Page images


CHAP. 5. and dishes, for the Persian ambassador, was executed in a style of superior splendour: the ground was gold, chased and inscribed with Persian characters. Mineral colours only are used in painting porcelain, and it is finished with a rich enamel. The gold with which it is splendidly ornamented is reduced to a liquid previously to being laid upon the different articles to which it is applied; they are then committed to the fire, when the gold reassumes a solid form, and is afterwards brilliantly polished.



Malt and Ale.


Red earthenware is made at Alfreton, Church Gresley and Ticknall. At Swadlingcote and Hartshorn white and yellow-ware is manufactured. Near Chesterfield there are extensive factories for white, brown and redware and stone bottles; and in the same neighbourhood large water-pipes for drains are made. At Belper-Gutter and Denby, there are two manufactories for stone-ware, bottles, pitchers, &c.

We have good authority for saying, that the business of malting was carried on in Derbyshire at a very ancient period. The art and trade of brewing seems also to have been understood at an early era, and as the word ale may be fairly derived from the Danish oel, it does not seem unlikely that some kind of beverage from fermented corn, was introduced into this county by that people, who for some time held possession of Derby. It cannot be affirmed that the malt-trade was carried on very extensively in this county before the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and we observe that Deering, in his History of Nottingham, mentions that town as having enjoyed the malting and malt-liquor trade for several ages without any competitor in the midland part of the realm. Mr. Woolley, however observes, in his manuscript history, under the date 1712, "the principal trade of this town (Derby) is that of malting, with which they supply a great part of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lancashire, by which many good estates have been raised; as also by the trade of a baker, this town supplying most of the Peak country with bread of hard corn, they having none but oats amongst themselves. This town is famous for very good ale, which the brewers send to London and other parts to good advantage."

The woollen manufactories were established at very early periods in this and the neighbouring county of Nottingham, as appears by a Charter granted by King John in the year 1199, which conferred on the burgesses of Derby and Nottingham the exclusive privilege of dying cloth. This rather proves the antiquity of the dyers' trade in these two towns, than of the manufactures. A proclamation was made in 17th Edward III. to carry into effect a previous resolution of parliament, expressly for the protection of the wool-trade of Derby, which ordains that no person whether native or foreigner shall purchase wool at a lower price than 9 marks per sack, that being the price established in the county of Derby. This shows that the wool of this county was considered sufficiently important to take the lead in fixing the general price of that article, or that Derby had the reputation of being the staple town for the disposal of native wool. It is remarkable that about the period of this proclamation, the conquest of Calais, where a mart for the wool of Flanders had long existed, had introduced much foreign wool, and thus diminished the price of the home-grown commodity. Edward perceived the advantages of this intercourse, and notwithstanding this protecting edict, he incorporated a company of wool

merchants, under the name of the merchants of the staple, and ordained CHAP. 5. that the price fixed by them at Calais should be the regulating value. This Wool. company maintained its station and extended the home and foreign wool trade with much advantage to the country, keeping up a continued correspondence with agents in Derby and Nottingham, until the loss of Calais, under Queen Mary, when that channel of prosperity to this town gradually declined.

Wool in Derbyshire is sold either by the stone of 14 lbs. or by the tod of 28 lbs. There are no fairs expressly for the sale of the wools of this county, though some persons have at times advocated such an establishment, and formerly the July fair at Chapel-en-le-Frith was noted for the sale of this article. It is customary for the wool-staplers to go from farm to farm. The wool of the woodland sheep has been sold by Mr. Charles Greaves of Rowlee, as high as 42s. per tod; and the wool of the small forest-breed, sells for half as much more as the new Leicester wool. Mr. W. B. Thomas of Chesterfield, interested himself, earnestly, in introducing the Merino breed into this county, on his farms at Boythorpe, Brampton and Baslow; and in 1810, his late Majesty honoured his patriotic endeavours, by presenting him with two fine Merino ewes. In 1812, Mr. Thomas clipt three hundred and eighty-six fleeces, which sold for £340. 7s. (besides £22. 5s. 6d. for lambs' wool) averaging nearly 17s. 8d. for the wool of each sheep, through the whole flock.*


By the charter of Grants of Queen Mary in 1555, there appears to have Fulling been three fulling-mills on the river Derwent, which stood on the flats, where the old silk mill was afterwards erected; and the name of the "Full-street" still points out the particular part of the banks of the river, where the fullers carried on their branch of the wool-manufacture. Fullingmills are now in use at Glossop, Simond-ley and other places.


