Aireborough Historical Society

1812 - 1831 Cloth Manufacture

Cloth Manufacture
Date 1812 - 1831
Location Aireborough and Horsforth

Compiled by Carlo Harrison from documents held in the AHS Archive Room, Yeadon Town Hall

Comment The villages of Guiseley, Horsforth, Yeadon & Rawdon had long been engaged in cloth manufacture; & Otley was a very ancient woollen town.
The numerous hand-loom weavers who worked in their own homes walked to Leeds every week to sell their "pieces" at various public houses, & later in the Cloth Halls.
Yeadon & Guiseley men had been active in the Luddite disturbances of 1812 against the new machinery that threatened their weaver's livelihood.
In 1822 there were 42 of these "woollen manufacturers" at Guiseley, 26 at Horsforth, 30 at Rawdon & over a hundred at Yeadon; fifteen years later the figures were still 32, 23, 36 & 52.
But factories were already growing in the area & the hand weaver's wages fell in 30 years from over a pound to under 5 shillings in the 1830s.
In June 1831, Oastler made the famous "Fixby Compact" with a group of Huddersfield workmen & started to plan an organisation for industrial reform to help the factory children & the half-starved weavers.
A network of "Short Time Committees" was formed in the larger towns.
And in Parliament, Michael Sadler a Leeds man started work for the Ten Hours Bill.

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