The Industrial Revolution in Marsden

The woollen industry

In 1710 Marsden’s first fulling, mill was established at Hey Green, for scouring and thickening woollen cloth. Spinning and weaving were done by families in the scattered farmhouses, and only the finishing was done in the mill. Transport was limited to packhorses, but the growth of industry was later encouraged by the turnpike roads (built between 1759 and 1839), the canal (1811) and the railway (1849). By 1830 there were seven water-powered woollen mills in Marsden, while later periods saw the growth of steam power and the expansion of the mills at Bank Bottom and Brougham Road which provided much of the employment in the village.

The Luddites in Marsden

In the early 19th Century Enoch and James Taylor were making shearing frames at their blacksmiths shop in Goodall’s Yard, Brougham Road. The new frames were used in cloth-finishing to cut the nap to a uniform level, and although the machines failed to give the quality of finish that could be achieved by hand cropping, many of the highly-skilled croppers were thrown out of work. Local croppers and their supporters formed Luddite groups to smash the machines which threatened their livelihood. In 1812 William Horsfall, the owner of Ottiwells Mill in Marsden, who had brought in soldiers and built barricades to protect his shearing frames, was shot by a group of Luddites while riding home from the cloth market in Huddersfield.

Horsfall was murdered at Crosland Moor, 5 miles from Marsden on the old turnpike road. Ottiwells Mill was at the foot of Binn Road where Bank Bottom Mill now stands. The Luddites used to hold secret meetings at the Old Moor Cock (now demolished) at the top of Mount Road. The grave of Enoch and James Taylor can be seen in the old churchyard (now a garden) across the road from the Church; their original workshop was Brougham Road, but they later built a large foundry on Carrs Road.