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https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeaceHavensProject/ ..

 

 Ports and Towns in the Flax Trade

this is the England page

2 more pages ... click here for Scotland .. click here for Baltic States & Russia.

 Website design, maps and photos by Ged Dodd - Director of The PeaceHavens Project.
Click here for all the Project Site Map and Links

 

    The Hurricane of January 1853 devastated the North of England & the Textile Trade.

  Huge numbers of factory chimneys were toppled, stopping the steam engines and textile machinery and putting thousands of workers out of a job. Hundreds of ships were wrecked and cargos looted. This a very brief summary of the damage done. There is an account for virtually every town in the country on this link ..

https://books.google.com/books/about/Narrative_of_the_dreadful_disasters_occa.html?id=zSpWAAAAcAAJ

 

  ** We lament to find that those infamous wreckers have been at their fiendlike occupation both on the Lancashire and Cheshire shores plundering what the elements had spared instead of seeking to alleviate the calamities of their fellow creatures.  It having been heard in Liverpool that such was the fact and that a body of above a hundred of them had congregated together a score of police officers were sent over to protect property and to disperse the marauders. The latter object was soon effected when 25 or 26 of the Wreckers were taken into custody but from having been lodged in an insecure place 20 of them contrived to regain their liberty.

** In Manchester there was great damage by the late storm in Manchester and its vicinity that part of it connected with the destruction of the factory chimneys is likely to produces mass of suffering among the hands employed in such establishments It is now certain that there are above forty so destroyed As the mills cannot be worked till new chimneys are erected a thing now a days which requires much time to effect, to say nothing of the loss to the workmen where such visitations have occurred who will necessarily be thrown idle for many weeks to come and it is calculated that 12 to 15,000 persons will be thus unfortunately placed .

** In Liverpool a new chimney at the flax mill of Messrs Brooks and Smith at Bridge Street in Little Bolton, at Eccles/Salford right on the River Irwell, had its top taken away.
** In Bolton in Chorley Street a large chimney belonging to Mr Tickell's Power Loom Works fell with a frightful crash between four and five in the morning. The direction of the wind carried the heavy mass upon the Smithy attached to Messrs Monks Works. This building with others about it being old the increased momentum which the chimney received in its descent and the slight resistance which the roof of these buildings made caused the whole to become a heap of ruins Messrs Ormond and Hardcastle's New Mill had its roof bored almost as naked as it was before the slater had first placed a slate on it.

** In Preston about 10 or 12 yards of the factory chimney belonging to Mr Richard Threlfall was blown down soon after the mill had begun work. It fell on the roof of the factory breaking into the card room and damaging several carding engines as well as the Devil or Scutcher. We are glad to hear however that none of the hands were injured though they were all at work at the time.
** In Warrington the chimney belonging to Messrs Hadficld and Frost's Cotton Mill Latchford a modern erection by the force of the win was cracked nearly half way round its circumference at about twenty yards from its base.

** At Peeks Hill the windmill was set in action by the wind and the velocity with which the sails turned was such as to cause the mill to be set on fire through the friction of the works and the mill was entirely destroyed.

** In Leeds an accident happened at the flax manufactory of Messrs Forster and Davy Hunslet by which a man narrowly escaped being crushed to death. The falling of the chimney through the roof broke a beam which coming slightly in contact with the man caused him to fall. The beam lodged above forming a sort of hollow in which he lay and was thus protected from the rubbish coming upon him. Nor was this his only escape .The man as soon he prudently could left the room but had scarcely advanced more than a few yards outside the door when the gable end fell in and choked up the passage with bricks and rubbish It is clear therefore that had the fall taken place a minute sooner he must inevitably have been killed. The damage sustained by Messrs Forster and Davy is estimated at about £300. A machine in process of being built by Mr Harcourt Manufactory below St Beter's Hill was levelled to the ground. The lofty new chimney of Messrs Fenton Murray and Co's foundry was blown upon the roof which it forced through causing great damage. At the mills of Messrs James Brown and Co in Bagby, Mr James Holroyd at Carltonhill, Messrs Marshall and Lumley in Water Lane and Mr Edward Halliley at Low Close Mill the chimneys were blown upon the roofs and much injury and inconvenience experienced Other mills in various parts of the town have experienced damage but we are happy to say that upon the whole the workpeople will suffer but comparatively little loss by the interruption to labour.
** In Huddersfield the large chimney at Bradley Hills fell with a tremendous crash sweeping before it smaller chimneys buildings and machinery. The loss is estimated at £1000. A large new warehouse belonging to Messrs Henry and Co in Market street had the lead stripped off the roof. The chimney belonging the manufactory of John Eastwood and Sons at Falby Hall was blown down and fell on the engine house. There is a similar tale for towns all over the north of England on the original account ..
https://books.google.com/books/about/Narrative_of_the_dreadful_disasters_occa.html?id=zSpWAAAAcAAJ

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   BENTHAM MILLS (For flax seals see here) became the most important mill seal finding site in the UK when in 2013 Ged Dodd the director of the PeaceHavens Project found the first seals and then what was eventually to become over 1400 lead flax bale seals belonging to the one mill with the help of the project detecting team: and which provided enough information to completely rewrite  the books on the Russian flax trade between Russia and the UK.    Messrs J.T. & W. Hornby established themselves in Bentham Village about 1795, and at first operated from Low Bentham Mill. They imported Russian flax bales into a warehouse on St. George's Quay at Lancaster and transported the flax bales by four horse drawn wagons to Bentham. Initially the brothers spun yarn at Bentham for their sail cloth factories at Kirkham but later they built premises for their weavers at Lairgill in Bentham, some of whom came from Kirkham. Each of these houses had 4 looms installed in the basements for the weaving of sailcloth. The Bentham operations were managed after about 1814 by Tony Roughsedge Esq. who continued to trade under Hornby & Co but who extended the Hornby interests there. In 1814 Mr Hornby Roughsedge - who had formerly managed the Hornby factories at Kirkham - purchased High Hill and the residence known as Bentham House in Bentham from Charles Parker Esq. He also acquired the manorial rights of Ingleton and became the gentleman of the district. He was a great benefactor of St Margaret's Church, Bentham, which contains several memorials to him. In the 1830's the sailcloth industry began to decline in Bentham and the mills went over to the production of finer yarns by wet spinning and the making of flexible fire hoses from flax.. In 1850 Mr Hornby Roughsedge sold the Bentham Mills and Bentham House to messrs Waithman and Company, and retired to Foxghyll, near Ambleside. He died in September 1859.

   Every bale of flax and hemp stems was fastened together with a lead seal by a quality inspector in Russia before shipping by sailing ship to the UK.   After processing the discarded stems of the flax and hemp with seals still attached were prized as fertilizer by local farmers and were spread onto the land mixed with night soil manure where they remain to be found even until today.

