000 and be reduced at £2,500 during the next six months. Mr Hedges had pointed out that there would be approximately £2,000 Schedule 'A' Tax to pay on January 1st 1951 and that there were future commitments for four new electric hoists at Wellhouse Mill, one in Butts Mill and extensive repairs to Midgley's roof. Mr Whitaker said he thought the bank would be agreeable to providing extra accommodation for exceptional items. [The overdraft is falling slowly but it's still a major factor in the director's thinking.]
November 16th 1950. It was reported that Nutter Brothers had been enquiring about erecting a garage at Wellhouse Mill saying that they would be prepared for this to become the property of CHSC after 10 years providing that if they left before then they should receive some recompense for it. It was arranged that Mr Duxbury should see Nutter Brothers with a view to getting more definite particulars.
Meanwhile Wellhouse engine decided to make a protest after years of running on overload. On May 22nd 1951 the flywheel shaft broke. Brown and Pickles made a new shaft and installed it. See 'Brown and Pickles' by SCG for the full story.
June 21st 1951. It was reported that following an engine breakdown at Wellhouse Mill on May 22nd running recommenced on June 11th. Mr Duxbury stated that the repair of the water tank at Wellhouse Mill was in hand.
July 19th 1951. That the engine at WH be insured against engine breakdown with the Vulcan Boiler and General Insurance Co for £5000 and that cover for £20,000 be taken in respect of damage to adjoining property and Third Party Risks. [Shutting the stable door after the horse had gone? Note that this doesn't indicate any doubt in the board's mind about continuing to run the engine. Many mill owners didn't insure against breakdown but invested each year in a contingency fund. See Newton Pickles in the LTP for an example of this at Bishop's House Mill in Burnley.]
September 20th 1951. A tender received from James Proctor and Co from Burnley of £270 for the installation of a new shovel stoker on No 3 boiler at Wellhouse Mill subject to 16 weeks delivery was considered. Res. That further consideration be given to this at the next meeting especially taking into account the fact it could not be installed before winter. [This was the boiler that had run throughout the war for heating and hadn't had a new stoker fitted when the other two were refurbished in 1946.]
February 21st 1952. Particulars were given of the collapse a portion of the outside wall at Wellhouse Mill overlooking the lavatories occupied by E Midgley and Co Ltd and it was reported that the outside shed wall of the portion occupied by G S Sidebottom and Co Ltd was bulging outwards. The only possible course was to rebuild the wall when there was suitable weather during the summer. In the meantime it was agreed that Mr Duxbury should put up whatever support he considered necessary to prevent any possibility of collapse of the girders holding the roof, shafting etc. [The old Wellhouse problem of subsidence. The problem rumbled on over the next winter but was eventually repaired the following year.]
March 20th 1952. 'It was reported that G S Sidebottom had expressed a desire to increase the size of their tenancy at Wellhouse Mill and that there might be a possibility of them taking over some loom space now occupied by WD&E Nutter. Mr Duxbury and Mr Hedges had met Messrs G S Sidebottom and they had looked at the space and considered what could be done. The matter now awaited the further decision of the two firms.
Butts Mill. It was reported that following a letter from Carlson's, Mr Jacques, Mr Duxbury and Mr Hedges had met Mr Osgood the managing director who had emphasised the heavy expense Carlson's had been put to by the bad condition of the roof at Butts Mill. Mr Osgood had suggested that CHSC should make some contribution to the cost. During the discussion it was pointed out that under the terms of the lease the tenant was liable for all repairs and maintenance and that the condition of their building and fixtures had been agreed at the commencement of the lease by both parties. Also that when Carlson's had taken the premises there had been no increase in rent, in fact there had been a slight reduction compared with the rent previously paid by the Grove Engineering Co. Furthermore, since the date of the commencement of the lease there had been a general increase in rents except in the case of leased properties. Taking all this into consideration and the financial position of CHSC: Res. That a letter should be sent to Carlson's explaining the position and regretting that CHSC felt themselves unable to help in the matter'.
April 17th 1952. 'It was reported that a letter had been received from HMFI re the main shed wall adjoining G S Sidebottom's premises and also the wall supporting the water tank. A reply had been sent that these matters will be dealt with. It was reported that six months notice had been received from James Slater Ltd to terminate their tenancy at Wellhouse Mill. Mr Duxbury stated that GS Sidebottom and Co had said that they would be prepared to take two bays of the space occupied by WD&E Nutter for storage at storage rent. It was pointed out that WD&E Nutter were paying full loom rent for the space and it was agreed that it would not be in the interests of the CHSC to accept this proposition'.
July 10th 1952. It was reported that discussions had been taking place between the Room and Power Owners Association Committee and the Tenant's committee and that it was probable that the allowance of 9d per loom per week where a tenant was completely stopped would be extended to cases where they have more than 10% of looms stopped for more than a full week and that the allowance for tape stoppages would be increased from half to three quarters rent. The extension of the allowances for stopped looms would apply from July 1st 1952 to September 30th 1952 when the matter would be reviewed. [The cotton trade was suffering from foreign competition and the last phase of the decline had started in the old textile districts.]
August 21st 1952. It was reported that James Slater and Son had written to say they could not agree to the terms suggested at the last board meeting. However, as they wished to leave the looms intact they would agree to pay £20 per month for the warehousing of the looms subject to two or three months notice. It was agreed that it was desirable they remain on the premises in the hope that trade would improve and they could restart their looms. Res. That the secretary should again contact Slater's with a view to their remaining at Wellhouse Mill (say for three months) at the best terms possible.
April 16th 1953. It was reported that the soft water tank at Wellhouse Mill was leaking badly and that temporary repairs had been effected but a new tank would eventually be required at a cost of £500/600. Res. That consideration be given to the possibility of installing a pump so that water could be pumped directly from the dam to fill the boilers prior to starting the engine on Monday morning which would enable the level of water in the tank to be reduced by about 18” thus reducing the pressure in the tank. [Puzzling. I can only assume that they are still emptying the boilers each weekend to wash them out. If this is so it is very wasteful and one wonders why they don't get the water treatment right. The technology has improved by now and it should be possible to run the boilers from one flueing to another without emptying them. That is four times a year.]
June 11th 1953. Res. That the necessary repairs should be done, Mr Duxbury said he would attend to it. Re the water tank at Wellhouse Mill Brown and Pickles had estimated that a new pump would cost about £800 and the total cost including fitting would probably be over £1,000. They could however get a second-hand pump which they had in view and the cost of this including overhauling it and fitting would should not exceed £400. The pump would do all that was required. Res. That B&P be instructed to obtain the second-hand pump and fit it. Mr Duxbury said he hoped to be able to commence the rebuilding of the wall at WH adjoining Sidebottom's very soon.
November 19th 1953. A tender from Tidswell and Saunders Ltd for an additional armoured cable from the engine house at Wellhouse Mill to E Midgley and Co's space at £165 was considered. Res. That this work should be put in hand but that enquiry should first be made as to the cost of a cable capable of carrying additional voltage[?]. [Current? I think that the directors are doing some forward thinking to when all-electric running would come in and making sure that the new cable was heavy enough to carry more load.]
February 18th 1954. Mr Duxbury reported that the tank at Wellhouse Mill was in a very bad condition. It was not being used for storage of water after installation of the pump but the bottom acted as the roof for the part of the building it covered and to remove the 60 feet by 30 feet tank and re-roof would cost about £1,000. Res. That temporary repairs be carried out and that consideration be given to what should be done to make a permanent job. Mr Duxbury also reported that Brown and Pickles wanted to enlarge the entrance door into the old laundry. [First mention that they had taken it during the war.] They were prepared to carry out the work at their own expense providing CHSC agreed. Res. That the company gives this agreement.
July 22nd 1954. A letter was read from Rolls Royce enquiring about the possibility of renting storage space at Wellhouse Mill. Res. That the shed portion (about 10,800 square feet) now occupied by James Slater for storage of looms be offered to them at £600 per annum to include heating and rates providing James Slater were not prepared to pay that amount. [A no-brainer I think! This was the start of major tenancies at Wellhouse Mill by Rolls Royce. They were paying market rates that the existing tenants couldn't match. The easy way to get the tenants to move was to put the rent up to equal the RR offer. There is no record of any protest from any of the tenants affected by this ploy. They were hanging on by the skin of their teeth and one gets the impression that they were quite relieved to have their hands forced and the decision made for them. Remember that many of these families had been weaving for almost 100 years and it was a hard decision.]
November 18th 1954. Mr Duxbury said that Clarke's Mattresses were interested in the space at Wellhouse Mill occupied by James Slater and he thought they would pay £1,000 rent per annum including heating. He had seen Rolls re their interest in the space but they said they weren't in a position to take the space immediately and had no objection to Clarke's taking it. It was agreed that Mr Duxbury see Clarke's and suggest they put an offer in writing of £1,000 per annum and if this was received it would be accepted providing they pay the rates and that arrangements could be made with James Slater for early termination of their tenancy. Mr Hedges read a letter received from WD&E Nutter dated November 8th 1954 regarding what they described as the shocking state of repair of their warehouse floor and the main alleys in the shed. It was reported that the floors needed attention. Res. That Mr Duxbury put the necessary work in hand.
December 16th 1954. A letter was read from Clarke's Mattresses Ltd dated November 30th 1954 in which it was stated that they were prepared to take the Slater space at Wellhouse at a rent of £1,000 to include heating from March 31st 1955. Mr Hedges said that he had arranged for Tom Clarke to meet James Slater at WH and he understood that James Slater Ltd had agreed to give vacant possession by March 31st 1955. Res. That formal notice be sent to James Slater Ltd and that confirmation be sent to Mr Clarke of acceptance of their offer with the suggestion that they should also pay the rates and make a reasonable contribution to any increase in insurance premiums if the fire risk is increased by their tenancy. A letter from G S Sidebottom dated December 10th was read re the erection of a garage on the spare land adjacent to their entrance at Wellhouse Mill. Mr Duxbury said he had called to see them and was arranging for the re-siting of the garage. It was agreed that confirmation of this should be sent to them and asking them to say what they had in mind for the erection of a structure for storage.
March 17th 1955. Mr Duxbury reported on the position re proposals for an extension at Wellhouse Mill of the portion occupied by G S Sidebottom and Co. He said that they had produced plans which he thought would involve a cost of about £1,200 and they had given him the impression that they would be willing to pay half the cost. It was pointed out that the roof of the present lean-to was in bad condition and that if the extension was not proceeded with the repairs necessary to it would cost between £300 to £400. It was agreed that Mr Duxbury should see them, the feeling of the board being that they would be agreeable to their suggestion being carried out subject to agreement on details. Mr Duxbury said that it had been suggested that the means of access used by the engineer past the North side of Wellhouse Mill from the engine house round to the lodge was a public footpath. Res. That it be put on record that this was not so and it was pointed out that it had previously been prevented by a gate and also that access had been completely stopped for a fortnight during December last to enforce the CHSC right, no protest having been received. [A bit like the old days, the directors defending an attempt to erode their land rights.]
April 21st 1955. It was reported that Clarke's had taken up the WH tenancy from April 1st 1955 at £1,054 per annum including rates and that they also retained their tenancy at Butts Mill at £652 per annum excluding rates making a total of £1,706 per annum. Mr Duxbury stated that he had seen G S Sidebottom re the proposed extension at Wellhouse Mill. In view of the present recession in the cotton trade they wished to leave the matter over for the time being but had said they definitely wanted to proceed with the matter when trade improved. [Hope still sprang eternal of better days to come but with hindsight the Barlick weaving trade was dying on its feet. By 1979 only a few looms were still running, Bendem, the modern incarnation of B&EM Holden had a small weaving shed in Wellhouse Mill running on individual electric motors, like Brown and Pickles they were tenants of the new owners, Silentnight. Pickles were still running at Long Ing but had converted to knitting.]
The question of electricity provided for power purposes to E Midgley and Co at Wellhouse Mill was further discussed. Mr Duxbury said that they had promised to let him have the invoice for electricity provided by the Yorkshire Electricity Board (lighting) as soon as it was received for the current quarter. Mr Duxbury would then forward the invoice to Mr Hedges for further consideration. [This shed had been electrified by fitting electric motors to drive the cross-shafts after the lineshaft between them and the the engine had been removed to clear the space in a portion rented by Rolls Royce. The power was still coming from the engine via the alternator.]
June 30th 1955. A report was given of the fire at Butts Mill which occurred on June 28th 1955 and completely destroyed part of the portion occupied by Clarke's Mattresses consisting of the two spaces taken over by them from Mrs Whipp and the engine house. The portions still usable by Clarke's consisted of the portion previously used by Electrification Ltd and the offices recently let to them. Mr Duxbury said he had seen Mr Tom Clarke who was anxious to continue his tenancy at Butts Mill but had stated that the two portions left could not be workable without further accommodation at Butts and had asked what the intentions of CHSC were re re-building. He was now working two shifts at Wellhouse Mill but this was not sufficient. Mr Hedges said that Aspden and Johnson the insurance assessors acting for CHSC had reported that they considered CHSC was covered for the damage done and there should be no difficulty in obtaining a satisfactory settlement. They were in touch with the assessors acting for the insurance company and hoped to be able to give some definite information within ten days. Mr Duxbury said that Carlson's would definitely be interested as he thought they would like to have the opportunity of having a good entrance at this end of the mill. Mr Carlson was at present abroad on holiday but Mr Duxbury said he would contact him on his return. In the meantime he did not think the walls were in a dangerous state and said he would take the necessary steps to prevent unauthorised access to the damaged portion. Considerable discussion ensued and after an examination of the damaged premises had been made: Res. That further consideration be deferred pending a settlement with the insurance company.
October 20th 1955. It was reported that £17,728 had been received from the insurance companies re the fire at Butts Mill and that £13,000 had been placed on deposit with the bank on September 12th at 2½% interest and subject to one week's notice of withdrawal. [The insurance payment cleared what remained of the overdraft at Martin's Bank.]
November 17th 1955. It was reported that six months notice had been received from Nutter Brothers of their intention to vacate their portion at Wellhouse Mill on April 30th 1956. Res. That as Rolls Royce were interested in a tenancy at Wellhouse Messrs Duxbury and Hedges be empowered to meet representatives of RR with a view to arranging a tenancy. It was suggested that a reasonable figure would be £1,500 to include heating as at present, the tenants to be responsible for repairs and paying the rates. Alternatively £1,250 per annum without heating with steam to be supplied at an agreed rate through a meter, a suggested term to be a seven years lease with an option of another seven years the tenant to have a six months break clause in the second seven year term. It was also agreed that CHSC would be willing to contribute £500 towards putting the premises in a suitable condition.
January 19th 1956. Further correspondence read with RR re the proposed tenancy. A draft lease on the basis approved at the previous meeting, yearly rent of £1,550 and an allowance for the first year of £1,000 had been prepared by Smith Smith. This was read and approved and was to be forwarded to RR for their comments. Mr Duxbury said he had further enquiries from RR for space at Wellhouse Mill for 10,000 to 30,000 square feet. It was agreed that if this request should materialise, Mr Hedges should write to WD&E Nutter re their letter of November 30th asking if it would be of any help to give up some of the space occupied by them as this might be suitable for Rolls Royce. Mr Duxbury said that Mr Osgood of Carlson's had seen him and stated that they were not interested in the portion of Butts Mill now occupied by Clarke's Mattresses nor the portion damaged by fire. Mr Duxbury said that he was arranging for the completion of the removal of the fire debris after which it would be necessary to consider what was to be done with the property.
February 16th 1956. 'It was reported that a draft lease of the former Nutter Brothers space had been forwarded to RR who had acknowledged receipt of it and said that any further communication would be sent to Smith and Smith. Mr Duxbury reported quotations he had received for the shafting to be removed from the former Nutter Brothers' premises at Wellhouse. Res. That this be sold to George Rushworth of Colne. The shafting to be removed and delivered at Colne by Brown and Pickles'. [It's obvious that CHSC has seen the future and removal of the shafting is a tacit acknowledgement that the old industry is finished. Firms like RR and Clarke's Mattresses are working in the modern economy at realistic profit margins. The weaving industry is contracting and battling against a flood of cheap imports from countries who formerly were their customers.]
'Wellhouse Mill water supply. Mr Duxbury suggested that it might be an advantage to CHSC to acquire land adjoining Wellhouse Mill through which the Bowker Drain ran if the owners would sell at a reasonable price'.
The Bowker Drain is a mystery enfolded in an enigma. It was the main supply of water for the dams at Wellhouse Mill from 1853 onwards, had been the subject of court cases and was the supply of water to the well in Eastwood Bottoms in land owned by the Roundell Estate to whom CHSC are still paying an annual rent. I had many verbal evidences that use of the water in the drain was always seen as vaguely illegal, certainly everybody clammed up when I got on the subject. Harold knew more than most about the drain and as contractor for Rolls Royce he re-piped much of it with 9” concrete pipes. RR did this because they used water from it for foul water supplies at Bankfield Shed. You'll get some idea of the clandestine nature of any enquiry if I tell you that one evening a roll of plans was popped through my front room window in King Street in the 1980s and I never knew who was responsible. However, these plans of the Bowker Drain show how well it was surveyed and what concerns us here is that one of the drawings is dated January 1955 and I suspect that by February 1956 Harold Duxbury was involved in contracting for improvements to the drain for RR. This may be what is at the root of his advice above. Ironic that a final resolution of the security of the water supply at Wellhouse Mill is gained shortly before the need for condensing water ceases.
March 22nd 1956. 'A lease was submitted by which CHSC leased to Rolls Royce a portion of Wellhouse Mill for seven years from March 1st 1956 at a rent of £550 for the first year and £1,550 per annum thereafter with the option of a further term of seven years, such terms to be determinable by the tenant giving six months notice from any Quarter Day. Res. That the CHSC seal be affixed and witnessed by two directors and the secretary. It was reported that following the accident to his foot, Tom Marshall the engineer at WH had suggested that he should ease off a little and that £1 of his wage should be transferred to Ernest Marshall his son. The feeling of the meeting was that Tom Marshall should not suffer financially and that Harold Duxbury have an informal talk with him on the matter'.
May 17th 1956. 'Mr Duxbury reported that as suggested at the last meeting he had had a word with Tom Marshall and arranged that he should take things easier but that he should suffer no reduction in wage. He had also arranged that Tom's son Ernest be given a bonus of £1 per week'. [A nice touch.]
June 4th 1956. Mr Hedges explained that the meeting had been called following an enquiry from Rolls Royce to Mr Duxbury as to whether CHSC was prepared to let to RR the portion of Wellhouse Mill now occupied by WD&E Nutter Ltd. Mr Duxbury had received the enquiry on Saturday and had been asked to give a reply today. Mr Duxbury reported that he was continually pressed by WD&E Nutter for reductions in rent and understood that they were incurring heavy losses. Their associated company in Burnley had already given six months notice to terminate their tenancy there. It was agreed that in view of the bad state of the cotton trade it would be in the best interests of CHSC to secure RR as a permanent tenant. Also, it was borne in mind that if any further part of WH became vacant RR would very likely be interested in that. Res. That Mr Duxbury be authorised to tell RR that CHSC were prepared to negotiate a tenancy with them of WD&E Nutter's portion on a similar basis to the present lease, bearing in mind it would be necessary for CHSC to give six months notice to Nutter'. [The first time I think that CHSC had given notice to a tenant paying rent instead of negotiating an exit. A good indication of the relative financial strength of the new industries compared to the cotton trade. It is instructive to note that this same mechanism had been at work since the war in wage levels inside the two sectors. Many weavers had opted for better pay and conditions in the new factories. It was common knowledge that a sweeper at Rolls Royce commanded better pay then a skilled weaver.]
Mr Duxbury also mentioned an enquiry by RR as to provision of space for parking cars and also whether CHSC would allow RR to have use of one of the boilers so that they could provide their own steam. It was agreed that he should tell them that something could be arranged on both points. Mr Hedges read a letter he had received from RR dated May 17th re the charges for supply of steam and on Mr Duxbury's suggestion it was resolved that a reply be deferred pending the present negotiations.
June 11th 1956. Mr Hedges read a letter dated June 6th 1956 received from Mr Russell of Rolls Royce Ltd at Derby enquiring for about 30,000 square feet of space at Wellhouse Mill adjacent to that already let to them. Following this letter Mr Hedges and Mr Duxbury had seen Mr Smith at RR Barnoldswick and had been informed by him that RR were definitely interested in the shed portion and ground floor warehouse occupied by WD&E Nutter which altogether was about 37,000 square feet. They were not however interested in the first and second floors of the warehouse. A figure of 10/- per square yard was mentioned this being similar to the rent paid by them for the space at Wellhouse they already had. Following the discussion Mr Hedges had written to Mr Russell at Derby on June 8th giving a summary of the discussion and pointing out that the space is currently occupied by WD&E Nutter who, however, were only running a small number of looms. To obtain possession CHSC would have to give the firm six months notice although earlier possession might be arranged by mutual consent. Before taking any decision about giving Nutters notice it was felt that RR should confirm that they would take the space when it became available. Res. That the views stated in the letter be confirmed and that Mr Hedges write accordingly to Mr Russell saying that on receipt of his letter a meeting of the directors of CHSC would be called. Mr Duxbury said that RR had informed him on Tuesday June 5th that no more steam would be needed until September. Res. That the three boilermen employed on three shift working should work normal mill hours and be employed for the time being on painting and other necessary repair work. [Evidently this had been the CHSC response to Rolls wanting 24 hour heating.]
June 21st 1956. A letter from Rolls Royce dated June 18th 1956 was read in which they stated that they were anxious to take 37,122 square feet of ground floor space at Wellhouse Mill adjoining the space they already occupied on terms similar to the present lease and thought they would be able to offer £500 per annum for the first and second floors of the warehouse although they were not really interested in that space. [I seem to remember that eventually they located their apprentice school in this space.] Mr Hedges also read a letter dated June 19th which he had written to RR saying that subject to confirmation by his directors CHSC would be prepared to let the 37,122 square feet on the ground floor at £2,060 per annum and the 17,080 square feet on the first and second floors for £500 but pointed out that a definite acceptance of this offer would be necessary before notice could be given to Nutters. The letter also suggested that when RR wished to bring that space into use the rent would be increased. Res. That this letter be approved and that on acceptance by RR, six month's notice should be given to Nutters to vacate the tenancy of the portion of Wellhouse Mill occupied by them.
October 18th 1956. It was reported that Mr Russell of Rolls Royce had written to Smith Smith suggesting there should be a clause in the lease to RR of the portion of Wellhouse Mill to the effect that CHSC would be willing to pay compensation for improvements carried out by RR. It was confirmed that this could not be agreed to. Mr Duxbury reported that he had had informal talks with local representatives of Rolls Royce who suggested that CHSC should make a contribution of £1,000 towards the expense being incurred by Rolls Royce Ltd in line with the allowance agreed and included in the lease to them of the Nutter Brothers space. Res. That this was a reasonable suggestion and should be agreed to.
December 20th 1956. A letter from Silentnight Ltd (formerly Clarke's Mattresses) to Mr Duxbury dated November 28th 1956 was read. They said they had purchased Clough Mill and at some future date would be vacating Butts Mill and Butts Offices and also gave the impression they would like to sub-let the portion of Wellhouse they occupied. Mr Duxbury thought they had in mind a firm from Skipton as sub-tenants. He had however approached Rolls Royce who said they were interested in this part of Wellhouse Mill but had not had any definite word from them. As regards Butts Mill, it was suggested that Mr Duxbury approach John C Carlson Ltd to see if they were interested in this part of the premises. A letter from Blin and Blin dated November 19th was read in which they asked if CHSC had meant to convey that they were not prepared to agree to an extension of the lease for a further ten years if Blin and Blin did not re-glaze the portion of the roof referred to in their previous letter. Res. That a reply be sent to them pointing out that the condition of Calf Hall Shed at the end of the present lease should be at least as good to that when they took possession and that the re-glazing would be a help towards this position. It did not follow that re-glazing would be insisted on as a pre-condition to extending the lease. It was reported that the roof of the portion of Wellhouse Mill vacated by WD&E Nutter had been made good by removing the tape trunks and re-slating. An account for the cost of this work had been sent to WD&E Nutter who felt very strongly that this was not their responsibility. It was agreed that while this was their responsibility, under the circumstances the matter should not be pressed.
January 17th 1957. Mr Duxbury said he had had an enquiry for space at Wellhouse for weaving. Rolls Royce were also interested but had not made a definite offer.
November 21st 1957. [Blin and Blin have decided to buy Calf Hall Shed and are in negotiations with the CHSC.] Mr Hedges said he had had an interview with Mr Fletcher and Mr Zimmerman of Blin and Blin and he had been unable to get them to increase their suggestion of ten annual capital payments of £2,500 for the purchase of Calf Hall Shed, they to continue paying rent of £2,960 per annum. They had in fact suggested that they were not sure whether it would be in their interest to continue as tenants only. During the discussions various difficulties had been raised about the legal ownership of the mill during the period of capital payments and Mr Fletcher had suggested that if a sale was agreed it would probably be better if ownership was vested in Blin and Blin immediately with a mortgage to CHSC. Res. That the directors would agree to sell Calf Hall Shed on the above basis for the amount suggested by Blin and Blin Ltd and that Mr Hedges should inform them to this effect first however having consulted the solicitors and being satisfied on the legal position. Mr Hedges reported that following the meeting on November 21st he had written to Mr Fletcher of Blin and Blin accepting their offer to purchase Calf Hall Shed for £25,000 payable in ten yearly instalments of £2,500 together with an annual payment of interest of £2,960 payable for each of the ten years, the mill to become the property of Blin and Blin immediately the necessary documents are completed and at the same time a mortgage to be executed to CHSC covering the 10 annual capital payments of £2,500 and the ten annual interest payments of £2,960. Mr Fletcher had telephoned his agreement subject to the final agreement of his directors and the approval of the Capital Issues Committee which would be necessary in respect of the mortgage. Mr Hedges said he had tried to contact Mr Fletcher just before the meeting but had been informed that he was in Canada with other directors of Blin and Blin. [This is a major step, the sale of the original shed built in 1889 which was the foundation of the CHSC.]
March 20th 1958. Mr Hedges reported that he had heard from the solicitors that Blin and Blin had approved the contract for the transfer of Calf Hall Shed and that it was hoped to complete the conveyance by April 1st or shortly afterwards.
April 17th 1958. It was reported that a letter had been received from Silentnight dated March 27th 1958 giving notice to terminate their tenancy at Butts Mill and that a reply had been sent stating that the tenancy would expire on September 30th 1958.
June 19th 1958. A letter was read from James Halstead Ltd dated June 3rd stating that they had decided to discontinue the business of Ed Aldersley Ltd and would not renew the tenancy at Butts Mill. They stated that whilst they anticipated weaving out before the end of December they might need a further period to dispose of their plant and machinery. Res that the letter be acknowledged stating that there would be no difficulty in arranging a short extension of the tenancy. [Another significant moment, the end of weaving at Butts Mill after 55 years of CHSC ownership and 112 years since the mill was built by Bracewell.]
It was reported that considerable stocks of coal remained at Wellhouse Mill and it was agreed that deliveries be suspended for the time being. [Burning the coal stocks is a precursor to stopping the engine.]
August 28th 1958. It was reported that Tom Marshall, engine man at Wellhouse Mill died on August 1st and that a message of condolence had been sent to his widow. Res. That an appreciation of his services be placed on record. Res. That his son Ernest Marshall be appointed engineer at WH in his place. [I have a suspicion that Tom's death made it easier for the board to come to a decision about stopping the engine.]
March 19th 1959. It was reported that Carlson's had made a tentative enquiry whether CHSC would entertain the idea of selling Butts Mill. Res. That Mr Duxbury should inform them unofficially that CHSC might be interested in an offer around £25,000.
April 16th 1959. It was reported that Aldersley's had vacated Butts as from March 31st 1959 and had agreed to pay £250 in respect of repairs that were necessary. Mr Duxbury reported that he had provisionally arranged with Silentnight that they should take tenancy of the large shed and main warehouse vacated by Aldersley, about 2,608 square yards at a rental of 5/- per yard for a period of six months from April 1st 1959. They to be responsible for rates and any extra insurance. The rent for six months would be £236. Res. That this be confirmed.
August 27th 1959. It was stated that it was understood that E Midgley and Co [Wellhouse weaving] would be closing down under the Cotton Board Reorganisation Scheme, information to this effect having been given to their weavers. No notice had been received by CHSC. [This was a government scheme to compensate firms for closure in order to reduce weaving capacity in the industry.]
September 24th 1959. It was reported that six months notice had been received from Midgley's to terminate their tenancy on February 28th 1960. It was reported that G S Sidebottom and Co Ltd were asking for 2,850 square feet of additional space (95ft x 30ft) It was agreed that this should be arranged if possible and that they should be asked to pay for this on the basis of 70 square feet per loom making an additional charge for 40 looms of 40” reed-space it being understood that it was their intention to put in additional looms. [One of the strange things that nobody properly understood was that fact that whilst the reduction of the capacity of the trade was reduced and there was an undoubted demand for cloth, this seldom resulted in extra work for the firms left weaving. Many years afterwards when I was engineer at Bancroft Shed I asked Sidney Nutter, the office manager, if he had any explanation. He told me he was as baffled as I was and had never been able to understand it.]
A general discussion took place on the WH tenancies. [The directors could see the end of weaving coming.]
October 15th 1959. As regards WH tenants, Mr Duxbury said that neither Widdups or Rolls Royce were interested in more space at WH. Sidebottom's had originally accepted the offer of additional space but had later asked whether arrangements could be made for them to move to the space to be vacated by Midgley's. Mr Duxbury said that Blackburn Holden wanted to run about 80 looms of 39” reed-space in WH but that the whole position was still very uncertain. The possibility of having to stop the engine and run the looms remaining by electricity was discussed.
November 19th 1959. It was reported that Blackburn Holden had been pressing for confirmation that space would be available for him at Wellhouse Mill. Res. That a letter be sent to him confirming the verbal arrangements that space would be available for him for about 80 looms. The question of the removal of Sidebottom's to the space presently occupied by Midgley's was considered. Res. That particulars be obtained of the respective areas involved.
December 17th 1959. Correspondence from G Sidebottom was read re the suggestion they should move to the space presently occupied by Midgley's when this became vacant, the rent to be charged on the equivalent 313 looms of 40” reed-space. Res. That this be agreed and that they should have a fixed term of three years after which the tenancy should be subject to six months notice on either side.
At the same meeting Mr Jacques reported the death of Edward Wood who had been chairman for many years. Resolved that an expression of sympathy be extended to his family, his very great service recorded and the members stand in silence.
February 25th 1960. It was reported that negotiations had been entered into with Rolls Royce to lease to them the portion of Wellhouse Mill being vacated by Horsfield's (Bankfield) Ltd at a yearly rent of £1,500 per annum with an allowance of £500 off the first years rent, CHSC to pay for a new roadway to Vicarage Road from a new doorway in the NE side, the doorway to be constructed by Rolls Royce Ltd. The lease to be to February 28th 1963 and to contain similar options to the two other leases. Res. That these terms be approved. Mr Duxbury said that Sidebottom's wished to retain three bays of their present premises in addition to moving into Midgley's space. This would give them 2,612 square feet extra (less a passage from Blackburn Holden's to the toilets) which would accommodate further looms equivalent to 40 of 40” reed-space making a total of 353 looms at 40”. (See minutes of December 17th 1959) It was reported that Silentnight (Craven Pad Co Ltd) had not given notice to vacate the portion of Wellhouse Mill occupied by them but it was thought they would do in the near future. Mr Duxbury reported on preliminary conversations he had had with Blackburn Holden re space for 80 to 90 looms to be let to him at Wellhouse Mill. It was agreed that as part of the space to be occupied by Sidebottom's was already motorised it would be uneconomic to run the engine for the remaining looms. Res. That arrangements be made to install motors to drive the necessary cross shafts and to shut down the engine. [I'm glad that Teddy Wood was dead. He loved the engines and it would have been hard on him.]
March 17th 1960. It was reported that Rolls Royce had now suggested that the proposed lease to them of Horsfield's portion of Wellhouse Mill should be a ten year lease with a break clause on February 29th 1963 and that the landlords, on written request from the tenants, made not less that six months before the expiration of the lease would grant a seven year extension at the same rent. With the provision that the option to determine such further term by not less than six months written notice to the landlord expiring on any of the days appointed for payment of rent. Res. That this be agreed. Mr Duxbury said that E Midgley and Co had not yet vacated their portion of Wellhouse Mill and that until they had done so Sidebottom's were not able to fix on a suggested lay-out of their looms. This was holding up motorising that part of the premises. In the meantime six new 20hp electric motors and one 10hp for one shaft had been purchased, (Pencil note that an extra 20hp motor had been ordered since this minute.) Mr Hedges reported he had received a letter from Sidebottom's dated March 8th 1960 in which they conformed that they now definitely agreed that they would take the additional space set out in Mr Hedges' letter of February 26th. [Followed by reiteration of the terms agreed.]
April 21st 1960. Reported that the lease for Horsfield's portion of Wellhouse Mill to RR was in the hands of the solicitors for completion. Also reported that Midgley's portion of Wellhouse Mill was not yet ready for occupation by Sidebottom's but that every endeavour was being made to push forward the preparations.
June 16th 1960. It was reported that the agreement with YEB for the supply of electricity to Wellhouse Mill for power to run Sidebottom's and Holden's had been signed. Reported that the move by Sidebottom's to the Midgley space at Wellhouse was still not completed but that Blackburn Holden [Later Bendem Ltd] were installing looms in the part vacated by Sidebottom's. [We don't have a definite date for the stopping of the engine at Wellhouse but it must have been very shortly after these entries.]
This the end of volume nine of the CHSC minute books, the last I copied in the series as when I did it the CHSC was still in existence and volume ten was current and in use. In the absence of the later minutes and just to give you some clues. John C Carlson eventually bought Butts Mill and are still in business there as Carlson's Filtration. RR later gave up the tenancy of in Wellhouse Mill and Tom Clarke bought it in 1978, it is still used by what was originally a Silentnight subsidiary which makes the spring interiors for their mattresses. Silentnight are still in Moss Shed of course but in the course of writing this account have got into financial trouble and been baled out by an equity trader, time will tell whether this is a good thing. I think that the sale of Wellhouse was the trigger for winding CHSC up and Harold once told me that it was a stroke of luck, he said that at that time CHSC would have paid for someone to take it off their hands. Bendem survived in Wellhouse Mill as one of the last weaving firms in Barlick running about 80 looms, some of the Bancroft weavers went there after Bancroft closed in December 1978. Henry Brown Sons and Pickles were bought by Gissing and Lonsdale when Silentnight demolished the last remnants of Wellhouse in 1982 and still survive in name only on Wellhouse Road. For more background information seek out my books on, lots more in there.


