Up first is a website written by an ex-competitor and now a wonderful friend and collaborator, Charles Day. His business was the last traditional textile recycling business to close (in 2000) and probably the oldest (1844). Charles is so knowledgeable about the textile recycling trade.
Christine Widdall’s fabulous website documents textile recycling in the ‘Heavy Woollen’ district, but also her own connection as a direct descendant of George Archer. George was an engineer from Ossett that developed Benjamin Law’s rag tearing machine. The machine was called a ‘devil’ because of its power and danger in a world with little Health and Safety regulations. Later, George travelled to the USA, where he continued to develop these machines and recycled fibre production, particularly along the US East Coast. Perhaps some people from the USA are unaware of this connection to the UK and their heritage. Also, see Christine’s ‘Links’ page for further information.
In the meantime, if you want to know more about how wool recycling in the ‘Heavy Woollen’ district of West Yorkshire spread to the USA, check out Maggie Blanck’s website (above). Maggie is also a descendant of the recycled wool pioneers in Yorkshire and must have spent countless hours building the detail and importing images to this website. Maggie’s website also provides some helpful and interesting links.
Vivien Tomlinson’s website is another example of meticulous historical and family tree detail from a descendant of the textile recycling pioneers in Yorkshire. There are loads of links and contacts here (see above).
Shoddy and Mungo Manufacturers & SA
If it’s images of textile recycling in Yorkshire, England that you’re after, then a search like this (above) brings-up many, most with links to further information and images.
Searches on Wikipedia can bring up extra information.
This site is a fascinating record of the many woollen mills in and around Huddersfield (‘Heavy Woollen’ district of West Yorkshire, England). Many of the buildings remain, but sadly the wonderful machinery and skills are almost all gone. Manufacturers of recycled wool (shoddy & mungo) visited (usually on specific days) often sitting for a long time in waiting rooms to see the buyer of raw materials. Conversations are examplified (so typical of the accent/dialect/tone of ‘Heavy Woollen’ district) between seller and buyer that went something like:
‘owt’ (in Yorkshire) means ‘anything’ so the seller was asking if the buyer needed anything. ‘Nowt’ (in Yorkshire) means ‘nothing’, so the buyer did not have any requirements – although the seller suspected they often did, they just had their ‘favourite’ suppliers.
The website above contains useful historical information, albeit from the perspective of a dirty Northern England during the industrial revolution.
I came across the website above whilst surfing the Internet and found that the Red or Dead founders (Hemingways) had been influenced by the textile recycling trade in Yorkshire.