Night soil + solid waste + the flax waste on to the fields.

Click here for the Bentham Mill Page

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  BRIDPORT (For flax seals see here) A town in West Dorset on the southern coast of England, has been an important centre for the production of rope, twine, netting and sailcloth, from flax and hemp, from the 13th century. The earliest documentary evidence is a record of payment for a large quantity of sails and cordage in 1211, then an order from King John for Bridport rope and cloth to supply the navy in 1213. This order suggests that Bridport was already established in the area for many years before then. A mile south of the town of Bridport is Bridport Harbour, (now West Bay) which was crucial to the economy of the town and still has a high proportion of its historic buildings. It was built with lots of warehouses and shipbuilding facilities, and stands on a very suitable position for the construction of an industrial harbour along a very exposed stretch of coastline. The development of the harbour in the mid-18th century fuelled a resurgence of the Bridport textile industry and a dramatic expansion of the town. By the early 19th century the larger textile firms occupied warehouses at the harbour and had ships built in the adjacent shipyard, supporting a worldwide trade in goods and raw materials. After thriving for several decades, the fortunes of the harbour and shipyard began to change following the extension of the Great Western Railway to Bridport in 1857. The addition of a local branch line to the harbour in 1884 heralded a period of transition that saw the closure of the shipyard and the renaming of Bridport Harbour as West Bay in a bid to encourage tourism. The harbour was no longer a major asset to the flax and hemp industry, but trade in coal, hemp and other commodities continued on a smaller scale until the mid-20th century. The most successful period for the flax and hemp trade was from the late 18th to the late 19th century.

  The relative prosperity of this period saw the construction of houses for the merchant classes and the rebuilding of many of the outworkers’ cottages. Some of the mill surrounding fields that require searching for seals are North Mill, Court Mills, Pymore Mill, Priory Mill, Folly Mill and Mangerton Mill.

 Recently there has been a surge in seal finds, dated 1770, 1775, 1792, 1800, 1805, 1812 and four Riga crossed key flax seals dated from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. The surrounding district had hundreds of small wheel spinners for making twine for nets and several large rope walks for rope making.

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  Chester and the Linen Trade

  In Chester two anchorages were accessible to smaller vessels after 1660: the quay and warehouses across the Roodee from the Watergate, and the anchorage near the Dee Bridge and old cheese warehouse. Shipbuilding was also well established on the Roodee. Thirty ships were owned at Chester in 1672, and at least 25 (totalling 1,925 tons) in 1701, though not all were locally built. The industry seems to have expanded during the 1690s, when the company of Drawers of Dee complained that a new shipyard would encroach on the ground where they hung their fishing nets. The number of roperies on the Roodee had also grown by the 1690s. Ships continued to be built on the Dee in the earlier 18th century, many intended for traders elsewhere, and a few shipwrights and ship's carpenters were freemen of the city.  The Roodee and Roman Quay wall are key features of interest. Sea-going ships used to sail up the River Dee estuary to Chester to a harbour located where the racecourse is today. But the Roodee silted up over time and has been used for horse racing since 1539. Latest thinking suggests the so-called Roman Quay wall, which can be seen below Nuns Road, may be just a Roman defensive structure.
   All traffic, however, was hindered by navigational hazards in the Dee, which despite repeated efforts from the 1660s were not removed until Nathaniel Kinderley's new cut along the Welsh shore was opened in 1737. The reopening of the Dee did not halt Chester's relative decline as a port. About 1701 its ship-owners had only 25 vessels, and in the early 1710s the total tonnage, no more than 3,400, was less than half that owned at Liverpool. By the 1730s it had fallen to c. 1,650 tons, barely a tenth of Liverpool's total, and in the late 1750s Chester's 1,000-1,400 tons was scarcely a twentieth of
Liverpool's fleet. The tonnage of all Chester's foreign and Irish trade, which in the 1710s had reached at least 9,500 tons both inward and outward, seldom exceeded 6,000 tons each way from the 1730s to the 1750s.  In the early 18th century much of the Irish linen went through the port of Chester, this reached it's zenith in the mid 18th century, but much of the trade moved to Liverpool. For flax seals see here

     Hassall & Foulkes (Brewers) was a company in Chester believed to be extensively involved in the imported wine trade c.1851, from Portugal, and had premises in Watergate Street. Many of these seals were found among the Russian flax bale seals.

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  EXETER  Thomas Carter and Co., Flax and Wool Mill in 1861.

The Flax Mill
In early 1859, Maunder leased the mill to Thomas Carter and John Richard Treble, who traded under the name of Thomas Carter and Co. as flax dressers and manufacturers of woollen goods. The manager was 27 year old Joseph Corr, a Northern Irishman, who was married with a small child and baby. A series of six adverts were placed in the Flying Post addressed to farmers, to purchase their fields of flax. It seemed like the new wonder crop, but a court case, in 1860, over the ownership of a field of flax destined for the mill must have caused problems and soon after, on the 10th August, Carter and Treble dissolved their partnership, with John Richard Treble continuing alone in the business.
A marked change was evident in the workers at the mill in the 1861 census, when compared with ten years before. The number of workers had dropped from one hundred and twenty in 1851 to forty-one workers including the manager. The introduction of flax production required new skills and eleven flax workers were imported from Ireland. There were only eleven weavers working the machines, three wool combers and four spinners; for the first time for many years there were no fullers working the stocks. A few of the workers from 1851 still worked for Treble in 1861.

The first fire.

"About four o'clock yesterday (Tuesday) morning a destructive fire occurred at the serge and flax mills situated at Exwick, the property of Mr Maunder, in the occupation of Messrs. Treble and Co. The brigades belonging to the fire engines in the city were soon in readiness with the engines but some delay occurred in getting the horses, and the engines were consequently not so quickly on the spot as they otherwise might have been. The West of England brigade was followed by those of the Sun and Norwich Union Offices; water was abundant, and by their united exertions the flames were confined to the mill, which is entirely destroyed. Two ricks of flax, valued at £150, and adjoining the scene of conflagration, were thus prevented from igniting; as also some house property belonging to Mr. Moore, builder, and others. The fire originated in the boiler or "skimps' room. A large quantity of machinery, to the value of from £2,000 to £8,000, was destroyed. Mr. Maunder is partially insured in the West of England Fire Office, and Mr. Treble in that of the State Office. In consequence of this disastrous fire, nearly two hundred hands are thrown out of employment." The newspaper computed that two hundred lost their jobs, but as already mentioned, the census puts the figure at a much lower number.
In September 1862 a notice to let appeared in the Flying Post "Exwick Mills, Exeter... extensive range of mill property... for many years occupied by Messrs Maunder as a woollen factory and Messrs Harris as paper mills, and are now to be let in consequence of the recent destruction of the former by fire..." The advert went on "The late woollen mills are situate about fifty yards lower down the same stream, and command the same volume of water as the paper mill."
James Wentworth Buller purchased the site of the former woollen mill along with the paper mill in 1862. The ruins of the mill also included an intact brickbuilt warehouse of three stories, one hundred and thirty feet long by twenty feet wide, which was later used as a store for Mr Kempe and others.