One of the advantages of the minutes is that we have specific figures for costs and income. The problem I have is knowing when to stop giving examples. Anyone who has looked at the original minutes will quickly identify one expense that dwarfed all others, energy. From the earliest days of steam power the cost of coal governed the cost of running a mill more than any other factor. This effect was exacerbated by the volatility of the price. This isn't the place to go into the history of the mining industry but with hindsight, the laissez faire ethos in which the mine owners operated and the fragmented nature of the industry meant that it was dominated by conflict between the profit motive and the demands of the miners for a living wage. We can see the consequences of this clearly in the minutes and the effect it had not only on the CHSC's profitability but indirectly on the cotton manufacturers.
Let's look at what the minutes can reveal. The first thing that strikes me is that in the early days the board was in unknown territory when it came to sourcing large quantities of coal. Look out for changes in strategy as they gained experience and become more competent.
One word of explanation about grades. Coal was usually screened at the pithead into different grades based on size. Slack was dust to about half an inch, singles was up to two inch, doubles was up to four inch and cobbles up to about six inch. Larger coal than this was usually called household and could contain a mixture from four inch to large lumps (every coal house had a coal hammer!) and just to complicate things, unscreened was just what it said, often called 'run of the mine', it was coal as it came out of the pit. Singles and doubles were often washed and this was a superior grade. In later days these sizes were standardised but this is my approximate explanation. Sophisticated grading by quality based on calorific value and ash content didn't come in until the modern industry, the board and their sources of advice made their own assessments based on experience, usually the engine man and the firebeater, some seams were better than others. As if this wasn't complicated enough, coal quality could vary with position in a seam so what had been good quality coal could suddenly deteriorate but have the same description at the mine.
On November 30th 1889 the Calf Hall engine starts.
February 12th 1890. That the secretary write George Andrews respecting his non-delivery of coal according to contract and inform him that he is six wagons in arrears and owing to him being so far in arrears it has caused our directors great inconvenience and expense and they think that he ought to pay the difference it has cost them having had to pay 14/6 and 16/2 per ton. [A shaky start. George Andrews was station master at Earby at the time and also operated as a coal merchant and carriage proprietor. He may have supplied the Bracewell mills in Earby and domestic coal. At this point Calf Hall would be burning about 25 tons a week, approximately two 13 ton railway wagon loads, it was winter and the heating load was on.]
February 19th 1890. That one wagon per week of coals “Park Hill Stock” at 10/6 per ton be ordered from Simon Parks and Co. [I know nothing of Simon Parks and he does not appear again in the minutes.]
March 26th 1890. That H&J Widdup’s offer of three wagons per week of Roundwood Coal at 12/- per ton to be delivered at Barnoldswick station, Pit Weight, be accepted. [Most likely to be Roundwood Colliery at Wakefield. The Widdup family were established coal merchants in Barlick operating out of the station yard. In the early days they proved to be a reliable source of supply. I consulted with a friend of mine who is an old railwayman and a trusted adviser. He says that until post-WW2 the capacity of a standard truck was 13 tons and after that was slightly larger at 16 tons.]
April 9th 1890. That an arrangement be made with the Midland Railway co-respecting the unloading and demurrage of coal wagons at the station. [Demurrage was the technical term for penalty payments for delay in unloading railway wagons in the station sidings, also common in connection with the shipping trade. Intended to ensure quick turn-round of trucks, an essential for efficient operations. Often a bone of contention, I was having problems with demurrage in my days of tramp driving in the 1960s.] That H&J Widdup cart the coal from the station to the shed at the rate of -/6d per ton for six months. [The coal was carried in two wheel tipping carts which held about 25/30cwt of coal. So round trip price of say 9d. There is no general rule we can apply to who carted the coal from the station yard (and later from the canal wharf) to the mills. As we shall see, sometimes the merchant did the carting and quoted delivery direct to the mill, later when more than one mill was supplied the merchant still did the carting but specified different charges for each mill based on the length of the journey. We shall also come across specialised carters engaged directly by the board to deliver their coal. One thing to bear in mind is that until well after WW1 all the transport was horse-drawn. The sight of a horse drawing a two wheeled tipping wagon holding about 25cwts of coal must have been common.]
Cotton Factory Times, 17/04/1891. Report describes the engine christening at Wellhouse which took place on Sat 11th April. Mrs. W. P. Brooks christened the engine 'Progress'. Made by Burnley Ironworks, this was the left hand side of a pair of double tandem engines and it was hoped that they would soon be asked to provide the other half of the engine. [No mention in the minutes. However, in our context the CHSC have another mill to supply with coal.]
April 1st 1891. That a boat load of coal [Leeds and Liverpool Canal 'short boat', approx. 45 tons] be ordered from Altham, 11/3 per ton, and got at once to Calf Hall Shed and a boat load of Townley Best Slack at 9/4 per ton be got in a week hence, both from Holgate Marsden. [Holgate Marsden lived in Salterforth and was a coal and stone merchant operating from Salterforth Wharf. In 1900 he is mentioned as the owner of a boat-building yard at Salterforth and was later a partner in the new Coates Shed. No mention here of where the coal was to be unloaded but almost certainly at Coates Wharf as this avoided carting the coal over the hill into Barlick from Salterforth, in the days of horse transport this was a serious consideration. Coal was always described by mine, seam and grade, bear in mind that different mines worked the same seams. We shall see Altham and the Arley Seam mentioned a lot in the minutes, these collieries produced high grade coal and were at Burnley. They are closely linked with the major mineral rights owners in the town, the Exors of Colonel Hargreaves. Later on this body seems to be acting as sales and distribution agents for the Altham collieries and were the owners of Coates Wharf. Perhaps it is worth mentioning that Long Ing had their own wharf. Victor Hedge's first job after leaving school was to go down the mines and measure up coal extracted for the Exors so they had a basis for charging what was due under the mineral rights.]
May 6th 1891. That two wagons of coals be ordered with Mr Widdup of Salterforth of unscreened mixed coal delivered at Barnoldswick station at 10/3 per ton.
May 27th 1891. That a boatload of Altham coal at 10/8 per ton delivered at Coates Wharf be ordered with Holgate Marsden.
June 10th 1891. That a boatload of coal be ordered with Crabtree Brothers at 9/6 per ton delivered at Coates Wharf, wharfage free for Wellhouse Mill. [Crabtree Brothers were also coal merchants at Salterforth.] That a boatload of coal be ordered with Holgate Marsden for Calf Hall Shed at 10/3 per ton delivered at Coates Wharf.
July 1st 1891. That a boatload of coals be ordered with with Holgate Marsden for Calf Hall Shed at 10/3 per ton.
Res. 8th. That a reply be sent to Delaney informing him that his price offered for Roundwood coal cannot be accepted at 11/2 per ton. [John Delaney was a Quaker who lived in Settle in 1891, he was a quarry owner and coal merchant. He seems to have acted as agent for many Yorkshire collieries. He became a major supplier to the CHSC and died December 25th 1921.]
September 2nd 1891. That Holgate Marsden supply Calf Hall Shed with coal at 11/1 per ton delivered at Calf Hall Shed and Richard Crabtree supply Wellhouse Mill with coal at 10/2 per ton delivered at Wellhouse Mill. [Wellhouse Mill was nearer to Coates Wharf than Calf Hall and this could account for part of the difference in price. Note the use of two suppliers, one Lancashire coal and the other Yorkshire. This is insurance against non-delivery by one of them and encouraged price competition, the board are getting the hang of it!]
October 14th 1891. That 2 wagons of coal be ordered with H&J Widdup of Newland Pea Nuts at 10/- per ton. [Newland Colliery, Normanton, West Yorkshire.]
October 21st 1891. That Delaney’s quotation for Roundwood [Leeds] coal for Calf Hall Shed be accepted at 11/2 per ton.
April 27th 1892. That John Delaney’s tender for coal for Calf Hall Shed be accepted at 10/9 per ton delivered at Barnoldswick station subject to the quantity and quality being satisfactory. [Worth noting when comparing prices that many factors were involved. Individual suppliers had their own arrangements with specific collieries and there were small but important variations in quality between seams. This explains why contracts were made by CHSC at varying prices in one market.]
June 8th 1892. That Delaney be written to stop sending any more Roundwood coals until further instructions and send Double Screened Monk Bretton [Wakefield] in place of them at 12/3 per ton. [This plus Roberts being called to the engine at this time and firebars in the boiler furnaces burning out suggests to me that the plant at Calf Hall Shed is hard-pressed and using better coal is one way of attacking the problems.]
August 31st 1892. That there be two wagons at 8/7 per ton and two at 7/7 of Featherstone coal be ordered to arrive here Monday or Tuesday next at the latest. That Delaney be ordered to stop the Kilnhurst coal [Barnsley] after sending 6 wagons.
October 5th 1892. That 6 wagons of Newland slack [Normanton, West Yorkshire] be ordered with H&J Widdup at 10/2 per ton pit weight delivered Calf Hall Shed. ['Pit weight' denotes that the weight quoted at the pit head will be taken as the amount to be paid for.]
October 12th 1892. That a boatload of coal be ordered with R Crabtree, half Best Slack and half Thin Mine [name of seam] at 10/- and 10/10 respectively. That a contract be entered into with John Delaney for Monk Bretton coal for six or twelve months at 10/9 per ton. [I think this is the first mention of a contract for a specified period with one merchant. There was trouble brewing in the mining industry and this may be the board's strategy to achieve some security of supply.]
December 7th 1892. That George Andrews account for coal be paid £1-19-7. [Can’t help wondering if this is best household coal for the office fire!]
July 19th 1893. That Mr John Widdup of Barnoldswick be engaged as carter to cart the coal from the station to Calf Hall Shed at 7d per ton and 1/- per ton for coal carted from Coates Wharf, the contract be for one year from the 1st day of August next. [Further from the wharf than the station.]
September 27th 1893. That we get 100 tons of coal. [There was serious disruption in coal supplies caused by the mine-owner’s lock-out of the miners during wage disputes in 1893. The Yorkshire coal fields were badly affected. This could be the reason for this entry.]
December 6th 1893. That a boat load of coal be ordered from H Marsden at 9/9 per ton delivered at Coates. [Almost certainly Altham coal.] That a boat load of thin seam coal be ordered from R Crabtree, 10/2 per ton delivered at Wellhouse.
April 4th 1894. That four trucks be ordered with John Widdup of Pope and Pearson [Colliery owners at Normanton.] delivered at CH at 10/10 per ton also four trucks of Exors of Colonel Hargreaves’ at 10/2 per ton.
November 14th 1894. That the secretary order two truckloads of St John’s [Normanton.] best slack at 7/2 per ton at Barlick Station for Wellhouse Mill. The secretary read the monthly statement of receipts and payments and reported that the weight of coal carted to Calf Hall Shed (as per weigh tickets) for the three weeks ending November 10th 1894 was 35tons 4cwt per week. [This is cold weather so there is the heating load. As a guide, at Bancroft I burned about 13 tons a week in summer and 35 in winter.]
February 20th 1895. Mr Richard Crabtree attended before the directors with regard to the price of coal. Viz. 9/4 per ton, Thin Mine, at Wellhouse Mill.
May 1st 1895. That the secretary be instructed to obtain tenders for the supply of coal to the company.
December 3rd 1895. Mr J Sneath, the engineer at Wellhouse attended before the meeting with regard to his conduct in striking the carter with his shovel and seriously injuring him. That in future he be requested to follow the instructions of the company viz. To assist the carter to unload and to assist in shovelling up the coal to his requirements. To see to the office being ready for the meeting of Directors as usual and as nearly as possible to run his engines to time. He was also informed that the directors could not pass over another occurrence of this description. [Not strictly coal costs but I love this entry! The engineer was master of all he surveyed and shovelling coal into the bunker wouldn’t go down well. We aren’t sure if he has a replacement for Pickover the firebeater at this time. As regards time he might have an excuse, Post Office Time ran about four minutes later than Railway Time and since he almost certainly got time checks for the engine house clock from the Manchester Man (representative on the Cotton Exchange) who used Railway Time it’s quite easy to see how he could be accused of starting the engine early because as far as the weavers were concerned, they set their watches by the public clock at the Post Office, he was running four minutes fast. This was a serious matter because at this time the tacklers, whose wage depended on output from their sets of looms, had authority to set on a tramp weaver from the group stood waiting for work in the warehouse on any looms where the weaver wasn't waiting for the engine start. The late weaver lost either a half or a full day's wage.]
September 1st 1897. The secretary read the quotations for coal for Wellhouse Mill, delivered at the mill. R Crabtree, Best Slack 8/3 per ton. John Widdup, Acton Hall washed beans 9/7. Exors of Colonel Hargreaves, Arley slack 9/6. H Marsden Altham Nuts 8/11. [Notice how dear Arley Slack seems to be. The Arley Seam was very high quality coal and could have been the best buy. See the next entry.]
October 20th 1897. The report of the Burnley Ironworks Co on the engine and boilers at Calf Hall Shed was read in which it was stated that the total power was 306hp and the friction load [Energy lost in shafting etc.] 80hp. Coal consumption for all purposes (Arley Slack at 9/7 per ton delivered at shed) 402lbs per hp/hr. This consumption was considered to be very excessive. [Valuable information here because BI had wide experience of other plants and had no inhibitions about telling the truth because it wasn’t one of their installations.]
December 22nd 1897. That Best Slack coal per J Widdup be supplied to Calf Hall Shed. Mr Edmondson intimated that the price would be 7/3 per ton at the station.
February 9th 1898. George Proctor, the secretary, stated that the price of best slack delivered at one of the Nelson mills was 6/8 per ton and the rent of looms 38/- per annum (average in Nelson for a modern shed). Best slack delivered at Barlick Railway station is 7/3 per ton and at the shed 7/10, a difference of 1/2 per ton. This additional cost of coal amounts to 2/- per loom per annum so that from the company’s standpoint the rent at Barlick is 39/- minus 2/- which is 37/- per loom as against 38/- per loom in Nelson. As to tapes, the average in Nelson is £85. Taking 3 tons of coal per tape per week at 1/2 per ton increased cost of coal the additional cost would be £9-2-0 per annum so that the company is only charging, as compared with coal cost at Nelson, £80-18-0 per tape. [This is a repetition but lovely evidence. George is intimately connected with the trade in both towns and can give authoritative figures for relative costs. Note how heavy coal usage is per tape, from my experience at Bancroft I'd say this was a conservative estimate.]
September 21st 1898. Mr Edmondson reported that he had ordered one wagon of coals from Waterloo Oil [Brooks Pickup’s, a Colne merchant who later supplied Viaduct Shed.] each at 7/8, 8/5, 9/11 per ton average of 8/8 for three wagons. [I checked this entry and it is a correct transcription. I think the entry should have read 'one wagon each of coals...'] That one boat of Altham coal be ordered at 8/11 per ton and that the supply of Altham coal be continued until further orders.
January 1899. That Great Harwood coal be tried for one week. [Coal from pits varied with conditions in seams and word of these variations rapidly spread through the district. Good reports of a particular seam were followed up, as in this case, by a trial load.]
March 8th 1899. That one boat of Altham coal be tested and one boat of Thin Mine Screened at 9/9 per ton and that Messrs. Brooks and Dent take the time run by each. [We get a glimpse of how the director’s assess the quality of coal, how long a boatload of a certain quality lasts against another. Rule of thumb.]
March 29th 1899. The deputation appointed with regard to the testing of Altham Coal and Thin Mine reported as follows:
46 tons [a boatload] Altham at 9/4 per ton, £21-9-4.
46 tons Thin Mine at 9/9, £22-8-6.
Altham ran the premises for 48 hours, Thin Mine for 50 hours.
The cost per 56 hour week was: Altham £25-0-10. Thin Mine £25-2-4.
Thin Mine however steamed [heated] the shed, old portion and Windle’s for 14 hours longer and Moorhouse and Widdup 4 hours longer.
[Lovely information, everything from coal costs and amounts burned to hours worked in the mills per week. Even confirmation of the capacity of a Leeds and Liverpool Canal ‘Short boat’.]
October 25th 1899. That the three trucks of Arley coal be stored at Wellhouse Mill.
November 1st 1899. That the secretary be instructed to purchase 100 tons of coal for Wellhouse Mill from Pope and Pearson, Normanton or failing them, any other pit where the quantity can be obtained.
November 29th 1899. That 50 tons of each of the following quality of coals be ordered from Holgate Marsden: Rough slack at 9/3 per ton. Bower’s best slack at 9/6. Rothwell Haigh at 9/3. That the chairman and secretary form a deputation to wait on the colliery company mentioned by the chairman.
December 20th 1899. The secretary reported the consumption of coal at Calf Hall Shed for November to be 33 tons 14cwt and 3quarters per week. [28lbs under 33.75 tons]
January 26th 1900. The secretary reported that all the pit owners in Wigan were sold forward and could not therefore supply the company. [Disruption of coal supplies caused by industrial action, this is why they are looking as far afield as Wigan.] That the chairman and secretary form a deputation to the Exors of Colonel Hargreaves and to Acton Hall re the supply of coal. That the manufacturers be asked to meet the directors with a view to an advance of rents consequent on the high price of coal, 16/- at Calf Hall. [This is a massive increase from approx 10/- per ton a few weeks previously and a good indication of the serious effects of industrial action in the coal fields causing a shortage.]
February 28th 1900. The secretary read the communications with the Altham Colliery Company with regard to continuing the supply of coal to Wellhouse Mill in which they informed the directors that they could do nothing at present but would give us a supply immediately their output improved.
March 28th 1900. That we write to Messrs Garratt and Co, Moorgate Street [Manchester?] for particulars of a colliery they have for disposal. [The coal situation must be critical if the CHSC is considering buying a pit.]
April 11th 1900. That one wagon of coal at 12/9 per ton be purchased as a sample by Mr Brooks.
April 19th 1900. That four trucks of coal at 12/9 per ton be ordered from John W Widdup. The secretary reported having written to eight collieries in Yorkshire and that replies have been received that they were fully sold. [Demand for coal is exceeding supply and this is what is driving the price up by approximately 3/- per ton on purchases six months ago.]
May 16th 1900. That the secretary be instructed to ascertain if Messrs Pope Pearson are willing to grant a contract for the supply of coal and on what terms. [The CHSC are looking for ways of ensuring continuity of supply.]
July 11th 1900. That the director’s action in offering the whole of our consumption of coal to the Altham Colliery Co for five years providing the price be as to the Long Ing Shed Co and subject to the same variation in price both as to amount and time as the Exors of Colonel Hargreaves’ Arley slack be approved. [Smart move, they have ensured a supply and at the same price as their major competitor for provision of space in Barlick. This lifts the threat of competition based on coal prices.]
July 27th 1900. No mention of lack of dividend in the minutes but in the half yearly report they break the news that profits this half year are £37-7-0 compared with £580-9-0 the previous half year. The amount paid for coal is £743-10-11 in excess of the corresponding half year in 1899.
