More Wool and Weaving

​​On my first visit to Halifax, I fell in love with the landscape, the people, the heriatge, and couldn't wait to return.

Staying a few minutes out of the centre of town, I wandered up to the Piece Hall at dusk. This was where handloom workers
went to sell the "pieces" of cloth that they had produced. It opened in 1779 initially just for woollen goods, but as the trade  
 declined, the rules were changed in 1815 to allow cotton pieces to be sold.

It  re-opened in August 2017 after a major restoration program taking over three years.


Marsden grew wealthy in the 19th century from the production of woollen cloth. During the 1930's the main mill, Marsden Mill, employed some 1,900 people, but by 2003 when the mill closed, the workforce was only about 250 people.l

Like many similar towns, terraced houses cluster around the mill, and many of the residents had previous associations with the mill.

I wasn't allowed to photograph in the mill grounds, but understand that some buildings are being rented out as industrial units. However access to the main site is difficult, making the site unsuitable for conversion to residential or retail premises.

Spectrum Yarns

A few miles away in Slaithwaite a very different story.

 Richard Brown and his daughter Danielle run a highly successful mill, spinning industrial and hand knitting yarns. They also manufacture the Glenbrae range of knitwear for the golfing market. The various divisions of the company operate under the group name of Spectrum Yarns Ltd which was created in 1980.

The company combines some of the world's most advanced machinery with generations of expertise to produce goods of the highest quality and currently have a loyal workforce of around 180 employees.

Walkley Clogs

About 10 miles to the west of Halifax lies the small town of Hebden Bridge. On the outskirts of the town I found Walkley Clogs, where Sue and Alan were hard at work.

Once clogs were the standard footwear for workers in the mills and factories,
and stairs in old factory buildings were worn down from the constant pounding of people going up and down.

Now Walkley keep abreast of fashions, and their clogs are regularly seen on the cat walk. However, they also supply heavy industry
with their safety clogs which are one of the few to meet the stringent European safety requrements.

Dean Clough and Salt's Mill

Two mills that have been converted into successful enterprises are Salts Mill and Dean Clough.
 I visited Salt's on my last visit and made a note to go back again when it wasn't raining so hard.

Alas it was pouring again, so my walk round Saltaire was somewhat curtailed.

The mill was built in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt and when completed was the largest industrial building in the world. When it closed in 1986 it was bought by Jonathan Silver, who has converted it into a successful retail and arts centre, housing many paintings of local artist, David Hockney.

Dean Clough in Halifax is a group of factories built in the mid 19th century and became one of the world's biggest carpet factories. It closed in 1983, and now house some 150 business and arts venues.
October 2017