List of employees.
Benjamin Butley, 18 Serge weaver - Cullompton
Elizabeth Colly, 50 flax labourer - Stockland
Elizabeth Colly, 19 flax labourer - Stockland - daughter
Jane Colly, 13 flax labourer - Stockland
Joseph Corr, 29 Manager of flax works - Ireland
John Corr, 25 flax dresser - Armagh, Ireland
John Davis, 27 flax dresser - Armagh, Ireland
Ann Down, 35 Weaver - Cullompton
Ellen Mary Down, 16 wool sorter - Crediton
Humfrey Down, 31 wool spinner - Cullompton
Mary Goff, 17 flax labourer - Stockland
Ann Hannaford, 26 wool spinner - Chagford
Mary Ann Hannaford, 53 serge weaver - Chagford
Mary Hannaford, 21 wool spinner - Chagford
Charles Hayman, 71 weaver - Ottery St Mary
John Hill, 26 flax dresser - Sligo, Ireland
Charles Hornsey, 33 wool sizer - Cullompton
Mary Hornsey, 45 - wool weaver Buckfastleigh
Anne Kent, 13 worker at worsted mill - Dublin, Ireland
George Lee, 33 woolcomber - Buckfastleigh
Bernard McGenuis, 27 flax dresser - Ireland
James McGivern, 30 flax dresser - Ireland
? McGough, ? flax dresser - Ireland
James McParlin, 24 flax dresser - Armagh, Ireland
Elizabeth Miffling, 14 worker at woollen factory - St Thomas
Samuel Milford, 40 wool comber - St Thomas
Sarah Milford, 42 wool sorter - South Molton
George Mordel, 61 serge weaver - Somerset
John Morningham, 29 flax dresser - Ireland
Joseph Nintec, 23 serge weaver - Cullompton
Harriott Nintec, 27 serge weaver - Cullompton
Anne Osborn, 52 burler - Exeter
Susan Pavey, 27 flax worker - Stockland
? Pavey, 17 flax labourer - Stockland
Tommy Pope, 47 Weaver - Crediton
Mary Spence, 19 flax labourer - Armagh, Ireland
George Squire, 48 wool comber - Crediton
John Waterman, 60 spinner - Devon
Mary Waterman, 58 Weaver - Culmstock

 

The second fire.
The mill was never rebuilt, but Mr Kempe's warehouse of the 'Old Flax Mill' also fell victim, when it was destroyed by a huge blaze on Saturday 17th April 1869.
"The old Flax Mill at Exwick, near Exeter, was destroyed by fire on Saturday night. The premises stood apart from any other building; and as the wind was blowing from Exwick village to the St David's Railway Station there was no apprehension that the fire would do any other damage than to the premises wherein it was raging. No very great efforts were, therefore, made to extinguish the flames; and the fire was allowed to "burn itself out." Nothing now remains save the outer walls and a chimney or two. The premises belonged to Mr. J. H. Buller, of Downes, and it is believed they were insured. The fire is attributed to an incendiary."
The fire continued to burn until six or seven in the morning, leaving the remaining walls of the building in a dangerous state. This was the last act in a story that commenced in 1786 with a dream of Antony Gibbs for a woollen mill and factory to rival those that were flourishing in the north.
By 1878, a map drawn up to show some new fencing for the Buller estate shows a small bridge straddling the leat where the mill had been positioned; the leat has since been filled, but where the narrow road turns sharp left before Exe View Cottages, is the site of the mill. Exe View Cottages are marked on the map on the site of the warehouse that burnt down in 1869, dating their construction to between 1869 and 1878.

Sources: Flying Post,Times, Western Times, Sherbourne Mercury, records from the Buller estate in the Devon Record Office, Fragile Fortune by Liz Neill, Road Transport Before the Railways by Dorian Gerhold and various trade directories. see http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/_commercial/exwickwoolmill.php

 

 

  Royal Albert Memorial Museum - Exeter

#

OBVERSE  click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

Notes

EXE
001

no photo

ПД = PD
П?ЛЕТЕЕВЪ
(P_LETEEV)
H15

no photo

CПБ
ПЕН (PEN)
????
1841

15
post
(hemp)

1 EXEMS: 69.2001.4

EXE
002

no photo

 АРІ/ОВ
ARI/OV

no photo

unreadable

 unreadable

2 EXEMS: 69.2001.5

EXE
03

A.П. (Archangel Port)
ДECЯHK (inspector)
MП  (MP)

HИЖHOCУ XOHCKOИ

(NIZHNOSU KHONSKOI)

owner Nizhnosu Khonskoi

Exeter

3 EXEMS: 99.1932
IDS 692

EXE
004

А.П. (Archangel Port)
ДЕСЯЦК (Inspector)
ИП (I.P)

HИЖHOCУXOHCKOИ
(NIZHNOSUKHONSKOI)
LOWER SUKHONA RIVER (flax)

Acc.No.99/1932
IDS 1394

   EXE004. Sukhona is a river in the Vologda Province from where the Ustyug Region produced high quality flax. ..
  found in Crediton by Michael Patrick - now in Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter. 99/1932

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Greenodd is a village in the Furness area of the county of Cumbria but within the historical county of Lancashire.  It is located 3 miles north-east of Ulverston. Greenodd and adjacent Penny Bridge are the main districts in the Crake Valley. The River Crake flows into the estuary of the River Leven at Greenodd.  The name Greenodd is of Scandinavian origin, the odd meaning ness (headland) in this case (the name translates literally as 'The Green Promontory').  In the late-18th and early-19th centuries Greenodd was a significant port; a creek-port of Lancaster. Exports included copper ore from Coniston, locally quarried limestone, and gunpowder from the nearby settlement of Backbarrow. Sugar, raw cotton and coal are listed in historical documents as some of the imports. Greenodd was also a shipbuilding centre with vessels up to 200 tons being constructed. On the darker side it is likely that Greenodd was involved in the North American slave trade. Today there are no signs of the former commercial activities. The Ship Inn, previously a warehouse on the quayside, is one of the few reminders of Greenodd's illustrious past. Small Galliot boats would bypass Greenodd to deliver Russian flax bales to Penny Bridge Mill and drop off iron on the way back.

