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British Industrial History

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Pilkington Brothers (Cotton Mills)

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Pilkington Brothers & Co. of Park Place (Blackburn) and Knuzden Brook (Oswaldtwistle) Mills

1857 'NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, James Pilkington, William Pilkington, Edward Eccles, and John Baynes, carrying on business as Merchants, Cotton Spinners, and Cotton Manufacturers, at Park-place, within Blackburn, and at Cabin End, within Oswaldtwistle, both in the county of Lancaster, under the firm of Pilkington, Brothers, and Company, was dissolved by mutual consent on the 13th day of March last, so far as regards the said William Pilkington, who has retired.—As witness our hands this 4th day of June, 1857. James Pilkington. Edward Eccles. William Pilkington. John Baynes.'[1]

1862 'NOTICE is hereby given, that the Copartnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned, James Pilkington, Edward Eccles, and John Baynes, carrying on business at Blackburn, in the county of Lancaster and elsewhere, as Cotton Spinners, Power-Loom Cloth Manufacturers and Merchants, under the style or firm of Pilkington Brothers and Company, has been this day dissolved by mutual consent so far as regards the said John Baynes ; and that in future the said James Pilkington and Edward Eccles will carry on business at the Park-place Mills, in Blackburn aforesaid and elsewhere, on their own account, under the firm of Pilkington Brothers and Company; and the said John Baynes will carry on the business at the Cabin-end, otherwise Knuzden-brook Mill, in Blackburn, and Oswaldtwistle, in the said county and elsewhere, on his own separate account. All debts owing to and by the said late partnership will be received and paid by the said James Pilkington and Edward Eccles.—:Dated this 10th day of March, 1862. James Pilkington. Edward Eccles. John Baynes.'[2]

1881 'BLACKBURN. The number of operatives compulsorily idle was reduced yesterday by the starting of several mills, including two at which a very large number of hands are employed. These were started after a week's stoppage. Messrs. Pilkington Bros., Park-place Mills, containing 43,844 spindles and 502 looms, and Audley Range Mill containing 324 looms ; Messrs. Harrison, Son and Cos. Highfield Mill, containing 32,000 spindles and 362 looms ; Messrs. H. Harrison and Cos. Chadwick-street Mill, which contains 496 looms Messrs. Harrison Bros. and Co’s. Witton Mill containing 808 looms; Messrs. W. H. Hornby and Co's. Brookhouse Mills, 76,388 spindles and 1,288 looms, started at noon ; Messrs. Robert Hopwood and Son's Nova Scotia Mill, containing 47,718 spindles and 1,470 looms, partially started on Tuesday, and the remainder of the machinery started yesterday ; Messrs. Hodgkinson and Codling's Mill Hill Mill, containing 39,900 spindles. The weavers of the last-named firm, who run 938 looms, had been previously started. The unsettled state of the staple trade of the district has, unfortunately, had a very considerable effect on the funds of the Blackburn and East Lancashire Infirmary, the amount collected on last Saturday (Hospital Saturday) having been much less than in previous years.'[3]


1845 'Accident at Messrs. Pilkington's Mill. An accident occurred on Monday at the mill recently erected by Messrs. Pilkington and Co., which has stopped the working of the mill, and might have been attended with very serious consequences. It appears that on Monday morning, shortly after six o'clock, the machinery had just got to work when the engine suddenly stopped with a noise like thunder, as if a part of the mill had fallen down. On proceeding to the engine room it was discovered that a great portion of the engine was lying scattered about the floor—the beam was broken in two, the connecting rod destroyed, and the parallel motion much injured: of course the whole of the machinery was instantly brought to a stand still. Immediate steps were taken to repair the damage; and by transferring parts of second new engine that was about to be put up to supply the portions which were destroyed in the other, expected that the machinery will be work again towards the end of this week. The accident is entirely attributable to the man who had the care of the engine, neglecting his duty in not examining the boilers before starting the engine, one of which was too full of water; this caused the engine to prime, i. e. the water to be carried along with the steam into the cylinder, by which the piston was prevented, by the incompressibility of the water, from descending to the bottom of the cylinder; when the momentum of the fly-wheel was so great that carried the crank forward, and that broke off the beam end, and effected the rest of the injury. But still the accident might not have occurred had not the engine tender at that critical time have left his post, as his presence alone could have prevented it, the engine the time having little or machinery upon it. These negligences were the sole cause of the accident.'[4]

1846 'Shocking and Fatal Accident On Monday last, an inquest was held at the Good Samaritan Public-house, Blackburn, on view of the body of Roger Crook, aged 10 years, who had been employed as creeler, at Messrs. Pilkington's mill. It appeared from the evidence that, on Friday evening, about seven o'clock, after the deceased had been paid his Wages, (2s.) he and two or three other little fellows were playing in the mill-yard, among some large flag stones, which had been stood up on end by some workmen engaged on the premises. "While so playing the deceased knocked away a brick which separated some of the flags, between which he was at the time, and they fell together, catching him by the head and neck, thus partly pressing and partly crushing him to death. One of the deceased's playmates, aged 8 years, named Charles Mc.Kainan, also employed in Messrs. Pilkington's mill, saw the accident, and, according to his statement, called to two other boys to come and take the flags off the deceased, but they refused ; and the dead body was left suspended between the stones till discovered by some people going to work the next morning. The same witness said that while the deceased was hanging and screaming between the stones, a girl came and took the two shillings, which the poor little fellow had received as wages, out of his pocket. But the same boy told his schoolmaster, that he (the boy) had himself taken the two shillings and spent it on confectionery. It was thought that the witness might have been frightened into making this statement. The money, however, was not found on the deceased, and must have been taken from him while dead. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.'[5]

1853 'A Chimney Sweep Scalded to Death.— On Monday morning last, a little sweep, apprenticed to James Tomlinson, was sent along with two others to sweep the flues round the boilers of Messrs. Pilkington's mill, at Grimshaw Park, in this town. Whilst at work deceased said he would go into the ash-pit of one of the flues to warm himself. He did so, and in the one in which he got there is a trap under the boiler, used for the purpose of emptying it, and which discharges the water into the ash-pit. The boiler had water in at the time, and it is presumed that the child unthinkingly turned the tap, under the impression that the boiler was empty, as was the case with one of the other boilers. The tap was turned off in about five minutes, but be was quite dead. Deceased was nine years of age, and was named George Whittaker.— Blackburn Standard.'[6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette 19 June 1857
  2. London Gazette 21 March 1862
  3. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Friday 23rd September 1881
  4. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Saturday 9th August 1845
  5. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Saturday 7 March 1846
  6. Morning Post, Friday 4th November 1853