August 8th 1900. That Mr John Widdup be asked to contract for supply of coal at 15/5 per ton for 50 tons a week until June 30th 1901.
August 15th 1900. That the contract with John Widdup for the supply of 50 tons per week of Pope Pearson coals at 15/8 delivered at Calf Hall Shed or Wellhouse Mill to the 31st of December subject to strike clauses etc. be signed by T Dent, W Perry and the secretary. [First mention of strike clauses to protect the coal merchant. More evidence of insecurity and unrest in the mining industry.]
October 17th 1900. The secretary reported that he had entered into a provisional contract, subject to ratification by the meeting, with the Altham Colliery Co for the supply of coal for Wellhouse Mill for a period of five years. The price to be 12/4 per ton until the end of March next with a rise or fall per ton during this period as made by the Exors of Colonel Hargreaves for the best Arley Slack at Burnley. It was also arranged that should the Altham Colliery Co renew their contract with the Long Ing Shed Co at the end of March next year the coal supplied to the CHSC should be at the same rate. The Altham Colliery Co not to be compelled to deliver more than four boats a month [About 185 tons] until the 31st of March next, after that date 60 tons per week. [About 6 boats a month.] That the foregoing arrangement be ratified and a contract embodying the same to be entered into with the Altham Colliery Co.
January 7th 1903. The secretary reported that the coal consumption during the half year [At Calf Hall and Wellhouse, the CHSC didn't buy Butts until April and Viaduct Shed at Colne in 1905.] was 2,238 tons or 89½ tons per week which was the equivalent of 39.2 looms per ton per week.
January 14th 1903. That from the 1st of January coal delivered at Calf Hall Shed be calculated at 26cwt a load. [These were two wheeled horse-drawn tipping carts.]
[In April 1903 the CHSC buys Butts Mill.] June 24th 1903. The secretary read the correspondence with ref to the Craven Manufacturing Co's tenancy at Butts Mill and gave particulars of the coal consumption at Calf Hall Shed, Wellhouse Mill and Butts Mill. In the case of Butts Mill, for the four months ending May 31st the cost was 15/2 per loom per annum with Monk Bretton coal at 11/6 per ton with 6d for carriage. [They must be using coal figures provided by the Butts Mill Company.] In the case of running Wellhouse Mill and Calf Hall Shed together the cost was 13/1 per loom per annum with Altham coal at an average price of 11/1 per ton delivered in the boiler houses. Res. That Altham coal be used at Butts Mill and that the secretary obtain information from Holgate Marsden about carting. [These figures bear out what Johnny and Newton Pickles always contended about the Musgrave engine at Butts. It was a big, heavily built, slow running wastrel and a mistake.]
July 1st 1903. The secretary reported that Holgate Marsden's prices for carting coal from Coates Wharf were as follows: Wellhouse Mill 5d per ton. Butts Mill 8d per ton. Calf Hall Shed 9d per ton. [About 1 ton 6cwt per load so per load: WH 6½d. Butts 10½d. CH 1/-.]
October 7th 1903. That H Marsden's coal carts be drawn over the scale occasionally without notice. [Checking weights. There was a lot of trust involved in assessing the weight of coal deliveries.]
March 16th 1904. The secretary reported that the price of Altham coal would be reduced 3d per ton from April 1st bringing the price to 10/3 at Coates Wharf.
May 11th 1904. The results of the test of coal consumption at Butts Mill was as follows: 45 tons 9cwts per week at 10/11 per ton delivered (Altham Nuts) for 1926 looms (all weight being on the engine) giving 42 looms per ton per week. [There will probably be some heating load.]
August 23rd 1905. That a letter be sent to Holgate Marsden asking him to send all Altham coal by rail. [Almost certainly due to low water in the canal, another factor that could affect the company.]
November 1st 1905. The secretary reported that the price of coal at the station at Colne as used by Viaduct Shed, best slack, was 8/11 per ton from today. [CHSC had bought Viaduct Shed in Colne. Coal was cheaper at Colne than at Barlick, local disadvantage.]
November 29th 1905. The secretary gave particulars of the working expenses of Coates Shed which is to be sold on December 6th 1905 which showed that the cost was over £700 (including £100 depreciation) and that the shed would hold 360 looms only. [There is a small scrap of paper inserted in the minute book for this date. It shows per annum coal costs of £320, wages £78, extras £5, water extraction fee to L&L Canal Co £12, Oil and grease £12, Rates £40, Insurance £10, repairs £80, depreciation £100. Total £657. Loom rents £720, tape £80, total receipts £800. Profit balance £143. (Roughly 6% I calculate.) Lovely, precise information. The CHSC are having a sniff at another mill! It's not mentioned but the mill was still being driven by the original 1865 beam engine and it may be that this carried some weight with the directors.]
July 30th 1906. That Mr Marsden be asked to reduce the stock of coal at Coates Wharf. [This entry gives us some clues as to how the deliveries of coal were administered. I think we can deduce that Holgate Marsden charges the CHSC for coal delivered and stacked at the wharf where it is the property of CHSC. As there are no discernible charges for rent of space at Coates Wharf to anyone I think it is safe to assume that Marsden is paying the Exors of Colonel Hargreaves, the owners of the wharf, for space to store coal and recovering this in the price of coal as delivered to the sheds. Remember that CHSC weren't necessarily his only customers. In later years under delivery direct to sheds from the pithead by road it was customary for each mill to keep a reserve stock on its own premises. At Bancroft we normally carried 300 tons on stock, about ten week's supply in winter. Coal stocks were an insurance against stoppage of deliveries.]
August 5th 1908. A letter was read from H Marsden stating that the price of Altham coal will be reduced 5d per ton from August 1st bringing the price to 10/11 per ton at Coates Wharf.
October 20th 1909. That a contract be entered into with the Altham Colliery Company for the supply of coal for one year from Jan 1st next at an increase of the present price from 11/3 to 11/8 per ton. [Worth remembering that in 1908 the Miner's Federation had voted to support the Labour Representation Committee which was the forerunner of the modern Labour Party. Bodies like the CHSC were aware of these developments and it may be that having long term contracts with the colliery owners was seen as some form of insurance against possible shortages of coal caused by industrial unrest.]
January 4th 1911. The secretary reported that the Altham Colliery Co was prepared to continue the supply of coal to the company for the Barnoldswick sheds for a further twelve months at the present price with the understanding that should the Exors price of Arley Slack be increased in price the Altham coal should be increased 5d per ton as a maximum. Res. That the contract for the year be renewed on these terms.
November 1st 1911. That the secretary be requested to instruct Mr Holgate Marsden to get in as large a stock of coal as possible during the next few weeks and that the supply by rail be continued until the stock has been increased to the necessary amount. [A sensible precaution. 1911 had seen violent confrontations in the South Wales coalfields culminating with the use of troops with fixed bayonets against protesting miners at Tonypandy. January 1912 was to see the start of the Minimum Wage strike, by March 1st there would be deadlock with almost the whole of the UK mining industry out on strike for six weeks until government intervention forced the miners back to work in the second week of April 1912.]
February 28th 1912. That Dent, King, Holdsworth and Brooks meet Holgate Marsden with a view to getting a supply of coal. [The miners are on strike and will be out for six weeks.]
March 6th 1912. The secretary gave a full statement of the cost of Yorkshire coal now being used at some of the mills from which it appeared that the average cost had been more than the cost of Altham Nuts:
Altham coal Average of Yorks and Altham used
September 11/8 12/2¼
October 12/1 12/5
November 12/1 12/3½
December 12/1 12/4
January 12/11 12/6½
November 6th 1912. It was reported that the consumption of Altham coal which was now 14/2 per ton was as follows:
Mill/tons Looms Looms/ton Horse power Looms per hp
CH, 51½ 1659 32.2 738 2 ¼
Butts, 53 1930 36.4 700 2 ¾
WH, 70 2330 33.3 970 2 ½
[Despite its bad reputation the Musgrave at Butts is now the most efficient engine. I think the lesson from these figures, all other things being equal, is that the Butts transmission system is the most efficient and the measures taken by the company to improve performance have been effective.]
January 29th 1913. Reported that the test of Dalton Main coal at Calf Hall was not yet complete but the figures were approximately 51 tons as against 57 of Altham, the price of Altham was 15/- delivered and Dalton 17/-. [Altham £42-15-0. Dalton £43-7-0.]
May 7th 1913. That if the 24 trucks of Dalton Main coal can be emptied without siding rent [demurrage on wagons] accruing, if they be delivered at Calf Hall Shed, that this be done. [Approximately 300 tons of coal or 240 cart loads. The Dalton may be slightly dearer but if a plant is hard pressed there may be other advantages beyond raw price comparisons.]
January 7th 1914. That P D Bilsborough [Coal merchant in Station Yard at Barlick. Used to be Billycock Bracewell's engineer, it could be his son that is running the firm.] be asked whether he can supply a sufficient quantity of Sharlston coal and that the company consider using this coal. [Wakefield, a new pit sunk about 1911 finally closed in the 1990s]
January 14th 1914. That Mr Wood be requested to arrange with Holgate Marsden to give the fullest possible supply from the pit [Altham Collieries] and should the pit not be able to supply all the company's mills that he be empowered to buy 50 tons per week of Sharlston coals at 13/6 per ton.
February 11th 1914. It was reported that the consumption of Sharlston coal at Calf Hall Shed costing 15/5 per ton delivered was, for the first week 48 tons 5cwt and the second week 49 tons 15cwt. Last year Dalton 51 tons 4cwt and Altham 55 tons. The old economisers were then in use.
June 10th 1914. That the consumption of Sharlston coal at Calf Hall Shed during May was 45 tons per week at 14/11 per ton delivered.
July 8th 1914. The secretary reported that the cost of coal for the year ended June 30th at the various mills had been as follows:
CH, 23/6 per ton. Butts, 22/6. Wellhouse Mill, 21/6. Viaduct, 14/1.
[The discrepancy between Colne prices and Barlick is usually due to Barlick being an outlier of the industry. There was a recognised reduction of wages in Barlick because of 'Local Disadvantage' based on this fact and transport costs. However, this coal price at Colne looks too low, I have checked my transcription of the original against the minute book and it is correct. I have no explanation.]
July 22nd 1914. That in consideration of Mr P Bilborough reducing the price of Sharlston Nuts coal to 14/8 from September 1st 1914 we extend our present contract with him to June 30th 1915.
March 24th 1915. The secretary reported the coal consumption of the three mills to be as follows:
Calf Hall Shed, (Week ending) March 6th, 45 tons 16cwt and March 13th 47 tons 11cwt, both of Sharlston nuts.
Wellhouse Mill, March 6th 68 tons, March 13th, 68 tons, Altham Coal.
Butts Mill, March 13th, 56 tons 4cwt, Altham Coal.
April 7th 1915. Among accounts be paid: Earby and Thornton Gas and Lighting Co Ltd £38-1-0 [This an odd one. It can't be for gas because this is the Earby system. The most probable explanation is that they had surplus coal and CHSC have bought it from them. It should be noted that George Proctor had interests in Earby including the gas company and he might have been the conduit.]
May 5th 1915. Mr Wood advised the board that coal was scarcer and that the stock on hand, about one week's supply, ought to be increased. [The increased consumption due to the war effort and shortage of labour in the mines due to volunteers going to war is taking effect. Teddy Wood is correct, one week's stock is nowhere near enough. Ten weeks would be nearer the mark.]
June 16th 1915. Contracts for coal were received from Holgate Marsden for WH and Butts and P D Bilborough for Calf Hall Shed. [Worth remembering that there were severe problem in the mining industry, rising food prices triggered wage demands and strikes for a higher wage and by February 1917 there was to be a national shortfall of 3,000,000 tons per annum. The situation was so bad that the Coalition Government under Lloyd George took over the mines from the owners for the duration of the war, it looked like nationalisation but in the end it was rescinded after the Armistice.]
Superheaters were fitted on the Butts boilers in late 1915 and theoretically this should improve efficiency. Wellhouse didn't get them until 1936.
February 23rd 1916. That Coates Wharf offered for sale by Exors of Colonel J Hargreaves be purchased by Mr Wood at the lowest price possible. [Evidently Holgate Marsden was renting from Exors of Colonel Hargreaves who controlled the mineral rights of the Altham coal.]
March 8th 1916. That Mr Marsden's boatmen be allowed to use the company's coals in their cabin fires not exceeding ½cwt each journey. [Clearly regularising a custom of long-standing and a nice little insight into custom and practice. Remember that Holgate Marsden was a boat-builder as well as a coal and stone merchant.]
June 28th 1916. That H Marsden's tender for coal at 20/8 delivered at Butts and 20/5 delivered at Wellhouse Mill on the terms stated be agreed.
January 10th 1917. That the offer of the Altham Colliery to supply coal for the year 1917 at 20/1 per ton at Coates Wharf with certain extras be accepted.
Res. That carting by Mr Bilborough be increased to 1/- per ton.
April 18th 1917. That Mr Wood be informed that the Wigan Slack coal which is coming to Butts is causing trouble with our men. One firemen has left on account of it and the present fireman won't stop over on Saturday. Res. That Mr Wood informs the Altham Colliery Co that they cannot burn it and request coal of a better quality. [A sign of the times. Bad coal causing more work and fire beaters voting with their feet. Labour shortages were giving them more power, not like the 'old days' at all! Remember that the government has taken over the coal industry and is allocating coal. Altham seem to be acting as distributors for other collieries and this is why the Wigan coal is coming to Barlick.]
May 23rd 1917. A letter was read from P Bilborough stating that the arrangement to supply coal to Calf Hall Shed terminated on June 30th 1917 and asking if he had to continue supplying coal after that date. Res. That he be instructed to supply 50 tons per week and as much more as possible of Sharlston Engine Nut Coal delivered at CH at 21/- per ton.
January 19th 1918. The price of coal was: 24/5 per ton delivered at Wellhouse Mill. 24/8 at Butts Mill. 24/10 at Calf Hall Shed.
March 27th 1918. Notice was received from the Altham Colliery Company that the price of coal, owing to the increased cost of boating, would be advanced 1/- per ton from March 1st. Notice was also received from Holgate Marsden stating that the cost of carting coal to Butts Mill would be increased from 1/2 to 1/6 [per ton] and to Wellhouse Mill from 11d to 1/3. Mr Bilborough also intimated that his price for carting would be increased 6d per ton from March 1st. Mr Baldwin of Colne also intimated an increase of the cost of carting from 8d to 11d. [From Colne Station to Viaduct Shed. Only a short distance.]
July 3rd 1918. Mr Wood reported on the coal consumption at each of the mills: Calf Hall Shed 24 tons per week. Butts Mill 26 tons. Wellhouse Mill 29 tons. Viaduct Shed 10 tons. 40% of looms stopped and mills working 40 hours instead of 55 hours.
September 17th 1919. It was reported that the supply of coal from Altham Colliery was altogether inadequate, the following being the quantities supplied for 20 days August 28th to September 17th: September 3rd 16 tons, 5th 24 tons, 10th 15 tons and 13th 20 tons. Total 75 tons. Res. That Mr Wood be informed of the serious position we are in for coal and that he endeavours to the utmost of his ability to get us a better supply.
New economisers were installed at Butts in 1919.
June 2nd 1920. A letter was read from Mr Bilborough informing the company that the Sharlston Colliery Co had disposed of their colliery and that all supplies to Barnoldswick were to be cut off. As we were receiving 50 tons per week for Calf Hall Shed the matter was considered to be serious and the managing directors were instructed to obtain coal wherever possible.
The coal industry was in a mess. Remember that it was still operating under government control and the Sankey Commission in 1919 had recommended nationalisation of the mines so that the industry could be rationalised. Some of the owners, thinking that this may be on the cards, were bailing out. In point of fact the coalition government led by Lloyd George strung out negotiations and eventually de-controlled the mines in March 1921 returning them to private ownership. By that time the country was in recession, coal exports had dropped owing to the artificially high value of Sterling and the owners immediately cut wages. This resulted in a lock-out until June 1921 and continuous disruption of supplies from then on. Coal is going to be a headache. By October the picture is gloomy and coal strike begins October 16th 1920. By December depression is reported as acute. With hindsight this is the start of the long decline of the textile industry but the board couldn't know this.
October 27th 1920. Mr Wood made a report on the Coal Emergency Order which fixed the maximum consumption of fuel at 50% of the average consumption during the previous four weeks, to commence on October 16th. The order was variable however on application to the local authority, should they in the public interest deem it necessary to increase the percentage. Such an increase had been granted to BUDC through J W Thompson the gas manager who had been appointed the Coal Emergency Officer and he had, by letter of October 26th date fixed the mill hours from 7am to 4:30pm except on Saturdays when usual time has to continue. This means a diminution of 5 hours per week only as against the requirements of the Order for 50% or 24 hours stop out of 48 hours. [The equivalent of the 3 day week we saw in the 1970s.]
October 27th 1920. That two coal wagons be purchased [railway trucks] and that the chairman, Holdsworth and Banks be appointed to inspect the wagons and purchase such of them they thought desirable. [There was a surcharge on coal if railway or colliery trucks were used.]
April 20th 1921. Mr Banks reported that he had sold to the gasworks 100 tons of our stock of coal owing to the coal strike. [See my note for June 1920. The mines had been de-controlled and given back to the owners who had immediately imposed a wage decrease and subsequently locked the miners out, they were influenced also by an artificial rise in the value of Sterling and the reorganisation of the continental mines which effectively halted coal exports. Note also that the directors had remembered the help they got from the gas manager in October 1920 when he supplied them with coal from his stocks to keep them working.] Res. That a further 100 tons be offered with the suggestion that it be used for household purposes. [It wasn't only the gasworks that was short, domestic coal deliveries had almost ceased.]
May 4th 1921. The chairman reported the results of the conference held at the Town Hall between the Emergency committee (Coal Control) and mill owners in the town with a view to arranging the supply of coal to the gasworks and householders in consequence of the coal strike. [The government had moved quickly to put in place administration to organise and regulate coal supplies under the umbrella of the Emergency Powers Act of March 31st. They offered a continuation of the subsidy which had been paid under government war control but this failed to bring a resolution in the dispute between the owners and the miners and the strike call which had been postponed came into effect at 11:59pm on April 15th. This was, in effect, a general strike of transport as well as the mines. Lloyd George called all representatives in for talks and managed to avert the general strike, leaving the miners to fight alone. This was 'Black Friday' seen by the miners as a betrayal and never forgotten. It is the results of the continuing action by the miners which is causing the shortage. The control mechanisms put in place at this time were reactivated in 1926.] The resolution passed at the Town Hall meeting was that the gasworks and householders should be supplied for the next fortnight and that the coal should be obtained from those mills where the supply was the greatest and in proportion to the supplies over and above a fortnight's requirements. It was reported that the CHSC had allowed the gasworks to have 176 tons of coal and that we had 375 tons left.
It was also reported that two or three mills in the town had no supply of coal namely: J Slater and Sons, Clough Mill, the Long Ing Shed Company and J Nutter [Nutter Brothers had started Bancroft Shed in 1920, James Nutter and Sons Ltd were weaving at Bankfield Shed so I think it is Nutter Brothers who are being referred to.] That we allow J Slater and Sons Ltd 25 tons of coal at the same rate as that paid by the Coal Controller. [Remember that there was a relationship between CHSC and Slaters in respect of water from Gillian's Beck. Clough was only a small engine and this would be about three weeks supply for them.]