   Until the 1980s Greenodd was on the A590 trunk road from Barrow to Levens Bridge. A bypass to take the traffic over a new bridge across the River Crake made the a cul-de-sac. Greenodd railway station was served by the Lakeside branch of the Furness Railway from 1869 until its closure in 1965. Today there is no trace of the railway, the station having been demolished to make way for a dual-carriageway road. This area is no stranger to being cut off. In 1820 the turnpike bridge across the estuary shut down the Penny Bridge flax mill .. although it is said it was burned down in a fire at that time.. but it wouldn't be the first mill to be burned down for the fire insurance .. and probably not the last.

     Ulverston had taken much trade away from Greenodd which continued to ship copper ore, lead, slate, woodland produce and gunpowder from quays along the River Crake until 1869 and the building of the Lakeside branch railway which cut off access to the river from the estuary. There were six quays downstream of the new turnpike bridge of 1820. The first of these was owned by J.B.Fell and had on it a steam-powered sawmill and a slipway for building coasters of 30-100 tons. In February 1851, Samuel Schollick began shipbuilding at Greenodd in a shipyard previously owned by the Ashburners. The first, perhaps the only vessel from the yard was the Edward and Margaret, a 90 ton schooner. Samuel Schollick opened a second shipyard at Canal Foot, Ulverston, in partnership with E.J.Schollick. "Thrifty", a 45 ton schooner, was launched on August 3rd 1854. and the ship was lost with all hands on the Liverpool Banks in November 1861.

  The port handled 24,000 tons p.a. in the 1840s, and featured a daily steamship service to Liverpool. Navigation up and down the estuary was maintained through a 30 foot drawbridge when the Leven Viaduct for the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway was opened in 1857, but the traders of Greenodd agreed to exchange that facility for a branch line to the village, thus sealing the fate of the port. Greenodd itself had only developed as a port when the new turnpike bridge of 1820 closed the river for navigation further upstream to Pennybridge.  Schollick’s Shipyard,  formerly at Greenodd, was put up for sale in 1855 and taken over by former foreman John Wilson and son in 1870. Last vessel built here was “Heart of Oak” in 1912.

Furness built Schooners   -  The J.M.Garratt (left) & The Mary Barrow which ran aground in a storm at St Ives

 

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HULL From the Baltic the Hull traders brought in flax, which was required in growing quantities by the manufacturers of linen and of sailcloth canvas. Beginning in the 1570s Hull regularly imported several hundred tons of flax every year, an undertaking which involved the use of much shipping. Along with flax came other naval stores—hemp, pitch, tar, and timber—imports which reached a peak in 1586–7 when naval preparations against a Spanish invasion were in full swing. In addition, after 1580 corn, especially rye, was imported in varying quantities as the yield of the harvests at home demanded. During good years Hull exported corn, but during the food shortage of the 1590s large quantities were imported. This made possible a great increase in Hull's cloth exports which reached their highest point in 1598–9, at a time when the town was petitioning to be made the staple for the export of northern kerseys. Flax and corn remained the chief elements in Hull's imports from the Baltic until the late 17th century. Also in Lloyd's Register of 1776 is James Moss as master of Dallam Tower, a brig of 160 tons, built at Lancaster in 1767, and owned by M. Fresh. There were voyages for this vessel with James Moss as master from 1768 to 1776, mainly to Narva and St Petersburg, often calling at Hull on the outward voyage. The vessel returned mostly to Lancaster; but the voyage referred to in his wife's letter of 1774 ended in the Wyre estuary to deliver flax and hemp to the manufacturers of Kirkham sailcloth.  The position of the Hull traders, in common with that of other Englishmen in the Baltic, was only established with difficulty, for Danzig firmly upheld the Hanseatic privileges. Troubles mounted until, in 1579, the English were provoked to transfer their mart to Elbing, and in order to consolidate the organization of their newly thriving trade the merchants founded the Eastland Company. In this the influence of the Londoners was strong, but merchants trading from Hull, who had hitherto made much use of the port of Danzig, quickly

 

 

 

established themselves at Elbing and were able to secure their own rights in the new company. Some of the flax bales were imported through the Port of Hull while naval stores and undressed flax were obtained from Narva, Reval or Riga, spruce linen yarn came usually from Konigsberg and Elbing. The advance of the 1730s is noticeable also in the volume of leading imports, as given in the official customs returns. If anything, these figures will understate the volume of trade because of smuggling, though there is no reason to suppose widespread smuggling in the sort of goods in which Hull traded.  Admitting, then, the possibility of under-

 Number of Ships Entering Hull
Origin 1567 1609 1637 1687
Norway 3 16 29 59
Sweden     7 16
Danzig, Elbing, and Konigsberg 14 33 32 16
North Baltic 4     18
White Sea and Arctic 4 4 1
Scotland 43 19 6

recording, the official volume of undressed flax rose by 73 per cent between 1728 and 1737, linen yarn by 233 per cent, hemp by 224 per cent, deals by 49 per cent and iron by 54 per cent. More significant, however, than the growth in volumes was the gradual yet momentous change in the geographical distribution of trade. In 1717, for Instance, no ships at all had arrived in Hull from Narva, only 2 from St. Petersburg and 9 from Riga; but in 1737, following the Anglo-Russian treaty of 1734 (which, among other things, made life easier for British factors residing in Russia), 11 ships came from Narva, 7 from St. Petersburg and 20 from Riga.  The eastern Baltic increasingly supplied the flax and yam required by the growing linen industry of England, and the hemp that was necessary for Hull's own rope-makers.  Russia and Prussia stand supreme among Hull's trading partners at the turn of the century, with St. Petersburg alone accounting for one out of every four or five ships entering Hull, while Hull in turn was receiving about one in five of the ships clearing from St. Petersburg. Joshua Gee, writing in the l730s, commented that 'hemp and flax are so useful in navigation and trade, that we cannot possibly do without them; the first for cordage of all sorts, the latter for making sail cloth, as well for the linen manufactures that are carried out in this kingdom'.   By the early 1780s Spruce linen yam from Prussia and raw Dutch from Hamburg and Amsterdam had together reached over five million pounds, and Hull was the leading port in the trade, despite Liverpool's position as intermediary between Manchester and the Irish flax industry.  The importation of flax was also expanding apace, much of it soon to be diverted to Marshall's mill at Leeds, where they were beginning to spin yam as good as most of that imported from the Baltic. The magnificent Temple Mill built by Marshall at Holbeck with an Ancient Egyptian Temple facade. (A Grade I listed former flax mill built between 1836 to 1840 and based on the Temple of Horus at Edfu, reflecting a craze for Ancient Egypt which swept European society in the first half of the 19th century.)  Tow had also made its appearance, probably in the sixties, but the great expansion in the trade came later, when Marshall's also developed a machine for spinning it.  Russia and Prussia stand supreme among Hull's trading partners at the turn of the century with St. Petersburg alone accounting for one out of every four or five ships entering Hull, while Hull in turn was receiving about one in five of the ships clearing from St. Petersburg. Ships from Russia passed the 150 mark for the first time in 1792, from Prussia in 1802.   Linen cloth of Baltic or Scottish origin was to be found in almost every coaster and there were also small shipments of linen yam, flax and, of course, the cotton wool that was used by the Strutts and other canon people to the east of the Pennines.

