Relief of The
Suffering Operatives in Lancashire
On Sunday last three sermons were preached in
Yeadon Church, those in the morning and afternoon by the Rev. Wm. Metcalfe, the
incumbent, that in the evening by the Rev. L G Southcomb, curate of Yeadon.
The collection at the close of day
amounted to the sum of £57.2s.6d.
In addition to this there has been a
house-to-house visitation which resulted in upwards of £100 in money and £60 in
clothing being raised for the relief of our sufferers in Lancashire and the
subscription is still open".
Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives, research by Edwy Harling
Further text by Christine Lovedale
This depression in the cotton industry followed a boom
period when cotton goods had been overproduced and warehouses were full of
It was also the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865) when
imports of raw cotton were restricted, what supplies came in were bought up by
speculators who stored them to gain future profits.
In the preceding years the markets had
been flooded with cotton wares at knockdown prices and demand collapsed,these
were some of the economic factors which caused mass unemployment for mill
operatives who suffered great hardship.
Eventually, after local relief
charities had failed to alleviate the poverty and hunger of the unemployed the
Government instigated the Public Works (Manufacturing Districts) Act in 1864,
this enabled local authorities to borrow money to carry out major civic schemes
such as sewerage systems, road building and surfacing, thus creating jobs for
Following this supplies of raw cotton
were restored and the mill looms began operating again, the effect of the slump
did have a lasting impact, some of the cotton towns never recovered and
thousands of workers had by then emigrated.
The generosity of Yeadon folk were
later rewarded in part during the Lockout in 1913 when operatives were
literally locked out of the local mills.
There was great hardship in the town
so much so that a soup kitchen was opened to provide a little nourishment
for the hungry.
Yeadon men went on a hunger march through to Lancashire,
reaching Blackpool and Liverpool, they collected £50 or so to send back to