We moved house when I was a young girl but it was decided that I would not move to the new school until the year ended. It was a long walk from the new house to school. In the mornings I would walk part of the way with my sister – we would split off at one point as her place of work was in another direction. We have some funny stories about getting to school/work, but maybe not to be shared on here!
After school I would either walk home alone, or walk toward town to meet my mother out of work. We would walk into town, buy groceries and then catch the bus home. You might wonder what on earth this has to do with Richard Arkwright’s Mill!
One evening, as we were waiting for the bus, my mother called out to someone who had joined the end of the queue. The woman paid for her ticket and, as the bus was quite full, she sat a couple of seats behind us. She began to ‘talk’ to my mother. I remember being mesmerised. She didn’t utter a sound. Her lips moved in the shape of the words – but wildly exaggerated. Her face was animated. Her eyes opened wide then narrowed. She frowned and winced, and grinned, and bobbed her head – but not a sound. My mother seemed to understand everything she was saying, and answered back. When we got off the bus I asked my mother why the woman was behaving like that, adding that I had heard her ask for her ticket. My mother laughed and said she had worked in the Mills and the machines were so loud that the workers had to lip read to communicate. She would also have suffered some hearing loss. I imagine she worked at Moore and Eady’s (Moore, Eady and Murcott Goode – the hosiery factory), but I didn’t ask at the time.
Masson Mill is a working textile museum, and it was a demonstration of a loom in action during a recent visit that caused me to recall this incident. One is loud enough, imagine a whole room full!
Below are a few interesting images related to Moore an Eady’s – they had factories elsewhere in the UK too. Now, Mrs P was not around during WW1 but my guess is, like my mother, she may have worked in munitions factories during WWll. (Please respect the copyright conditions attached to all images on the posts). And do visit these sites – they have amazing images and information. Don’t forget to come back!
The image above is from Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Moore,_Eady_and_Murcott_Goode
You may wish to visit Picture the Past to see what Moore and Eady’s looked like – yes! It’s Britannia Mill – still standing and used by The University of Derby.
Okay, back to Masson Mill. This Cotton Mill was build in 1783. You can find it on the A6 at Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, and it is well worth a visit. As well as the museum, there is a shopping village, a restaurant and conference facilities. Of course, around the corner there is Cromford Mill (we’ve not got to that yet), the Cromford Canal (we did have a little look at this in the Argie’s Barge post) and Scarthin Bookshop! Of course, don’t forget the breathtaking Derbyshire scenery close by. We’ll get on to those soon!
I’m posting a few images here so that you can get the feel of what this Mill is like. I love the bobbin room – though it is a little sinister – let us know what you think! There is also a doubling room, a weaving shed, and more.
The machine above is nicknamed ‘The Devil’. It ripped apart bales of cotton and separated it out. I don’t even want to think of the injuries this one might have caused.
I believe the types of machines above, that rolled forwards and backwards, caused a few injuries (and fatalities I warrant) as children (usually) rushed in to pick up things before it rolled back.
Ooh! and look – here are fascinating journals with notes and swatches, and records of how patterns were worked out.
And finally, the Bobbin Room. So cold, and much darker than it looks here.
You can see there is a whole process in between breaking open the bales to weaving the finished cloth. You can also see the boiler room, and the river Derwent outside.
You will need:
- Some strong cardboard a piece of A4 greyboard is perfect (it is the backing to many decent notebooks, art pads etc (never throw it away)
- Some oddments of wool
- A tapestry or darning needle
- A long thin coffee/tea stirrer (the one I used won’t costa you anything!)
- A ruler
- A pencil
See you soon