Imports into Hull from the Baltic States

1790 1800 1810 1820 1830
vessels tons vessels tons vessels tons vessels tons vessels tons
243 61,964 466 83.732 459 73.786 318 62,448 632 109,60

   On 19 November 1915 a coastal shipment of hemp from Hull was

 the last direct import of textile fibre to be received at Arbroath.

   Hull, along with nearby Yarmouth on the east coast, and Newcastle, on the north east coast, seem to have avoided the slave trade itself. Instead they traded directly with the plantations in America and the Caribbean, supplying the colonies with window glass and vegetable seeds bringing back tobacco, sugar and rum on return.

   December 06, 1709. Order by Treasurer Godolphin to same to observe an order of the Queen in Council [undated] to permit the ship "Speedwell" now in the Humber with flax, hemp &c. from the Baltic to come into the harbour and unload, all her mariners being in good health and she having been some time in Holland and in several roads on the coast of Great Britain since leaving the Baltic. But the feathers and Polonia wool are to be kept on board till further order.

    Russia stands supreme among Hull's trading partners at the turn of the century with St. Petersburg alone accounting for 1 out of every 4 or 5 ships entering Hull, and ships from Russia in 1792 passed the 150 mark.

     The Baltic remained the chief source of flax and hemp and Hull consequently remained a leading port in the trade throughout the 18th century. The eastern Baltic was also vital for that other necessary component of 'naval stores' - the masts and spars that came, above all, from Riga.
 

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  KIRKHAM (see Kirkham) is a small town and civil parish in the Borough of Fylde in Lancashire, England, midway between Blackpool and Preston and adjacent to the smaller town of Wesham. It owes its existence to Carr Hill upon which it was built and which was the location of a Roman fort. The production of coarse linens and ropes from flax and hemp had been a domestic industry in the Fylde and Lancashire plain since the Middle Ages. Practically all Kirkham burgesses grew flax and hemp to produce linen, rope and coarse cloth. The very poor working conditions in the surrounding countryside during the 17th century had caused labourers to go to Kirkham to seek employment as craftsmen and assistants to various trades and businesses so creating a more numerous poor population.  There was trade with Russia from the Wyre as early as 1590 but it was not until the eighteenth century that the trade expanded.  In 1736 all English ships were required to carry a full set of English-made sails. It thus became increasingly profitable for merchants in old-established linen centres like Kirkham to import flax from the Baltic and put it out to local flax dressers, spinners and weavers for the manufacture of coarse linen canvas suitable for sailcloth.  It is generally accepted that the majority of the sails in Nelsons fleet were produced in Kirkham and Freckleton. Early Freckleton supplied water to the Roman fort at Kirkham, and in the 19th century was a port for the ship building industry. Rope and sailcloth, for the early boatbuilding industry, was made in the village for many years. Balderstone Mill, erected in 1880, was the first organised factory system in the village, its weaving shed had 320 looms, and its cloth sold on the Manchester Cotton Exchange. The mills closed in 1980.

 

     Messrs J.T. & W. Hornby established themselves in Bentham Village about 1795, and at first operated from Low Bentham Mill. and later moved to High Bentham Mill. They imported Russian flax bales into a warehouse on St. George's Quay at Lancaster and transported the flax bales by four horse drawn wagons to Bentham. Initially the brothers spun yarn at Bentham for their sail cloth factories at Kirkham but later they built premises for their weavers in Bentham, some of whom came from Kirkham. The Bentham operations were managed after about 1814 by Tony Roughsedge Esq. who continued to trade under Hornby & Co and who had formerly managed the Hornby factories at Kirkham .

    Thousand's of Russian flax bale seals have been found in the fields surrounding the High Bentham Mill.

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  see BSNIRELAND

UK flax production 1850 - 1900

 

1850

1900

Ireland

325,000

935,411

Scotland

303,000

160,00

England

365,000

50,000

 

  IRELAND's takeover of the flax trade from 1850 - 1900.

In 1850 Ireland had 325,000 spindles, England had 365,000 and Scotland 303,000 (ie. there was roughly the same number in each country). Over the next fifty years, however, the number of flax spinning spindles in England decreased to near vanishing point with less than 50,000 spindles. Even Marshall's, the leading firm, found it necessary to wind up their business, close their famous mill in Leeds, and transfer the business to America. By the end of the century Scotland had also suffered a major reduction, the number of spindles being 160,000.  While both of these two countries had lost production, Ireland's share had increased and by 1875 there were 906,000 spindles working, this number having reached 935,411 by the turn of the century.  One of the reasons for this great displacement in favour of Ireland was the fact that linen was the staple industry there, whereas England and Scotland had other textile industries which allowed a higher profit and the payment of wages on a higher scale. Towards the end of the last century an average sized flax spinning mill contained about 22,000 spindles, and gave employment to about 750 persons. According to 19th century figures it cost about £4 to £6 a spindle to erect. This meant that the average cost of building a factory at this time was in advance of £120,000. The work force employed in the mill was in the proportion of two or three females to one male. Children of both sexes at the age of 12 were also employed as learners. These were called "half-timers". They worked and went to school on alternative days and could not be employed unless they went to school.

 Ireland.  Until the 19th century Irish peasants repeated the mythical story of the introduction of flax into their island by the "dwellers on the Shliabh na Mann mountain. These talented peoples, who had the name Mann, are said to have been foreigners, from a distant land (could they have been from the Isle of Man?), who long ago settled on this mountain, and first instructed the natives in the art of the management of flax, and hemp.

  The Westminster Parliament prohibited the export of woollen goods from Ireland in 1699, although woollen yarn was still produced both for domestic use and for English manufacturers. These restrictions on the woollen trade increased the linen industry, particularly in Ulster. In 1696 a Bill went through the English parliament which encouraged the manufacturing of linen in Ireland. From the early 18th century, Irish linen was imported duty free to England and to British Plantations in America, and by the end of the 18th century linen accounted for about half of Ireland's total exports. In the early 18th century much of the Irish linen went through the port of Chester, this reached it's zenith in the mid 18th century, much of the trade moving to Liverpool.

                Seal finds in Ireland, both North and South,  are very rare.