May 25th 1921. The chairman reported the result of the meeting of the Coal Emergency Act Committee which was to the effect that with the exception of two firms, the supply of coal to the mills in the town would not last more than ten to fourteen days. In the two cases referred to one firm held at least five to six week's supply and they were apparently unwilling to carry out the arrangement arrived at at the first meeting. It was resolved that no further coal be released until surplus stocks held by other firms in the town had been dealt with.
June 8th 1921. That Mr Wood be instructed to give information and attend at court re the thefts of coal from Butts Mill last week. It was stated that a quantity of coal at Butts Mill had been sold to householders and that there was now no coal at any mills in the town. In addition a strike of cotton operatives on the proposal of the masters to reduce wages 95% on list, reduced afterwards to 70%, took effect from Saturday last.
August 10th 1921. Mr Alfred Marsden attended and agreed that the supply of outside coal should stop on Saturday next and undertook to give a continuous supply of Altham Nuts coal to Wellhouse Mill and Butts Mill from Monday next at 42/2 per ton at Coates Wharf. The carting prices be 3/6 per ton to Butts and 2/5 to Wellhouse Mill. [Note the price!]
August 24th 1921. It was reported that the price of Bentley coal from P D Bilborough had been reduced 3/- as from August 18th bringing it to 42/6 per ton in our own wagons. Cartage extra at 2/3 per ton to Calf Hall.
September 14th 1921. Tenders were received for a supply of coal to WH and Butts Mills in consequence of the very inferior quality of Altham coal, it was necessary to obtain supplies from other sources. Res. That the following tenders be accepted: P Bilborough, Bentley Washed Doubles delivered at Barnoldswick 42/- and Acton Hall 42/- at Barnoldswick. The contact to be for 12 months and at the market price at the pit.
Res. That the supply of Altham coal be stopped on September 30th and that the tender of T E Holdsworth for carting at 1/8 per ton to either WH or Butts Mill be accepted. The other prices for carting were Alfred Marsden 2/3 per ton and P Bilborough 1/10 per ton.
December 7th 1921. Mr Bilborough informed the company that as from December 1st the price of Bentley coal and Acton Hall to CH, Butts and Wellhouse Mills would be 36/6 in our own wagons and 38/6 in colliery wagons, the carting is now 1/8 to Butts and WH but 2/3 to Calf Hall Shed.
July 12th 1922. That 100 tons of Bentley coal at 29/3 and 100 tons of New Monckton coal [At Royston, near Barnsley.] at 29/6 delivered at Coates Wharf be purchased and that New Monckton coal be used at Butts Mill.
October 15th 1924. That a supply of Glass Houghton coal be obtained at 22/5 per ton and tested at Butts Mill for a fortnight and that Mr Bilsborough be requested to cease supply during that period.
November 5th 1924. That the test of Glasshoughton coal at 22/5 per ton be continued for a further two weeks at Butts Mill.
June 8th 1925. A letter was read from P D Bilborough quoting a reduction of 2/9 per ton in the price of coal; the price from July 1st to December 31st being 24/5 for Acton Hall Washed doubles. 25/5 for Bentley Washed Doubles.
[Bear in mind what was happening nationally. The Tory government, in the pursuit of 'sound money' returned to the gold standard in 1925 at what was seen in retrospect as too high a rate. Coal exports plummeted, the mine owners responded by imposing further wage reductions in July 1925 and triggered strikes. The transport workers supported the miner's claims and the government averted this by continuing the subsidy to the owners until May 1st 1926. The withdrawal of this subsidy was to trigger the General Strike. CHSC may be doing well but nationally the country was entering even deeper recession.]
January 6th 1926. Tenders were received for carting coal: J Crabtree and Sons 1/6 per ton for all mills. E Holdsworth 1/6 per ton for WH and Butts and 2/- per ton for CH. As the carting done by Holdsworth had been considered satisfactory it was resolved that the work by him be continued. [It's perhaps a sign of the times that certainty becomes a greater factor than raw cost.]
May 5th 1926 [The General Strike started on May 1st 1926] It was reported that the coal strike commenced on May 3rd and that we had about four weeks stock.
May 20th 1926. Mr Wood reported that the Coal Controller had given permission to run next week providing the mills are stopped on Whit Monday. [The emergency measures first put in place in 1921 for the coal strike had been a useful rehearsal for the General Strike. The government was going to run the country under emergency powers.]
June 16th 1926. The meeting was called specially to discuss the question of the supply of coal during the strike, the mills having stopped on Saturday noon last week owing to shortage of coal, the stock having been used. Mr Bilborough attended and placed before them an offer he had received by phone of Sicilian [Silesian actually] large round coal over 2” at 42/6 per ton at Hull, railway carriage 10/5 per ton and wagon charges 1/6 per ton. [54/5 per ton] Res. That we order 500 tons and that a cheque be drawn for £400 on account.
July 15th 1926. A full report on the position re coal was given at the meeting to the effect that 500 tons of Silesian coal had been purchased from Mr Bilborough and that it was fairly good fuel. Res. That a further 500 tons be ordered.
August 4th 1926. That the purchase by Mr Banks of 150 extra tons of coal be approved.
August 18th 1926. Reported that we had 314 tons of coal in stock. Res. That we purchase a further 150 tons.
September 15th 1926. That a further 250 tons of coal be purchased and that the 150 tons ordered last week be confirmed.
November 24th 1926. Mr P D Bilborough quoted as follows for the supply of coal: Acton Hall washed doubles 25/- per ton and Bentley washed doubles at 25/8. The above prices being subject to a definite contract being entered into for a period of 12 months. Res. That the purchase of coal under these terms be deferred.
December 8th 1926. That a contract be entered into with Peter Bilborough for the supply of coal for the six months ending June 30th 1927 at the following prices: 25/- per ton for Acton Hall and 25/6 for Bentley. Acton Hall in our own wagons 1/6d per ton less and Bentley 1/2d ditto. Subject to quality being maintained.
June 29th 1927. Several suggestions were made for the supply of 500 to 1000 tons of coal, the matter being left over for the time being.
Notice that from now on coal is bought on long contract, mostly from Bilsborough. The shock of the massive increases during the general Strike has persuaded the directors that certainty of supply is worth more than opportunistic cherry-picking on price.
October 26th 1927. [From a letter to CHSC tenants.] I am pleased to be able to inform you that the directors have been successful in getting a reduction in the price of coal delivered in the boiler house from November 1st of 1/8 per ton which means a reduction in rent of 2/- per loom per annum and £13 per tape per annum. The combined reductions will thus be equivalent to about 7/7 per loom per annum from October 1st and 10/3 per loom from November 1st.”
Tenders were received from P D Bilborough for a contract for coal January 1st to June 30th 1928 as follows: Acton Hall washed nuts 20/6 per ton. Bentley washed doubles 21/6. South Kirby washed small nuts 21/3. Allerton Bywater doubles 21/6. Manvers Main 22/6. All delivered at Barnoldswick station. Res. That we offer 20/- for Acton Hall washed nuts and 21/- for Bentley washed doubles for 8 months from November 1st. [I think this is the first mention of an offer being made for coal at less than the price quoted. Evidently the CHSC wants Bilborough to share the pain.]
November 9th 1927. D Bilborough wrote confirming the settlement and acceptance of the coal contract from November 1st to June 30th 1928 at the following terms. Acton Hall Washed nuts 20/4 per ton delivered at Barlick station. Bentley washed doubles 21/6 ditto subject to the usual clauses. Res. That the settlement be confirmed. [The ploy hasn't worked!]
November 21st 1928. A tender was read from P D Bilborough for undertaking to continue the supply of coal for a further six months January to June 30th 1929 at the same price as before: Acton Hall 20/6 and Bentley washed doubles 21/6.
May 15th 1929. A letter was read from P D Bilborough offering coal at an increase of 6d per ton for 6 or 12 months contract. Res. That settlement of the contract and price be left with Mr Banks.
May 21st 1930. That a contract be entered into with P Bilborough for the continuation of supply of coal for one year from July 1st 1930. Acton Hall washed nuts 21/- per ton. Bentley washed doubles 22/-. Both delivered at Barnoldswick station.
May 25th 1932. It was reported that a quotation from P D Bilborough for the supply of coals similar to the current contract had been received. The prices were: Bentley Washed Doubles 22/3 per ton. Acton Hall Washed Nuts 21/3 delivered at Barnoldswick station (in the CHSC wagons). Res. That the contract be continued until June 30th 1933.
Butts Mill was closed in April 1933.
May 17th 1933. That a contract to June 30th 1934 be arranged with P Bilborough; Bentley washed doubles 21/2 per ton. Bentley washed singles (1” x ½”) 19/10.
May 16th 1934. A quotation from P D Bilborough, coal merchant of Barnoldswick, for supply of coal for the year ending June 30th 1935 was read. Res. That this be accepted subject to the supply being satisfactory and the price reduced if the general level of coal prices falls. The prices quoted were as follows: Bentley washed doubles 21/- per ton. Bentley washed singles 19/10. Airedale singles 20/-. Manvers Main singles 21/-. Glass Houghton Singles 20/4. Acton Hall washed nuts 20/6.
June 19th 1935. A quotation from P D Bilborough for the supply of coal to Wellhouse Mill and Calf Hall Shed was considered: Bentley Washed Doubles 21/-. Ditto singles 19/10. Acton Hall washed nuts 19/10. Airedale washed singles 19/10. All for the period July 1st 1935 to June 30th 1936.
Res. That the quotation be accepted providing quality is satisfactory.
May 27th 1936. Reported that a letter had been received from P D Bilborough offering to supply: Bentley Washed Singles 21/4 per ton. Airedale washed singles 21/4 per ton. Delivered at Barlick station in colliery wagons or 1/2 per ton less in CHSC wagons for the period July 1st 1936 to June 30th 1937. Res. That a price be obtained for Cortonwood Coal.
May 26th 1937. That a quotation from P D Bilborough dated May 18th 1937 for the supply of coal to both mills for 12 months to June 30th 1938 at 21/4 per ton for either Bentley washed singles or Airedale ditto, delivered at Barlick station less 1/2 per ton when delivered in our wagons be accepted.
June 16th 1937. Reported that a letter had been received re the tender for coal accepted at the previous meeting stating that the Coal Sales committee had refused to agree to it and that a revised tender would be necessary. Res. That the minute of the previous meeting be rescinded and that a contract be approved for the purchase of 1500 tons of Allerton Bywater washed singles at 23/4 per ton delivered at the station and for a supply of Bentley washed singles as required at 24/4 per ton delivered at the station. [The Coal Mines Act of 1930 introduced a system of quotas in the coal industry. Under the legislation companies were only allowed a certain market share in order to restrain competition. Local committees were set up in Lancashire which regulated prices and sources of supply but these were generally ineffective and were superseded by the later war measures (Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939) under which the coal industry was controlled by central government who dictated prices and distribution policy. This was the end of private management of collieries until the Coal Mines Act of 1994 abolished the National Coal Board and led to privatisation of the 15 remaining pits.]
June 16th 1938. Coal contract. A tender for the supply of coal for 12 months from June 30th 1938 was received from P D Bilborough giving a price of 24/11 for Bentley coal and 24/4 for Airedale coal delivered at Barnoldswick station less 1/2 per ton for CH wagons. The contract for 1500 tons of Cortonwood at 24/4 expires on June 30th 1938. That the chairman and secretary settle the contracts for next year on the best terms possible.
July 21st 1938. That 1200 tons of Cortonwood coal at 25/7 per ton be purchased for the year ending June 30th 1939 and the balance required to be Bentley and Airedale at 24/11 and 24/4 respectively. [The Cortonwood contract may be directly with the colliery and not via a merchant.]
June 15th 1939. That the present coal contracts be continued for a further 12 months to June 30th 1940 at the present prices: Cortonwood 1200 tons at 25/7 per ton. Bentley 24/11 and Airedale 24/4.
May 23rd 1940. A letter from P D Bilborough was read re the coal contract, in which he quoted: Bentley washed singles at 27/5 per ton delivered to Barlick station. Airedale ditto 26/10. That the secretary confirm acceptance of the contract.
During the war no coal was purchased for the mills. It seems that one boiler was kept running for heating at Wellhouse fired with coke from the gasworks but this was not controlled by CHSC.
November 15th 1945. The secretary reported that a request had been made for an allocation of coal for Wellhouse Mill in place of coke but from the correspondence it seemed very doubtful that the application would be successful. [Coke was a by-product of the local gasworks and cut down on transport if it was used instead of coal.]
June 19th 1958. It was reported that considerable stocks of coal remained at Wellhouse Mill and it was agreed that deliveries be suspended for the time being. [Last entry on coal, shortly afterwards the engine was stopped.]
Coal must have been bought after 1945 but there is no mention in the minutes. The only evidence of coal costs is from the General Trading Accounts included with the balance sheets for the half yearly general meetings but we only have one: June 1945, £586. The payment of accounts in the minutes has no details so we are left in the dark. I think it's safe to assume that they pursued the same policy as pre-war, annual contracts with a merchant. Nationalisation made no difference to this mechanism as sale and distribution of coal was still done by established merchants acting for the National Coal Board. When I was running Bancroft in the 1970s the fuel was delivered by R Dennison and Son, a haulage contractor working for British Fuel which I think was a semi-official amalgamation of existing coal merchants.
It was a long haul from coal as low as 8/- a ton to modern prices via the amazing peak of almost 55/- during the General Strike. I'll leave it to the economists to produce an adjusted price based on real values, what interests me is what the directors had to cope with and their strategies.
The first thing that strikes me is their first tentative moves into the coal market and the process of trial and error which led them to trusted suppliers and long term contracts. Along the way the most surprising entry is that of March 28th 1900 when they were considering buying a colliery, shades of William Bracewell and the Ingleton Collieries. I think that as far as they were concerned, the purchase of Silesian coal in June 1926 was probably quite astounding. The original minute referred to 'Sicilian' coal, it had taken the minute taker by surprise!
The overall problem they had was that coal was an international commodity. It's price and availability was governed by the export trade or lack of it after re-valuation of the currency. This in turn affected wage levels in the industry and cuts by the colliery owners led to the strikes which immediately had an effect on supply and price. Uncontrolled recruitment for the army in the early part of WW1 led to a labour shortage and had repercussions on supply. All these factors affected the running costs of the mills and rent levels. Coal price fluctuations were at first badly handled. True there was a coal clause in the rents but we have noted the problem which arose when the tenants thought the penalties of higher prices should be adjusted as soon as the price altered while the board were working on the price paid for the coal currently being burned which of course was a later date than the price change. One is reminded of the constant dichotomy today between world fuel prices and the cost to the consumer, the mechanism seems to be that the retail price rises with market price but lags behind any fall in the market. Reading between the lines, common sense prevailed and an accommodation was arrived at with the tenants.
Criticism based on hindsight is dangerous. Bearing this in mind it still surprises me that it took so long to recognise the benefit of long term contracts at an assured price as opposed to opportunistic cherry-picking of the market based on spot prices. There is a technical matter embedded in this thought. Firebeaters and engineers operated most efficiently with known fuels. The characteristics of coal vary from seam to seam and the strategies needed to burn them efficiently vary as well. We have a good example of this in the minute of April 18th 1917 where bad coal causes one firebeater to vote with his feet and his mate refuses weekend working. One of the consequences of bad coal is more frequent ashing-out which, apart from being a burden on the firebeater is grossly inefficient as regards fuel economy. Notice how, if an engine and boiler pant are hard pressed the board recognises this by giving them the best coal.
I have personal experience of this matter. During the miner’s strike in the 1970s I had to burn all the stock at Bancroft and when I got to the back of the stockpile I found some strange red rusty-looking stuff. It was some of the Lease-Lend brown coal which we imported from America after WW2 and I found out just how bad it was. On normal coal we ashed out twice a day, with this we were cleaning the fires every hour. When Newton Pickles had to burn this at Clough after the war he had to add old motor tyres to get it to burn!
Funnily enough a wagon turned up one day with a load of coal and instead of being the usual six-wheeler it was an eight-wheeler. We had a job getting him into the yard but managed and got him tipped. It was Sutton Manor washed singles from Lancashire, just about the best engine coal you could get and a big change from the rubbish we were burning. When I signed the driver's note I saw that the destination on it was not Bancroft but Bankfield, Rolls Royce. I didn’t say anything but just took the ticket up into the office and never heard anything more about it. I’ve often wondered who paid for that coal, it was lovely stuff and burned like candle ends so we used it with the red muck and it made the job a lot easier. I told Newton about it and we agreed that there must be a providence that looks after drunken men and firebeaters on bad coal.
One more peripheral matter. During my term as engineer at Bancroft I took fuel efficiency very seriously, read all I could on the subject and made significant improvements without major alterations to the plant. If you want to explore this further find my book on Bancroft Shed on, it's a complicated subject. What always struck me was that even in the 1970s the management never took fuel economy seriously, in fact, after I had reported on fuel economy one day the managing director told me that the only thing that would interest him would be when I sent coal back to the pit. The directors of CHSC were aware of these matters in later years and Teddy Wood in particular made significant improvements in the efficiency of the plant but I don't think they ever fully realised the scale of improvement that was possible. Another example of this from my own experience.
In 1978 I put a scheme up to the management at Bancroft whereby we could significantly improve fuel efficiency at no capital cost by burning the 300 tons of stock and using the savings on the coal account plus an available government grant to replace our old stokers with modern under-fired equipment. The result was that having realised the potential asset of burning the stock they told me to go ahead and as soon as it was gone they shut a profitable mill! (You're quite right, I may be biased.)
My point is that the technical blind spot I describe was, and I suspect still is, common. This despite the fact that during WW2 the government put a lot of effort into fuel efficiency, they had got the message. In 1944 the Ministry of Fuel and Power published 'The Efficient Use of Fuel' This was the first authoritative compendium of all the existing knowledge on the subject and it took a world war to initiate the work. My copy was bought by a man called Hilbert Burton, a mill owner in Brierfield, who had evidently seen the light. I allow myself the fantasy of how much money the board of the CHSC could have saved over the years if they had access to this knowledge. Ah well....
The bottom line of my enquiry into the CHSC and its use of coal is that despite all the perceived deficiencies visible with hindsight they paid a dividend almost every year. This was their goal and in those terms they did well.


