Youngsters were the ‘cotton piecers’, the ridiculously dangerous job of scampering among the clattering machinery picking up waste cotton, while women tended to be ‘cardroom hands’ which could be equally injurious to health.
None of this is surprising since I grew up in Dukinfield, part of the wider Manchester Cottonopolis as it was known, at least until the 1950s by which time Lancashire had lost its technological edge and textiles proved to be much cheaper to produce in other parts of the world.he industry had all but died out in this part of the world. The mills were still a feature of the local landscape, but the machinery had long since fallen silent.
The cotton industry had all but died out in this part of the world and though the mills were still a feature of the local landscape, the machinery had long since fallen silent. Some of the mills were pulled down, like the Queen Mill demolished in 1983, while others were simply left to stand empty or converted to other uses.
And that should have been that – a proud industry that once gave employment to tens of thousands another ghost of the past for most local families. But even ghosts can rematerialise.
The video on the right tells more of the story that is personally quite heart-warming and I wish them every success, as I’m sure do the spirits of all those cotton workers who made this part of the world what it is.