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   LANCASTER. The main port for the import of flax bales for Bentham mills. The St George's Quay was built in 1750 for the import of sugar, cotton, rum, mahogany timber and for exporting furniture, general merchandise and slaves to the colonies in North America & West Indies. The slave trade operated in every port on the west coast of the UK.  The Napoleonic Wars raised both demand and price for linen goods in the 1790s, but at the same time made the Baltic trade in raw  materials more  difficult. Napoleon's blockade of the Baltic raised the price of a ton of flax from £40 to £170. The tonnage of shipping from  the Baltic via  Lancaster to Bentham Mills was falling  back in the late  1790s, while from 1808 to 1813 no  ships  entered at the  port at all.

   Some flax was brought in to Bentham Mills from Liverpool to fill the gap until 1808, when the blockade  really began to bite. Meanwhile the  West  House  and Little  Patrick Mills got their raw materials via Hull and the east coast and managed to fare better but  Bentham Mill did not  recover until the late 1820's and then prospered greatly.

The Customs House on St George's Quay

 is now the Maritime Museum

   Lancaster, on the north west coast of England, was a town which had merchants who were involved in the slave trade. Having started slowly and gradually increasing the number of voyages, Lancaster became the fourth biggest slaving port after Liverpool, London and Bristol. Merchants and ships from other smaller ports traded through Lancaster. Also in Lloyd's Register of 1776 is James Moss as master of Dallam Tower, a brig of 160 tons, built at Lancaster in 1767, and owned by M. Fresh. There were voyages for this vessel with James Moss as master from 1768 to 1776, mainly to Narva and St Petersburg, often calling at Hull on the outward voyage. The vessel returned mostly to Lancaster; but the voyage referred to in his wife's letter of 1774 ended in the Wyre estuary to deliver flax and hemp to the manufacturers of Kirkham sailcloth. These included towns such as Preston on the north east coast, and the nearby towns of Poulton-le-Fylde and Ulverston. Perhaps not a coincidence but the Abolitionist Movement copper half penny of 1790 - 1797 had the same clasped hands of friendship used by Alexander Shubin, the Anchourer at the Port of St Petersburg, and uniquely 13 of these seals were found at Bentham Mills who imported their flax bales via Lancaster, and nowhere else. Around the coin's perimeter was the promise. "Payable in Lancaster, Liverpool and London", also the cover picture for PeaceHavens Project. For seals see Bentham Mills  and   Lancashire

 AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER . ////

 MAY SLAVERY & OPPRESSION

CEASE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

AЛEKCEH ШУБИHЬ (ALEXANDER SHUBIN)

 ANCHOURER EPORTASTPETERSBOURG

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LEEDS & DISTRICT

The problem with the dark satanic mills in major northern cities was that ... they had no green fields in which to dump the seals.

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LIVERPOOL. Click for the Liverpool page An important port for over a 1000 years for exporting salt and textiles and later as an intermediary between Manchester and the Irish flax industry. The slave trade played a major part.  By 1750, 43% of all British slave ships were setting sail from Liverpool, rising to 79% by the time the trade was abolished in 1807 which lead to growth in the import and export of textiles during the industrial revolution in the 19th century.  Liverpool mainly imported cotton for the mills of Lancashire and North Wales.  Flax being of much lesser importance .. most coming through Lancaster via St George's Quay, for the Bentham Mills.   In the early 18th century much of the Irish linen went through the port of Chester, this reached it's zenith in the mid 18th century, much of the trade moving to Liverpool. Liverpool, on the north west coast of England, was the major slaving port in the north of England. The trade from this small port developed in the early 18th century. In the 1740s Liverpool overtook Bristol in the slave trade. The reasons for this are not clear. Liverpool may have had lower local wage rates than Bristol, which would led to higher profits for investors. The city had good port facilities and closer access to the manufacturing towns of the north and midlands than Bristol. Liverpool may have overtaken Bristol in the slave trade because its merchants were more enterprising, and more willing to take risks, than merchants elsewhere. Liverpool remained the country’s major slaving port for the rest of the century. For flax seals see here

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  MALTON and Norton.  Twenty one seals are in Malton Museum as part of the collection of the late Jim Halliday of Norton which were found around Malton and Norton.  The town of Malton stands on the banks of the River Derwent and has been the historic centre of Ryedale since Roman times, when a 22 acre legionary fort , Derventio , at what is now Orchard Fields, was established in AD70.  Facing Malton on the other side of the river is Norton, which developed into busy towns and an inland port on the River Derwent.

 see http://www.peacehavens.co.uk/BSMALTON.htm

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  NEWBURY is a market town in Berkshire, England. The town centres around its large market square which retains a rare medieval Cloth Hall. The Newbury Museum has a few Russian flax and hemp lead bale seals suggesting that more may be found in the vicinity of the town.

 

Seals in Newbury Museum (West Berkshire Heritage Service)

#

OBVERSE click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail   Finder/Location

NW
1

no photo

*П* = Р
У.ХРАМЦОВ
(U.KHRAMTSOV)
H 6

no photo

SPB

ИЧАН

1801

6

post
(hemp)

1 NEBYM:A1299

NW
2

no photo

An unreadable
Numbers Only Seal

no photo

NP

AN9AO

17??

??

post
(flax)

2 NEBYM: 1981.96.6

NW
3

no photo

ЛД = LD
АГ (AG)
Archangel

no photo

SPB
В.КАНЛИН
V.KANLIN
H3?

3?
post
(hemp)
3 NEBYM: Loan D2902 (A)

NW
4

no photo

ДП = DP
А.ПРОТОПОВ
(A.PROTOPOPOV)
H ?3

no photo

?2K
D.?
18??

?3
post
(hemp)
  4 NEBYM: Loan D2902 (B)
             

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  NEWCASTLE January 07 1710: By order in Council, dated St. James's Jan. I, for leave to the ship "Beginning" to discharge at Newcastle her lading of flax and iron "four Benches of hemp and eight Regs of cucumbers," she having performed her quarantine and her crew in perfect health: all on the petition of Johnathan Hutchinson Esq. and Samuell Holden, merchant.

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  NIDDERDALE has many old flax mills. I have personally searched fields around several of the mills in the Dale but have failed to find a single Russian flax bale seal. I did locate a splendid Retting Tank at the rear of one of the mills .. absolutely textbook. The area is rife for exploration.

 

Not a Flax Mill, but good pastures

down to the river which should

have good detecting prospects.

 

Many of the surrounding fields

look to be good prospects, but

the cricket field needs permission.

The Bleaching Fields directly in

front of the mill have been put to

to the cultivation of Christmas trees.