There comes a point where research and interpretation has to stop. This always happens before you have finished extracting all the available evidence. There is so much more to be found by close examination of the balance sheets and financial performance. Much more could be done on the public perception of the shed companies, to a large extent they were shielded from negative feelings directed towards the 'rapacious' manufacturers as evidenced by the frequent strikes over wages, conditions and structural changes in management. However, anyone who researches Barlick in any depth will come across references to the 'Forty Thieves', a natural human reaction to the group of men who seemed to control the town and the shed company directors do not escape attention. I have evidence that an informal association of capital holders did exist and colluded to maximise their profits. Like any other human enterprise, the development of a town like Barlick is no random walk and contains the full spectrum from honest endeavour to cynical exploitation. The CHSC Minute Books are not a road map to this complex subject, they are a shaft of light on some important elements of the whole and individual readers will draw their own conclusions.
One thing we would do well to bear in mind is that what we have seen in Barlick didn't happen in a vacuum. We should always be aware of outside influence by national events. I have a kite to fly about this. I occasionally allow my mind to wander around the timing of Billycock's original incursion into Barlick to take advantage of what he evidently saw as an opportunity for expansion. Britain had one of its worst economic downturns in 1841/42. Butts Mill was under construction during the recovery of 1844/47 which saw a national boom in railway construction and an optimistic financial climate. There is a curious parallel in 1888 when the CHSC was promoted. There was a severe local crisis but nationally this was a time of peak profitability in the weaving trade. Timing is all and in this respect Bracewell and the CHSC might have much in common.
I have to admit to a sneaking regard for the promoters of the company. On the one hand they are a classic example of 19th century laissez faire capitalism but on the other, they were a group of public minded entrepreneurs who saw a problem, a possible solution and a way to go forward. I don't think anyone can immerse themselves in the story without getting a definite impression that one of their aims was the betterment of the town. Granted, this had implications for them, their status and personal fortunes but at no point do I detect that this was the over-riding goal. Look at the tone of the speeches reported from the christening ceremony at Calf Hall in 1889. Brooks Banks, the chairman said “He would rather take 100 sheep with little wool than one blustering tup with it all.” I'm sure he was making a reference to the dead hand of the Bracewell hegemony and putting himself, the directors and their enterprise firmly in the anti-Bracewell camp. Even a commentator as deferential as William Parkinson Atkinson alluded to the “big dog and little dog” problems. I talked to Stephen Pickles, son of the Stephen Pickles in the minutes, and he confirmed that my feeling that Bracewell and Sons had a bad press was correct. What we don't get from the minutes is that in 1866 the Pickles family gave up on Barlick and moved en masse to New England on the promise of three acres and a cow. They soon realised their mistake and came back but the memory of the failure of the town's industry to support budding entrepreneurs remained strong down the generations. In the end of course, the small manufacturers produced the giants of the Barlick trade and some like the Pickles family outlasted the rest of the industry. The last weaving shed in Barlick was Holden's 90 looms at Wellhouse.
One of my main objectives in publicising the minutes and writing this book was to put some flesh on the bones of what is known generally about the shed companies and their operations. You will be the judge of whether I have added anything to the research. As for the advent of the shed companies in Barlick, we can have no doubt that in at least one respect, the CHSC promoters triumphed completely. The growth of Barlick from 1890 to 1914 is a direct consequence of the impetus given to manufacturing by the low threshold of entry into the trade by room and power provided by the shed companies. The names of the promoters of the new mills built in the town are synonymous with the early tenants in the Long Ing and Calf Hall companies. The additional investment which financed the new builds after 1900 came from the retail trades who had done well out of the general expansion. Barnsey Shed built in 1911 had two nicknames, one was 'Bouncer' and the other was 'Pots and Pans', the latter because one of the major shareholders was Sam Yates the tinsmith from Church Street, his wife christened the HP cylinder. There is only one manufacturer amongst the first directors at Barnsey, all the others were from retail trade and service industries. Economists often cite the 'trickle down effect' of investment in key industries. Nowhere is this more true than in Barlick.
It doesn't end there. House building and population exploded alongside the mills. It was the attraction of the family wage and equal pay under the piecework system that drove inward migration to the mill towns. Many families with children working in the mills had very substantial incomes particularly if the father was one of the working class aristocracy, a taper, tackler or winding master. These families built houses to rent, often with a shop attached to provide employment for the wife. This was seen as provision for old age in the days when the fear of the workhouse was still very real. The consequence was that from 1914 until the council house building post 1945, apart from a few houses built as infill, there was no new housing needed in the town. Visitors to the town, especially from the US often comment that almost every building would be a Landmark building at home.
Despite the vicissitudes of occasional downturns in trade the workers, on the whole, prospered. There was enough money in the town to support three cinemas, at one time a roller skating rink, three orchestras and even, in the middle of the inter war depression, a country club at Bracewell Hall. The basis of this growth in the culture of Barlick was the solid bedrock of money that came out of the mills at all levels. The legacy of well built stone houses serves us to this day, these were not archetypal slums, but sound properties. I live in one myself and wouldn't dream of swapping it for a new house even if I could afford it.
We must take note of one last legacy of the expansion triggered by room and power in the shed companies. This was the availability of large empty mills in 1939 which allowed the Shadow Factories to be located here. After the war these modernised premises attracted the new industries which are still with us today and gave us the Rolls Royce works. Without this sequence of events it's difficult to see what Barlick's course from the death of weaving into the modern world would have been. By an accident of fate the government was forced to inject investment into the town and it's salutary to note that our greatest benefactor was probably Adolph Hitler. There's an unlikely combination for you, the shed companies and an evil dictator. Time to put up a monument? I occasionally wonder what the effect would have been on the inter-war depression if the same principles of rational reorganisation and public investment had been applied to industry still locked into 19th century laissez faire principles.
So, what's my conclusion? The concept of the shed company which built mills specifically to cater for the small manufacturers while never entering the trade themselves was efficient and enlightened. Efficient because it gave a low threshold of entry and freedom to specialise. Enlightened because the aim was to increase employment and nurture profitable enterprises. They were a natural successor to the concept of partners renting space in the old water-powered mills and it's noticeable that the only firm which prohibited this sharing of opportunity, the Bracewells, was the one which failed. The verdict must be that they were a complete success.
I'll leave you with that thought, a recommendation and a story. Seek out one of my favourite books, Harold Macmillan's 'Middle Way' published in 1938. The story is that one day in 1979 I happened to be on King's Cross station and had occasion to ask the passenger in a car that was causing an obstruction if he could move. I tapped on the rear window and when it was wound down I found myself face to face with our Harold! I was so taken aback the only thing that came out of my mouth was “I've read the Middle Way”. He smiled and said “I wish others would do the same!” My point is that the man seen by many as a right wing reactionary advocated public ownership, government investment in key industries and a middle way between 19th century laissez faire Capitalism and rampant Socialism.
Couldn't resist that. Incidentally, I recently found a quotation attributed to Harold less than a month before he died in 1986. He had seen the figure for unemployment in his old constituency of Stockton on Tees which was 28%, just one percentage point lower than when he was MP from 1924-1929. He said it was “A rather sad end to one's life”.


