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Russian Flax and Hemp Bale Seals from

Ulverston and District

Copyright 2020 Ged Dodd
aka PeaceHavens Project
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of free copy & share &
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      ULVERSTON. 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.

 

# OBVERSE click thumbnail   REVERSE click thumbnail Finder/Location

IDS

1378

  ДC = DS

ШЕРШЕНЕВЪ

(SHERSHENEV)

H325

N:P

DH:12.K

1777
(anchor)

325

post
(flax)

Laurie Pearson-Dewes
Pennington
Cumbria

IDS
1436

ДЛ = DL
TPEKIHЬ
(TREKIN)
H307

N:P

MӨ12H

1775

307

post

(flax)

Lauren

Pearson-Dewes
Lindal-in-Furness
Cumbria

IDS

1569

ЛД = LD

Г.ФУФАЕВЪ
(G.FUFAEV)
H6

NP

AG12H

1819

6
post
(flax)

Portable Antiquities Scheme
LANCUM-AA51DC

Urswick, Cumbria

IDS
2090

No. 7

WU
SB9ПS
1754

7
post
(flax)

Christopher Worrell
Rosside, Ulverston
(Picked Superior)

IDS
2091

ЛД = LD
Ф.ТЕГОДАЕВ
(F.TEGODAEV)
H63

NP
C?12H
1796

63

post
(flax)

Alan Plevey
Rosside
Ulverston, Cumbria

             
             
             
             
 

The PeaceHavens Project

  About PeaceHavens - This database is an ongoing project involving the daily finding and identification of Russian Lead Flax Bale Seals from the old disused 18th/19th century Flax Mills of the Industrial Revolution in the UK.    For many decades in the 18th & 19th centuries, Russia was by far the world's greatest exporter of these flax stems via Archangel, Konigsberg, Kronstadt, Libnau, Memel, Narva, Pernau, Revel, Riga, St Petersburg, Tilsit, Windau and Great Britain was Russia's major customer. Every bale of flax stems was fastened together with a lead seal by a quality control inspector. After retting the discarded stems of the flax with seals still attached were prized as fertilizer by local farmers and were spread onto the land mixed with night soil manure.

Website design and seal translations by Ged Dodd   Director of The PeaceHavens Project.

 

Copyright 2020 Ged Dodd
aka PeaceHavens Project
Click here for the terms
of free copy & share &
supporting your Project