It is within the last century that the manufacture of woollen cloth has Woollen been practised in this county on an extensive scale, but there are at present, numerous establishments for the various processes of yarn-spinning, weaving and cloth-dressing; and in that part of Glossop-dale which borders upon Yorkshire, broad and narrow cloths are fabricated equal to those of any other district in England. This vale, romantically situated, contains the

* We have in our last chapter, page 215, spoken more fully of the attention of Mr. Thomas to the introduction of Merino sheep; and we have recently been favoured with a letter from that patriotic gentleman relative to the Merino wool, from which we make the following extract. "Merino sheep, before the ruinous reduction of the foreign wool-duty, did well in this county, both for the flock-master and the manufacturer; and the prices previously obtained from the English manufacturer by the Spanish farmer, as well suited the English farmer. I myself had above three hundred head of Merino sheep, from the flocks of Spain imported into this country by his late Majesty, Lord Somerville, Sir J. Banks and by George Tollett and Benjamin Thompson, esqrs. My flock averaged above 4 lbs. a fleece, through; and I sold at various remunerating prices, from 7s. 6d. per lb. down to 4s. but the mischievous and visionary principles of free trade, between this high-taxed and high-tithed kingdom against non-taxed and non-tithed countries, which have been so warmly advocated by Mr. Huskisson and other political theorists, just then beginning to be fashionable (though not now, thank God, so fashionable as they have been) Spanish wool was allowed to be imported into this country at a mere nominal duty. From that moment, no English fariner could afford to grow it on their high-taxed and tithed farms, so as to compete with the foreigner, who sent his wool from a comparatively untaxed and untithed country; and hence the majority of English fine-wool-growers, immediately gave up the pursuit, solely for want of that protection and encouragement, which I humbly contend they richly deserved. W. B. T."


CHAP. 5. cloth-works of Chunal, Hayfield and Simond-ley.—Worsted-spinning for the hosiers is carried on at Litton, Lea-wood, Melbourn and Tideswell, Spinning, &c. and at St. Werburgh's in Derby there are mills for this operation.—Blanket and carpet weaving have been undertaken in this county, but we believe not with the success expected by the enterprising speculators. Fustians and stuffs are made at Ollerset in Glossop-dale, at Tideswell and at Woodthorpe.

Flax and



There are manufactories of linen in Derbyshire, but the growth of flax* has not been so successfully attended to, as in the opinion of many intelligent persons it might have been. The cultivation of this useful plant has, however, not been wholly neglected, and in the moist meadows amid the moor-lands of Scarsdale, that cultivation has been generally successful. There are flax spinning mills at Kelstedge, Toad-hole, Charlesworth, Matlock, &c. and the linen-thread or yarn is woven into sheeting, checks and similar fabrics at Belper, Kelstedge, New Brampton, Chesterfield, Chapelen-le-Frith, Wirksworth, Creswell in Whitwell, &c.

Hemp is not cultivated in any part of this county. There are however numerous rope-walks and rope and twine mills. The entrance into the Peak Cavern at Castleton is celebrated for its small cord makers, whose rude appearance and movements in the gloom of the terrific archway, are appropriate to the scene. At Clown and Chesterfield, there are manufactories for the weaving of sacking, sail-cloths, hop-bags and other coarse articles; and rope-walks at Derby, Wirskworth, Bakewell, &c.

Stockings were in former times, generally, if not entirely made of worsted, and were knitted by hand; but for many years past, stockings intended for sale are frame-woven. In Derbyshire very few, if any, worsted stockings are made on the frame; and the framework-knitters of this county may be divided into two branches; namely, those who work in silk and those who use cotton only. In the silk branch there are eight hundred and fifty persons employed; in the cotton, not fewer than six thousand, five hundred.―The stocking-frame was invented towards the close of the sixteenth century, by Mr. William Lea, M. A. of St. John's, Cambridge. He was born at Woodborough, a village about seven miles from Nottingham. It is related that he became enamoured with a lovely stocking knitter, who instructed and employed young girls in the same business. She rejected his addresses, and her admirer, in revenge of his slighted affections, conceived the design of inventing a machine that should render the hand-knitting of stockings a profitless employment. He produced the stocking-frame in 1589, and taught his brother and some of his nearest relatives the use of it. Having for some years practised this new art, at Calverton, a village about five miles from Nottingham, he proceeded to London, and solicited the protection and encouragement of the court. This was either at the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth or early in that of James I.; but though he and his brother are said to have made a pair of stockings in the presence of the sovereign, his invention was discountenanced, upon the grounds that it would tend to deprive hundreds of the industrious poor of their usual means of maintenance. The value of such improvements, by which the productions of industry might be increased, was not then understood in this country, and France was the place where

СНАР. 5.