These two documents are not directly CHSC related but they put some flesh on the bones of the effects of WW2 on the manufacturers in Barlick and give an idea of the human scale behind the impersonal data embedded in the number of looms. 625 workers in a 1000 loom unit. These are human beings working to feed families and fill bottom drawers ready for a wedding. We do well to remember them.
One example; we can calculate from the Bancroft list an average of four and a half looms per worker. Looking at the totals for looms in 1941 and 1947 we can make the educated estimate that 2,970 workers ran the Barlick looms in 1941 and only 1640 in 1947. A loss of 1,330 jobs.


In the 1930s the government, as part of the measures to correct problems in the textile industry, formed a statutory body called The Cotton Control Board. One of the board's strategies was to make a census of all looms in use and during WW2 they brought in a licensing scheme whereby they could control the number of looms operating and where they were situated. This meant that some mills were forced to go out of production and many redundant looms were stored all over the town in the expectation that the end of the war would bring a revival in the trade.
Like many of these initiatives, we know they existed but have very little reliable local evidence. Luckily, when Bancroft Shed was being demolished I managed to save some papers from the office and one of these was a little gem, the pre-war census figures for looms in the town and a list made by year of those running during the war.
It would be too complicated to give the complete figures but here are enough of them to give an idea of how the manufacturers fared under licensing which came into effect after April 1941.