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  NORFOLK

 

 

 

Norfolk Landscape Archaeology, Gressenhall

#

OBVERSE click thumbnail

REVERSE click thumbnail

Finder & Location

             

NLA

06

no photo

ДИ = DI
МAРОЗОВЪ
(MAROZOV)
H66

no photo

SPB

АЧRH

1776

66

post
(Rein Hemp)

Norfolk
6 NDL(HER)25178

             
             

 

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 PENNY BRIDGE MILL is situated a few miles up the river Crake above Greenodd at the high tide line of the tidal estuary. The small Galliot ships were able to sail up the shallow narrow river as far as the bridge with their bales of flax and then to unload them at a slate stone jetty the remnants of which can still be seen to the right of the photograph. A small flax mill and iron foundry were built higher up the river to take advantage of the mill race that powered the waterwheel. Flax and iron were transported along the narrow Mill Lane to a jetty at the bridge (see photo below). Another bridge built downstream in 1820 denied access to the jetty but rumour has it that the mill was destroyed in an explosion in the early 1800's which probably accounts for why only 13 seals were found at the site, 12 dated 1805 and an undated Baltic States Shield seal with a Cross .. circa 1800. For reasons best known to themselves the Mill Owners deposited the seals high up in a field on the other side of the river.    In all 30 seals have been found giving hope of a new flax seal site.   The mill has been completely demolished and all that remains are a few low walls and the entrance to tunnels running under the site where the water was channelled to turn a water wheel which powered the mill.

see http://peacehavens.co.uk/BSPENNY.htm

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POULTON-LE-FYLDE From early times Poulton became an important centre for trade in this area. With harbours on either side of the River Wyre, at Skippool and Wardleys, it was able to import goods from as far away as Russia and North America. The origin of the word "Skippool" is probably from Old Norse skip meaning ship and Old English pull/pol for a slow moving stream. The area came to prominence in the 1700’s when it was the main port on the River Wyre before the development of Fleetwood. Ships of up to 200 tonnes would unload cargoes from around the world with flax and cotton for the Lancashire mills. It was also renowned as being a haunt for smugglers and press gangs looking for recruits for the Royal navy. The opening of the railway to Fleetwood in 1840 quickly brought about the demise of the creek.

  Thomas Hankinson continued to trade from the Wyre along with his brother-in-law Hugh Hornby. They bought additional shares in the Ramlesfield warehouse at Skippool and evidently traded both to the plantations and the Baltic for in 1752 they were pail-owners of a ship the "Hankinson" which made voyages to St Kitts, Riga and St Petersburg."  Flax is brought up the Wyre and landed at Wardleys on the north east side of that river where the principal manufacturers of Kirkham have large and commodious warehouses for the reception of goods. Flax was imported from Ireland and the Baltic, timber came from across the Atlantic and tallow from Russia. There was a close relationship with Lancaster port.  Records from 1806–08 show that Poulton imported limestone from Ulverston, oats from Ulverston, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries, Wigtown, Whitehaven and Liverpool, and coal from Preston. Cheese was exported to the same places. By the 18th century, markets for cattle and cloth were being held in the town in February, April and November, with corn fairs every Monday. It is unclear at what point Poulton began life as a market town; it was never granted a market charter and so markets were held by prescription. The market cross probably dates from the 17th century. The linen industry was widespread in the Fylde during the 18th century and Poulton's importation of flax was essential. There were large warehouses at Skippool and Wardleys, owned by linen merchants from Kirkham. By the 19th century, craftsmen in Poulton were an important part of the industry. In the early part of the 19th century, there was a significant decline in the craft industries because of increased mechanisation, as well as increased demand for labour. In contrast to neighbouring Kirkham, Poulton appeared to suffer from a lack of enthusiasm for new industrial techniques and opportunities among its industry leaders whereas Kirkham used yarn spun at the new mills in Bentham for its sail cloth factories. In both Preston and Poulton, Street Cottages were specially built for hand-loom weavers who sold their work to Messrs John Birley and Sons of Kirkham.  Poulton's commercial importance was affected by the growth in the 19th century of two nearby coastal towns. In 1836 the first building was constructed in the new, planned town of Fleetwood, 7 miles north of Poulton, at the mouth of the River Wyre. Fleetwood became a major port and a link for passengers travelling from London to Scotland. To achieve these ideals a line connecting Fleetwood with Preston was completed in 1840, with Poulton as one of the stops. Although Fleetwood immediately superseded Poulton as a port (the Customs House was quickly moved to Fleetwood), Poulton initially benefited commercially from the rail link. The importation of Irish and Scottish cattle through Fleetwood enabled a fortnightly cattle market to be held in Poulton. At the same time, Blackpool was developing as a resort and for a few years, visitors travelled by rail to Poulton and then on to Blackpool by horse-drawn charabancs or omnibuses. A line between Poulton and Blackpool was completed in 1846. As Fleetwood and Blackpool's own commercial capabilities developed, and Kirkham's prominence in the linen industry continued to grow, so Poulton's importance declined.

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  SCARBOROUGH ship captains came to know the Baltic Sea well. John Tindall's "Free Briton" sailed for Russia in 1762-63 calling at St Petersburg. The mates were paid two to three shillings a day and the deck hands a shilling. Thomas Kendall master of the "Content" called there in 1766 . Captain Enoch Harrison took the "Commerce" into the Baltic in 1764. Robert Duesbery became a "Russia merchant", in partnership with Hugh Atkins of London and Jacob Regail of St Petersburg. He borrowed £4000 from his father but was able to repay it by 1769. Robert Burn in the "Exchange" and George Hopper in the "Ada" were Baltic traders in 1770. Master Thomas Davison took the "Holmpson" to Riga in 1779 and James Tindall was with the "Fortitude" in the Baltic in 1783. It should be noted that although the most productive fisheries in the world were upon the coasts of the British islands; yet at this time, the Dutch sent to the four great towns on the Baltic—Konigsberg, Elbing, Stettin, and Danzig—620,000l. worth of herrings every year, England exported to those places none at all,  nor any to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, or the

ports of Riga, Revel, Narva, and other parts of Livonia, even though sending ships to deal with the flax and hemp from those ports.

  Yorkshire was hungry for Baltic goods in the 18th century. Flax was imported for the linen industry, that extended from Pickering Vale to Scarborough men entered the Eastland trade in the sixties. Twenty years later, this had become a major branch of east coast trade. S. K. Jones has listed Baltic shipping through the Sound in 1784 as Hull 358, London 342, Whitby 311, Newcastle 280, Lynn116, Scarborough 103 and Liverpool 102 ships.