the aid of machinery in various species of manufacture was beginning to be sought after. There Mr. Lea, at the invitation of the illustrious Henry FrameworkIV. went with nine workmen, and settled at Rouen in Normandy. The Knitting. murder of that monarch, and the intestine troubles of the kingdom destroyed the expectations of Mr. Lea, who ended his days at Paris; a victim, it is said, to disappointment and grief. Seven of the workmen returned to England, and under the direction of a person named Aston, who had considerably improved upon the original invention, the foundation of the manufacture was laid in England.-The two workmen who remained in France attempted in vain to obtain encouragement; and endeavours were made with very little success to introduce the framework-knitting into Italy and Holland. The art, in the mean time, began to flourish in this country, and during the Protectorate, the framework-knitters petitioned Oliver Cromwell, to be incorporated by charter. In this petition, which is composed with much intelligence and spirit, they style themselves "the promoters and inventors of the art, and mystery or trade of framework-knitting, or making of silk stockings, or other work in a frame or engine.”They wrought (as appears by the petition) generally, if not entirely in silk, that material being "the best and richest of all others in use and wearing, and most crediting the artisans, and of the greatest advantage unto this State and Commonwealth, yielding several payments to the use of the State before it passes out of the hands of the traders therein, and increasing merchandise by both the ways of importation and exportation of the self-same material, imported raw at cheap rates; exported ready wrought at the utmost extent of value: so that the difference of those valuations is totally clear gain to this Commonwealth, and esteemed upwards of six parts in seven of the whole quantity of this material in the highest value thereof, wrought up by this manufacture; which has vindicated that old proverbial aspersion:-the stranger buys of the Englishman the case of the fox for a groat, and sells him the tail again for a shilling.—And may now invert and retort upon them:-The Englishman buys silk of the stranger for twenty marks, and sells him the same again for one hundred pounds.”—Cromwell did not grant the prayer of their petition, but they obtained a charter from Charles II. soon after the Restoration, by which the exercise of their manufacture was restricted to a company, with a jurisdiction extending ten miles round London. In process of time, this company established commissioners in some county towns, where they compelled the country frameworkknitters to purchase their freedom; but a spirited Nottingham artisan determined to try the question in a court of law. In this process, the company was cast, and the stocking manufacture has, since that occurrence, continued to be entirely open. Since the dissolution of the company, the manufacture of stockings gradually declined in London and spread itself into various parts of the country. At Leicester, in particular, it flourished greatly during the early part of the last century, but the finest work was made at Nottingham and Derby. Some framework-knitters established themselves in Towcester in Northamptonshire, and at Godalming in Surrey.

This manufacture, which had been introduced into the town and county Derby Rib. some time in the eighteenth century, acquired additional celebrity by the ingenious discovery of Messrs. Jedediah Strutt and William Woollatt,


CHAP. 5.
Derby Rib.


Stocking. frame.

who, in the year 1758, produced a machine for making ribbed stockings. This was termed the Derby rib. From an imperfect idea furnished by a common workman named Roper, these ingenious gentlemen brought this important improvement to perfection and obtained a patent, which gave them the exclusive use of it during a term of fourteen years. A kind of ribbed-work had been introduced in the knitting of stockings, even before the invention of the stocking-frame, and it has been asserted that a pair of ribbed stockings had been made by a man named Wright, at Ilkeston, in the year 1730, and by an old stocking-maker of Dale Abbey. The following account of the invention is from William Strutt, esq. "It was Jedediah Strutt, my father, who invented the Derby rib machine in the year 1758, or thereabouts. About that time he settled in Derby for the purpose of carrying on the manufacture of ribbed stockings, in conjunction with his brother-in-law Mr. Woollatt, who was then a hosier in that place, and which partnership continued until the death of my father, in the year 1797. A great part of the time during which the patent was in force, Mr. Samuel Need of Nottingham was a partner, under the firm of Need, Strutt and Woollatt. The patent-right was tried twice in Westminster-hall: first, with the hosiers of Derby, and afterwards with those of Nottingham; from which time it was enjoyed quietly to the end of the term.”—This improvement has suggested others, and from it has arisen the art of making openwork mittens and various fanciful articles.

The stocking frame invented by the Rev. William Lea or Lee, of Calments in the verton in 1589 was very simple, with jacks only, and was a twelve-gage: the improvement introduced by Aston of Thoroton, who was originally a miller, consisted in applying the lead-sinkers, which are still in use. Needham, a London framework-knitter, placed the trucks on the solebar, and in 1714 another London workman, named Hardy, added the caster-back and hanging-bits; and thus may be said to have brought the stocking frame to all the perfection of which it is capable, for nothing that has subsequently been devised has added any power or facility to its operations. The Derby-rib-machine, applied to the stocking frame, is known among the framework-knitters as the one-and-one, and the two-and-one rib machine; the invention of which, by Mr. Jedediah Strutt, has been already mentioned. Messrs. Ward, Brettle and Ward of Belper, are esteemed to be the most extensive manufacturers of hosiery goods in the world. They employ about four hundred silk-stocking-frames, which produce two hundred dozen pairs of hose weekly, besides two thousand five hundred cottonhose-frames, which on the average produce nine pairs each per week, making on the whole little less than one hundred thousand dozens yearly. The other eminent hosiers of this county are the Messrs. Fox, Byng, Bowmer, Peet, Longdon, Moorley, Hewit, &c. of Derby; Mr. Robinson of Chesterfield; and Mr. Carrier of Ilkeston.


Knitting of various articles.

The principle of the stocking frame was applied to the knitting of various articles in the course of the last century. In 1766, a person named Crane manufactured a rich brocade for waistcoats on a similar frame, and about two years afterwards he attempted vandyke-work, by appending a warpmachine to a plain stocking frame. In 1769, Mr. Robert Frost, who, we believe, is still living at Arnold near Nottingham, invented the figured

« PreviousContinue »