FIRM March 1940 Nov. 1941 Oct 1947
S Pickles and Son 432 nil nil
Craven Man. Co Ltd 1260 nil nil
Butts Man. Co Ltd 420 nil nil
New Road Man. Co Ltd 432 nil nil
S Pickles and Sons Ltd nil 1680 1722
B&EM Holden Ltd 432 282 240
M Horsfield and Sons Ltd 414 151 163
Cairns and Lang Ltd 635 524 335
Robinson Brooks Ltd 987 731 730
James Nutter Ltd 1183 1152 945
Horsfield (B'field) Ltd 321 120 109
Proctor&Co (Barlick) Ltd 420 250 250
WE&D Nutter Ltd 1125 nil nil
John Widdup & Sons Ltd 1116 700 650
Alderton Bros Ltd 432 293 293
T S Edmondson 432 nil nil
Nutter Bros Ltd 1192 406 325
James Slater Ltd 638 nil 302
H Ellison Ltd 50 88 99
Ellerbank Man Co Ltd 118 110 110
Manock Gill and Co Ltd 660 520 550
Edmondson (F'bank) Ltd 660 520 550

Totals. 13359 7529 7373

In November 1941 the licence fee per loom per annum was 1/3. From February 1942 until the end of licensing in 1947 it was 1/6 per loom per annum.