 

 

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  TORPOINT The first mention of Torpoint in known records is on an old print of the harbour dated 1734. There are records dated 1745 of masons and carpenters from Torpoint repairing Antony church. Torpoint developed apace after 1750 due to the Dockyard. Expansion was driven by the need to expand the Navy. Ship building and repair required workers from the Torpoint side of the river as Plymouth at that time was a difficult place to reach directly from the Dockyard and housing was limited nearby. Other factors which speeded the development of Torpoint were the construction of Lime Kilns, wharf, a warehouse and a quay. By 1774 as well as Lime Kilns there were a ropewalk, shops and a place for spinning.  The next ten years saw even more development. Warehouses had been built and ships came in from foreign countries with their goods. Goods to and from East Cornwall were more easily shipped from the Torpoint side of the river rather than making the journey from Plymouth via Gunnislake. This development however was stopped by the customs and excise because they were not able to police this trade sufficiently.  Most seals found were hemp from the late 18th century for rope making, with a T for TAMOЖHЯ (customs tax paid)

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      ULVERSTON. see http://www.peacehavens.co.uk/BSULVERSTON.htm In the late 18th century Eller Flax Mill was owned by William Harrison, a surgeon and was quite small with only 216 spindles on water frames and 200 on hand frames. The main industrial product was sailcloth, used by the shipbuilders of Lancaster and Whitehaven. The mill changed to a water-powered cotton mill but after the cotton famine of 1862 the cotton industry in the town declined, and the mill was used for corn, leather, paper, ropes and candles. When the mill was in use as a corn mill, it suffered a fire on the night of 11th October 1886, causing a total of £4000 worth of damage to the mill and its machinery.
    The building is now the base for Furness Engineering and Technology Ltd (FETL), a highly motivated, successful engineering consultancy with parallel reputations for providing quality support services to the Nuclear,
Oil & Gas, Process and Utility Industries.

Modern day photos of Ellers Mill in Ulverston

  Ulverston and Morecambe Bay. There were numerous small havens to the north of Morecambe Bay, like Beanwell at Baycliffe, Goadsbarrow, Greenodd, Maskel Point, Penny Bridge on the river Crake, Plumpton, Hammerside Hill near Ulverston, Conishead Bank. Carter Pool once navigable to smaller vessels as far as Outcast. Shipbuilders Ephraim Swainson and Messrs Hart & Ashburner were here in pre-Canal days. Several armed vessels built for the West Indies trade.  The Enclosure Award of 1812 enclosed the previously common land of Oxenholme. Carter Pool, once 50 yards wide, was narrowed and gated. An earth embankment 8ft wide and 3ft high ran from the floodgates to Conishead Bank on the seaward side of Sand Hall (now a footpath). Saltcoats Bridge over Carter Pool built around 1870s to afford access to housing and works at Sand Hall. The North Lonsdale ironworks built its own tidal quay by which ore was imported and pig iron dispatched. Their original Beaconsfield Pier was replaced by larger Ainslie Pier at Hammerside.

 As a result of the prior development of cotton spinning, prices of cotton dropped and cotton captured the popular market while linen manufacturers were still struggling with their process. The early 19th century saw very many bankruptcies in the region.  Flax and hemp had been grown in the north west for centuries. The growing of hemp was more common than that of flax, particularly in North Lancashire and West Cumberland. It was, however, never enough to meet demand throughout the period, and extra supplies were imported, mostly from Archangel and the Baltic ports of Memel, Riga, Narva and St.Petersburg mostly via the Port of Lancaster where smaller boats spread it out to other small ports and jetties.. This trade was profitable, but profits were counterbalanced by various hazards. Bad weather caught many ships as they passed to the north of Scotland, and the trade was limited to the late summer, after the flax harvest but before the winter set in.

   Subsistence production, in and for the home, was widespread in the region at the start of this period. Throughout most of the eighteenth century, yarn spinning for commercial employers crept further north and by the 1740s merchants in Garstang and Lancaster and Furness were putting-out spinning for home production.

    Though now long abandoned Ulverston once had its own port with a canal connecting it to Morecambe Bay. The canal was completed in 1796, in order to provide the town of Ulverston, one and a half miles from the coast at Morecambe Bay, with a port. The Ulverston Canal is claimed to be the deepest, widest and straightest canal in

the UK. It is entirely straight and on a single level.  At 15 feet (4.6 m) deep and 66 feet (20 m) wide, it was intended to take very large ships. The loch gates at Canal Foot (now permanently sealed) on the coast were opened at high tide to permit the entry and exit of ships to the canal. In the days before the construction of the Furness Railway, Furness was cut off by the mountainous Lake District on its only landward side; the region was accessed only by crossing the sands of Morecambe Bay. The Ulverston Canal was once the starting-point for steamers to Liverpool, passenger ships to Scotland and London, and cargoes of local slates that made their way to coastal towns all around Britain. At the head of the canal was a large saw mill with the port full of ships with timber. The Port of Barrow-in-Furness took all of this trade in the past and builds nuclear powered submarines today.

 

It is recorded that the peak year for traffic on the canal was 1846, with some 944 vessels arriving and departing but fewer than 400 vessels used the canal in 1848, and its traffic steadily declined. The last ship left the Canal in 1916.

  The schooner "Ulverston" was the last vessel to be named for the town and was built at Edward James Schollick's yard at Canal Foot in 1862. She was a schooner of 61 tons and largely owned by local businessmen. She would carry 100 tons of cargo, with a maximum draft of 8ft 6in. The Ulverston left the canal on 26th August 1862 for Liverpool with 86 ton of iron ore and general cargo. She was intended as a grain carrier, but this was concealed in the word "general". Over the next 30 years the Ulverston made nearly 300 voyages to her home port, nearly always with general cargo from Liverpool. One such cargo is detailed by the lock keeper: 500 carboys of vitriol, 25 ton of iron and 35 tons of coal. Other imports were timber from Glenarm and Glasson Dock, bones, manure and sulphur from Liverpool, sand from Fleetwood and coal from Glasgow. She rarely arrived light.     William and John White operated one of several shipyards at the head of the Ulverston canal. They built twelve vessels at Ulverston, their first ship, Mary Goldsworthy, launched into the Ulverston Canal, in October, 1865. Eleven other ships followed, the last, Ellen Harrison, in 1879.  William White can claim to be the last Ulverston shipbuilder, because after the launch of the Ellen Harrison no more merchant vessels were ever built there.  The ill fated Ellen Harrison was stopped and scuttled 7 miles NW of Cherbourg by the U Boat 32 in 1917, during WWI.

 

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WEST END MILLS  Click here for the West House page

  A complex of 18th/19th century flax mills spreading down the steep River Washburn valley from Aked High Mill, Little Patrick Mill, Patrick Mill, Low Mill and down to the West House Mill at Blubberhouses.   None of these mills exist anymore .. Aked High Mill was demolished, Little Patrick, Patrick and Low Mill vanished under the waters of Thruscross reservoir in 1960 and West House Mill was demolished, although parts can be still be found hidden away.    In all over 1500 Russian lead flax bale seals were found here with metal detectors by the PeaceHavens Project teams buried in fields above the reservoir water level.

 

West House Mill

Ruins of Little Patrick, the church going under, the red on the map is Little Patrick and Whinny Hill flax bale seal fields.

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 aka PeaceHavens Project

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