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 Post subject: Piece on Bobbin Making
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:54 am 
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Happened to catch a bit about bobbin making in this episode of "Flog it!"
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b ... -castle-32
The bobbin piece starts around 17:00.
A bit about the history etc. and a look at a working factory.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:30 pm 
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Thank you. Very interesting.

Did you know that Windermere was the home of W A Fell of Bridge Iron Works, Windermere, who set-up in the late Victorian period to serve the local industry and became the foremost manufacturer of copy lathes, bobbin lathes, clog lathes,etc in the UK? They finally disappeared in the 1980s after being taken over by Wadkins

The world's largest bobbin mil wasn't in the Lake District, though, it was in Todmorden, Lancashire - a centre for shuttle, bobbin and picker manufacture by the mid-19th century. The firm involved, Wilson Brothers, set-up in 1823 but by the 1890s the cost of shipping timber inland from Liverpool (they used imported Irish timbers) led the firm to set-up a new factory at Garston, Liverpool to reduce costs. That second mill employed over 2000 staff but became notorious as the focus of the Garston Riots in which police dealt brutally with picketing workers during the prolonged strike of 1912. Nothing is left of either site these days today, although council flats and houses built on the Todmorden site in the 1960s were given the name "Bobbin Mill Close"

Oddly enough Todmorden was also the location of the last commercial shuttle and bobbin manufacturers in the UK, Crossley Brothers, who finally shut up shop as recently as 2006. I had the great pleasure in visiting Todmorden and being shown round their factory in the late 1980s - even then they were still secretive about some of the processes they used to manufacture their products in case their competitors stole ideas from them. I do recall being told that their modern polyethylene bobbins had a life of 10 to 20 years, or more, so some advance over the old wooden ones

Sorry if this went slightly OT, but living In Lancashire I've seen an entire industry disappear in my lifetime and it just saddens me that so little is know known or remembered of it

Edit: Had a quick look at the web site for the bobbin mill and you can just make-out the name cast into the back of one of the lathes (which looks like the one the presenter was using) - "W. A. Fell, Windermere"

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:06 pm 
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I thought you'd be interested J & K. Thanks for the extra info. :thumbright:
The whole thing of the industry we have lost here since we were kids saddens me beyond belief.
Some of it admittedly "had it's day" and was superseded by newer tech (but why from abroad?)
But I believe there will come a time when the sheer amount of knowledge and experience that has been lost here will come back to bite us.
There are some things which just can't be easily learned from a book.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:45 pm 
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I just watched it, thanks for the link Dave, very interesting. I have been following the Victorian House arts and crafts series you recommended. I skip through the poncey bits and just look at the woodwork. Typical BBC PC guff in the main but you can speed over it and just watch the interesting bits. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:13 pm 
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dewaltdisney wrote:
I just watched it, thanks for the link Dave, very interesting. I have been following the Victorian House arts and crafts series you recommended. I skip through the poncey bits and just look at the woodwork. Typical BBC PC guff in the main but you can speed over it and just watch the interesting bits. :thumbright:

DWD

Yes, I thought the Arts and Crafts thing would have been better with more making and less talking.
Nothing against them rounding it out for a bit of entertainment, but really the interest is in the process of designing and making, a bit of history, and not them noshing breakfast.

ETA, Nice seeing a bit about the applied arts though.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:15 am 
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Its a repeat from last year, myself and DW like to watch "Flog It", not keen on Paul Martin, but we like the history lessons. I did work as a youngster "School Holidays" in a very large Yorkshire textile mill, of course East of the Pennines its all wool, lots of bobbins and shuttles, it was the era when a great change was happening, two I particular remember was the coming of the "Bullet" looms that did away with the shuttle, also the large warping drums, they were made in Switzerland by "Sulzer" they were 4/5 times bigger and faster than the old "Frame" type, it was a good life for the workers (at Last) and well paid, lots of medical care and lots things on the social calendar, and good food :huray:



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