DECEMBER 5th 1941

Name address occupation age
W E Nutter The Knoll Man. Director 59
F W Mattocks Gisburn Road Salesman
Vernon Nutter 25 Park Road Manager 42
W Bracewell 44 Lower Rook St Clerk 17
Fred Midgley 1 Calf Hall Rd Engineer
Harry Brown 2 Mosley St Fireman 27
W W Wilson 12 Rainhall Rd Motor driver
R Sharples 28 Park Ave Cloth looker 37
J T Isherwood 18 Back Park St Cloth looker 41
George Nutter 61 Park Rd Cloth looker 61
Jn. Greenhalgh 12 Skipton Rd Cloth looker
Walter Naylor 3 Robert St Cloth looker 33
Thomas Roper 12 Frank Street Warehouseman 54
Harold Parker 12 North Parade Warehouseman 46
Cyrus Eccleston 45 Wellington St Night watchman
Fred Naylor 3 Robert St Night watchman 58
John Burrell 42 Rosemont Ave Tape labourer 30
Joe Calverly Taylor Avenue Taper
Rennie Shepherd 28 Victoria Rd Taper 50
W K Whiteoak 146 Gisburn Rd Machine operator 30
Wm Eccleston 15 Beech Grove Machine operator 55
Robert Walker 16 Cavendish St Loomer 46
D Brennand 10 Taylor St Loomer 67
Lawrence Kieron 4 Hollins Rd Loomer charge hand 39
Wm Tomlinson 48 Manchester Rd Head overlooker 38
J Carr 24 Beech Street overlooker
L Steele 2 Essie Terrace Overlooker
Les Beaumont 26 Cobden St Overlooker 51
Richard Lord 17 Sackville St Overlooker 46
Edward Burke 9 Powell St Overlooker 49
Eddie Green 53 Harrison St Overlooker
George Stretch 11 Alice St Weaver 51
Alfred Geldard 7 Bethel St Weaver 57
Sam Ottie 35 York St Weaver 62
Bracewell Stanley 15 James St Weaver 61
Cyril Brown 5 Pleasant View Weaver 38
Clifford Hartley 33 Gisburn St Weaver 41
J W Wellock 23 Bruce St Weaver 63
Arthur Stockdale 6 Park Road Weaver 48
Edward Pickup 8 Essie Terrace Weaver 44
Rennie Brown 34 Park Avenue Weaver
Tom Harrison 37 Lower East Ave Weaver 40
Holbury Metcalfe 19 Clarence St Weaver 62
Sam Wiseman 9 Montrose Terrace Weaver 42
Fred Pearson 27 Beech St Weaver 42
Wm Coppinge 58 M/c Road Weaver 51
Thos Lawson 62 Uppr York St Weaver 41
Clarence Downs 50 Park St Weaver 54
Robert Beckett 6 Gillians Weaver 39
Joe Croasdale 2 Lane Bottoms Weaver 62
Fred Brown Willow Bank M/c Rd Weaver 36
Herbert Brown 4 Rook Street Weaver 52
Alan Preston 8 Cavendish St Weaver 32
Wilfred Preston 19 Earl St Weaver 38
Luther Duxbury 11 Park Street Weaver 45
Craven Waddington 21 Park Rd Weaver 48
Edward Fishwick 74 York St Weaver 53
John Tattersall 47 Park Rd Weaver 50
Harry Cawdrey 10 Cavendish St Weaver 49
Thos Horrocks 13 Colne Rd Weaver 62
J W Dent 17 Turner St Weaver 36
Sid Myers 21 East Hill St Weaver 30
Wm Shuttleworth 4 Rook Street Weaver 54
Jn C Taylor 7 Clifford Street Weaver 58
Walter Smalley Lynfield Tubber Hill Weaver 61
Fred Exley Lynfield Tubber Hill Weaver 49
Rennie Geldard 18 Butts Weaver 44
Harry Moody 55 Lower Park St Weaver 48
Alfred Thomas 5 Lane Bottom Weaver 41
Joe Bentley 59 Cobden Street Weaver 50
Ron Tattersall 47 Park Rd Weaver 18
Les Wilson 19 Colne Road Weaver 16
Thomas Green 9 Town Head Weaver
Chas Watson 71 Lower Rook St Weaver 70
Jim Unsworth 50 Esp Lane Weaver
Henry Preston 8 Cavendish St Weaver 67
James Waygood 6a Hartley St Weaver 68
Thos Taylor 4 Park Street Weaver 65
John Wilson 17 James Street Weaver 66
H Edmondson 60 Skipton Road Weaver 69
Fred Barrett Standridge Farm Weaver 66
Jim Robinson 3 Ribblesdale Ter Weaver 68
Joe Brooksbank 23 Essex St Weaver 65
Wm. Metcalfe Burdock Hill Weaver 72
Rich. Pollard 3 Bank House Flats Weaver 69
K Harwood Twister 16
L Golding 40 Park Road Weaver 33
Henry Brown 28 Valley Road Weaver 54
James Monk 152 M/c Road Loomer
Alice Stell 11 Sackville St Weaver 61
Mrs Schofield 4 Fountain Street Weaver
J Hodgkinson 20 Bracewell St Beamer
M Davy 42 Lower Rook St Winder
M MacDonald 53 Esp Lane Weaver 60
Mary Horrocks 13 Colne Road Weaver 62
Rose Mason 69 Sunset View Weaver 64
Anne MacDonald Winder
Ethel Hartley Weaver 41
Ivy Robinson Weaver 44
Margaret Stretch Weaver 50
Ellen Pate Weaver 19
Evelyn Conboy
Winnie Bennett Weaver 29
Alice Hartley Weaver 42
Hilda Pickering Weaver
Annie Metcalfe Weaver 35
Florrie Geldard Weaver 52
Jessie Pearson Weaver 39
Clarice Moore Weaver 38
Marion Chadwick Weaver 38
Nellie Duxbury Weaver
Bessie Tomlinson Weaver 32
Mary Calverly Weaver 49
Eva Smith Weaver 31
Eliz. Boothman Weaver 36
Ellen Waddington Weaver 29
Ruby Swire Weaver
Mary Sharples Weaver 30
Kath Kiernan Weaver
Dorothy Cawdrey Weaver 48
Hilda Brown Weaver
Gertrude Coppinge Weaver 49
Minnie Wiseman Weaver 55
Nellie Clarke Weaver
Millie Broughton Weaver 29
Alice Sharples Weaver 50
Mary Ashley Weaver 54
Maud Chadwick Weaver 52
Violet Bailey Weaver 45
Edith Edmondson Weaver 43
Nellie Demaine Weaver 42
Doris Brennand Weaver 25
Mary Duckworth Weaver 46
Mabel Pearson Weaver 46
Mona Platt Weaver 30
Gladys Aldersley Weaver 24
Evelyn Ratcliffe Weaver 42
Mary Stockdale Weaver 49
Elsie Pearson Weaver 37
Chrissie Eccleston Weaver 21
Kate Lord Weaver 42
Anne Cope Weaver 49
May Robinson Weaver 53
Marion Turner Weaver 25
Louise Green Weaver 35
Phyllis Parkinson Weaver 31
Edith Brown Weaver 33
Eliza Mason Weaver 55
Chrissie Plumbley Weaver 43
Winnie Parkinson Weaver 26
Mabel Lodge Weaver 52
Ruth Hacking Weaver 41
Lilly Taylor Weaver 52
Jessie Smith Weaver 32
Eva Pateman Weaver 39
Gladys Newbould Weaver 50
Mary Dacre Weaver 50
Alice Cryer Weaver 39
Gwen Moore Weaver 40
Laura Demaine Weaver
Emily Gorton Weaver 39
Polly Fishwick Weaver 53
Eliza Daly Weaver 45
Eliza Chatwood Weaver 28
Elsie Pickering Weaver 47
Doris Stockdale Weaver 40
Daisy Kenyon Weaver
Jane Nutter Weaver 49
Hilda Bailey Weaver 33
Mary Monks Weaver 47
Ethel Holden Weaver 42
Elsie Mason Weaver 34
Annie Burke Weaver 47
Mary O’Neill Weaver 19
Nellie Moore Weaver
Olive Moore Weaver 38
Anne Astin Weaver 39
Maud Reid Weaver 48
Gertrude Gleeson Weaver 42
Elsie Hargreaves Weaver 40
Jennie Waterworth Weaver 24
Winnie Bentley Weaver 46
Annie Exley Weaver 43
Edith Lawson Weaver 38
Emily Waterworth Weaver 35
Evelyn Lee Weaver 34
Eliz. Hayes Weaver
Florence Crerar Weaver 54
Polly Hodson Weaver 33
Mary Downs Weaver 28
Annie Bell Weaver 37
Jane Craddock Weaver 32
Annie Stephens Weaver 24
Nora Titherington Weaver 21
Eva Nutter Weaver 31
Gladys Dobson Weaver 34
Sarah Edmondson Weaver 53
Mary Holt Weaver
Alice Demaine Weaver 32
Sarah Bracewell Weaver 26
Muriel Daly Winder
Lillian Whiteoak Winder
Alice Martin Weaver 40
Elsie Windle Weaver 26
Dorothy Hesketh Winder
Mrs Moss Winder
L Palmer Winder
H Clarke Winder
May Brooks Weaver 40
Ethel Ashworth Weaver 51
Annie Green Weaver 40
Ivy Pickup Weaver 33
Olga Hartley Weaver 19
Ida Brennand Weaver 20
Joan Cope Weaver 19
Doris King Weaver 20
Jean Holmes Weaver 18
Hilda Green Weaver 18
Nora Heyes Weaver 19
Madge Edmondson Weaver 16
Olive Reid Weaver 16
Eliz. Demaine Weaver 17
Greta Holmes Weaver 15
Enid Holden Weaver 16
Nellie Hudson Weaver 24

[Transcribed by Stanley Challenger Graham from the original return made by the management at Bancroft Shed. 225 workers in total, 1000 looms reported as licensed in February 1942. average of four and a half looms per worker.]


Transcription of an article in the Nelson Times, Saturday June 9th 1888.


Bracewell versus Bracewell, Smith and Threlfall.

On Tuesday [5th June 1888] the case of Bracewell versus Bracewell, Smith and Threlfall came up for hearing in the Chancery Division of the Royal Courts of Justice Keckawich. Sir Charles Russell, QC, MP and Mr O L Clare appeared for the Plaintiff, Mrs Elizabeth Bracewell. Mr Bigham QC and Mr Samuel Hall and Mr Farewell were for the Defendant Mr C G Bracewell and Mr Neville QC, MP and Mr Swinfen Eady appeared for the Defendants Smith and Threlfall.
Sir Charles Russell, in opening the case, said it was an action to recover certain sums of money, about £21,000 odd, from the defendants in respect of her late husband’s share in the business of William Bracewell and Sons. The Plaintiff was the widow of the late William Metcalfe Bracewell who was a partner in the firm of William Bracewell and Sons, Cotton Spinners, Manufacturers and Corn Millers of Barnoldswick and Burnley. About September 1879 a partnership was entered into between William Bracewell, the father, and William Metcalfe Bracewell and Christopher George Bracewell his sons, but no written articles of Partnership were ever executed. It was however verbally agreed that the business and assets should belong to the partners in the proportion of five-tenths to Mr William Bracewell, three-tenths to Mr William Metcalfe Bracewell and two-tenths to Christopher George Bracewell and the partnership was carried on on that footing until 10th of June 1880. He [William Metcalfe] died intestate leaving a widow (the present plaintiff) and three children. His widow took out Letters of Administration to his estate. In May of the following year the amount of capital of Mr William Metcalfe Bracewell’s share was ascertained to be £19,509-9-8 and that amount was entered in the books of the firm to the credit of an account named ‘William Metcalfe Bracewell’s estate in account with William Bracewell and Sons’ . Then the Plaintiff applied to the firm for payment of her share and threatened proceedings against them for the recovery of it. However it was ultimately agreed to that if the Plaintiff would not press the firm for immediate payment Mr William Bracewell personally guaranteeing the payment of the amount with interest at the rate of £3 per cent per annum until paid, and on the 6th of July 1882, four promissory notes payable on demand for £4,335-8-10, £4,335-8-10, £4,335-8-10 and £6,503-3-3 respectively were signed by him and given to the Plaintiff as collateral security for the sum of £19,509-9-8 the amount of her late husband’s share in the business. [Making the total capital of the partnership £65,000] Mr William Bracewell made his will on the 1st of March 1885 and appointed the defendants executors and trustees of his real estate. On the 13th of the same month he died and his will was duly proved by the defendants. Various sums had from time to time been paid by the firm before and since the death of Mr William Bracewell in respect of his deceased son’s shares but all those sums had been insufficient to keep down the accruing interest and over £21,000 was due and owing to the plaintiff from the firm. Since the death of Mr William Bracewell, the plaintiff had repeatedly applied to Mr Christopher George Bracewell as surviving partner and to the defendants Mr Smith Smith and Mr Joseph Henry Threlfall as executors for payment of the above amount. She had also demanded payment of the promissory notes but her demands had not been complied with. Since the death of his father, Mr Christopher Bracewell had continued to carry on the business alone. On 9th April 1886 an action was commenced in the Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster by Christopher George Bracewell against Smith Smith and Joseph Henry Threlfall and also Mrs Mary Jane Bracewell (two of the beneficiaries under the will of William Bracewell) for the administration of the trusts of the will and on the 28th of July 1886 an order was made for the trusts of the will and various accounts and enquiries were directed together with a reference to Chambers, to appoint a Receiver. In conclusion the learned council said in point of law he did not think there could be very much controversy or matter for controversy between them. When Mr William Metcalfe Bracewell died it could not be doubted that the firm was liable to his representatives for his interest in the firm, and the interest was fixed by Mr William Bracewell, as he would show by the evidence of Mr Matthew Watson, at the figure of £19,509-9-8. He submitted that the onus was on the defendants to show that this lady, who represented her own interests and the interests of her infant children, had done something which operated as a release of the liability of Christopher George Bracewell.
MRS ELIZABETH BRACEWELL examined by Sir Charles Russell said that she was sent for by her father-in-law in May 1882, in consequence of a letter which Mr Hodgson, her solicitor, had sent to him relative to the money due to her in respect of her husband’s share in the business. He showed her the letter and asked if she had authorised Mr Hodgson to write it. He was in a great rage and offered to give the whole thing up and told her to take it into her own hands and manage the best way she could. She was leaving the office and he called her back and asked her to get ready to go with Mr Eastwood, the book-keeper to Burnley, and they by the next train went to see Mr Matthew Watson with respect to this matter. Mr Bracewell said he was as much responsible for the children’s interest as she was, but she objected to that. It was not so and she was solely interested. She was not present when the promissory notes were signed. She saw Mr Bracewell the following evening and he said she had asked for nothing that was not right, and added that he had made ‘All square’. He would give her the notes. He said he had given her a double surety on his private estate as well as upon the Partnership and said she might have them made up in shares for the children and one for herself and then if she required she could be paid out. Between the time of her husband’s death and the time when she received the promissory notes Mr William Bracewell sent her £5 a week for household expenses.
Cross-examined by Mr Bigham she said that Mr Bracewell advised her to go to Mr Watson.--- Mr Bigham: Do you mean to say that after you got these promissory notes you believed that nobody but your father-in-law was liable to you in respect of this money? Just let me read it to you: ‘I promise to pay on demand to Elizabeth Bracewell on her order the sum of £6,503-3-3, being part of the sum of £19,509-9-9 due from me to my late son William Metcalfe Bracewell on the day of his death which occurred on the 10th of June 1880 the said sum of £6,503-3-3 to bear interest after the rate of five per cent per annum payable half-yearly.’ Did you read it when you got it? The Witness: ‘Yes’ --- Do you mean to tell my Lord that after these negotiations with the father you regarded the firm, or Christopher George Bracewell, who was not the monied man, as in any way liable to you in respect of the money which your husband had left in the firm? ‘Yes, I always considered the firm responsible.’
In reply to Mr Neville the witness said that she claimed the promissory notes as security for what was due to her husband from the firm of William Bracewell and Sons, and also from the separate estate of William Bracewell.
MR MATTHEW WATSON, auctioneer of Burnley said he examined the books of Bracewell and Sons and found that William Metcalfe Bracewell’s share in the concern was three-tenths. No stock was taken at the time the partnership was entered into. He saw Mr Bracewell Senior on the Manchester Exchange and spoke to him about giving security to Mrs Bracewell. He was very indignant and said that all he could do was make his private property available as well as the partnership and he was willing to give the promissory notes as collateral security, and the whole business was carried out along those lines. He (the witness) never heard of such a thing as Mr Bracewell buying his late son’s interest in the firm. He asked for an account to see how matters stood and he received one on the 9th of December 1881. He found £19,599-9-8[sic] due to William Metcalfe Bracewell at the time of his death.
Cross examined he said he was first called in for the purpose of ascertaining the value of the personal estate for administration purposes. He examined the ledger. The ledger was only posted up to the year 1878.
In reply to Mr Neville he said the sum of £22,816-5-6 included £10,000 which the late William Metcalfe Bracewell paid into partnership.
Mr James Hodgson was called and said he acted as solicitor for the Plaintiff. She instructed him to write the letter referred to, to Mr Bracewell, demanding security.
This concluded the case for the Plaintiff.
Mr Bigham, on behalf of the defendant Bracewell pointed out that even on the case presented to the court by the Plaintiff, it was perfectly obvious that an account must be taken. His Lordship agreed with that and observed that he could not say anything which would justify him in holding that there was an account stated binding Christopher George Bracewell.
Mr Justice Keckawich, in giving judgement said that his opinion on the matter of law was that in order to fix the amount due to the estate of a deceased partner from the surviving partners, both those surviving partners must concur in taking the account though one of them might depute the duty to the other. In this case there was no sufficient evidence to make it a right conclusion that Mr William Bracewell, though the senior partner, and holding by far the largest share, and being apparently of a despotic disposition, had authority to bind Christopher George Bracewell, the junior partner. That being his decision however, he hoped the parties would have the good sense to come to some understanding as to what amount they ought to part with because, there having been no stocktaking at the commencement of the partnership and there having been no stocktaking at the death of Mr William Bracewell, but the whole thing as being between relations was conducted in a somewhat loose manner, the expense of taking the account would be very great and would not fall unfortunately on one party alone. Mr C G Bracewell would suffer and Mrs Elizabeth Bracewell would suffer. After some discussion his Lordship directed an account to be taken.
[Transcribed by SCG, 28 January 2004 from a photocopy given to him by Geoff Shackleton.]

Author Stanley Challenger Graham. 2013
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Re: Room and Power in Barnoldswick

Post by Stanley » 05 Sep 2013, 05:01

Thanks Comrade. I know it's a biggie but well worth copying to hard disk. Remember that there are no restrictions on personal, educational or non-profit use. Feel free to use it as you will and spread the word that it's available. Just had a look on Google and it's got a reference already but only if you insert oneguyfrombarlick in the search term.
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Re: Room and Power in Barnoldswick

Post by Nolic » 05 Sep 2013, 05:52

I've bookmarked it for reading at leisure. Nolic
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Re: Room and Power in Barnoldswick

Post by Stanley » 06 Sep 2013, 05:50

Comrade, feel free to copy it to your hard disc, it'll make it easier.
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Re: Room and Power in Barnoldswick

Post by Nolic » 06 Sep 2013, 06:08

Done Comrade. 124 pages Arial 8 ....glad I'm not printing it!!! Thanks, Nolic
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Re: Room and Power in Barnoldswick

Post by Stanley » 06 Sep 2013, 06:17

Good. The message for everyone is that this material is free for personal and non-profit use. Copy and redistribute as you wish. It's probably the most comprehensive description of Room and Power that exists and is of course backed up by the Calf Hall Shed company minute books which are on the site.
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