A Lancashire Cotton Mill

In Lancashire, factories producing textiles were known as mills. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, thousands of them existed to process wool and cotton and make finished products ranging from military uniforms to bed linen, dresses to curtains. Why Lancashire? Well its climate is wetter than other parts of Britain and the many streams and rivers drove water wheels which, in turn, powered the looms. When steam engines replaced water wheels, Lancashire had plenty of coal too, so the mills continued to thrive. This photograph, taken around 1900, is interesting because of the age of the child workers which, by today’s standards, is shocking.

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