POVERTY IN MIDDLETON. REACH

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POVERTY IN MIDDLETON. REACH

Post by Stanley » 21 Apr 2012, 08:29

[Transcribed and published with the permission of the Editor and Author. Chris Aspin.]

EXTRACTED FROM ‘MANCHESTER AND THE TEXTILE DISTRICTS IN 1849 BY ANGUS BETHUNE REACH. Edited by Chris Aspin and published in 1972 by the Helmshore Local History Society.

PART 8.

MIDDLETON

SOMEWHAT MORE than five miles from Manchester, and mid-way upon the high road to Rochdale, lies, in a pleasant hollow, surrounded by ridging hills, and watered by the stream of the Irk, the ancient village of Middleton. Although near the centre of the charmed circle within which the steam-engine, the three-decked mule, and the power loom are alone potent, and almost as it were beneath the heel of the cotton capital - still the prevailing spirit of the region has passed but lightly over Middleton. Standing on the gravestone-clad hill, beneath the antique belfry of the Norman church, you see in your immediate neighbourhood but a few scattered stragglers from the host of tall chimneys which muster on the horizon. Beneath you, perched upon gardened banks or nestling in petty ravines, lie the scattered streets of an old-fashioned village, the high-gabled and irregular tenements built of wood which was leafy three centuries ago, interspersed with ranges of modern red-brick two-storied cottages. There is a gas-work rising, spick and span new, close to where the long grass is waving on the ruins of a brave hall; and a Manchester omnibus stands at the door of a tavern which may have seen the esquire ride forth to fly his hawks. There is nothing of the suburban character about Middleton. The citizens of Manchester do not resort there. The place has a stamp of its own. Some of the oldest and purest blood of the Lancashire yeoman keeps its current still unmixed by the hearths of this village. Needwood and Charnwood sent forth no tougher bows nor longer shafts than twanged along the banks of the Irk, and amid the coppices of Birtle and Ashworth. On the northern window of the church transept are emblazoned the effigies of the Middleton Archers, who, like Hubert's grandsire, drew good bows, not indeed at Hastings, but on Flodden Edge. There, upon the coloured glass, march, like the merry men of Robin Hood, the staunch Middleton Archers, all of a row, with their long light Saxon hair, and their retainers' liveries of blue. Each carries his unslung bow upon his shoulder; over each bow is painted, in antique letters, the name of its owner, and every one of these names is still borne by an inhabitant of Middleton. It was curious, indeed, after the multitude of brown bricken Sions, and Ebenezers, and Bethesdas, to which I have lately been accustomed, to find myself standing upon the brazen memorials of buried Crusaders, amid mullions and quatrefeuils, carved by Norman chisels, and beneath mouldering standards and rusty spears, which were probably shaken and couched in the wars of the Roses. And in moral as well as physical attributes is the stamp of the old age strong upon this Lancastrian hamlet. A great deal of what was generally believed in England under the Tudors is believed in Middleton and its neighbourhood to this day. Indeed, says the courteous and accomplished Rector, “the people are but too apt to disbelieve what they ought to believe, and to believe what they ought to disbelieve.” The fortune-teller abounds, and his oracles are as gospel. The astrologer still casts nativities and projects schemes, and the culler of simples is careful to pluck his herbs only during the waxing of the moon. Upon a dead wall I saw a placard announcing that the “Sacred Drama of Joseph and his Brethren” would be performed by certain Sunday-school pupils. Most unfortunately the date of the representation was past, or I would have astonished you by a critique upon something in the nature of a mediaeval mystery seriously enacted almost amid the smoke of modern Manchester.

From what I have stated the reader will be prepared for a population pursuing some distinct and ungregarious species of occupation. He is in the right. The “folk o' Middleton,” to use their own vernacular, are almost all silk handloom weavers, pursuing their craft in their own houses, preserving an independent and individual tone of character, intermarrying to the extent of breeding scrofulous disease - clannishness and prejudiced and peculiar as all such septs are - keeping up even amid their looms a great degree of the rural and patriarchal tone of by-gone times - a few of them handling the plough and the hoe as well as the shuttle and the winding-wheel and the entire community great favourers of the old English manly sports. “When the Hopwood hounds pass the village (says the Rev. Mr. Dunsford, the rector), there is always a goodly train of sportsmen, on foot, in attendance.”

On my arrival in the village I inquired where I could best see the weavers at their work, and was directed to the “club-houses.” Do not imagine however a satin-weaving Pall Mall. Turning from the high road, which is also the main street, I climbed a roughly-paved lane skirted by common-place mean houses, some of them little shops, and presently I heard on all sides the rattle of the shuttle. Still the aspect of the place was half rural. Trees here and there bowered the cottages, and the noise of the flail mingled with that of the loom. The “clubhouses” were a double row of two-storey cottages, constructed by an old club or building society, whence the name, and not dissimilar in general arrangement to those I have so often described as forming the operative homes of Manchester. They were reared upon the face of a steep hill, and the surface of the street between them being level, the ground-floors on the lower side of the way are unavoidably underground-floors. You descend them by means of a roughly-paved area, extending the whole length of the street. The general aspect of the place was certainly humble enough; and the day being a dismally wet one, everything looked cheerlessly sloppy. I entered a house at random; as usual, the street door was the parlour door, that is to say, the door of the parlour, and kitchen, and hall. Two apartments opened from the principal one, the small one to the back being a sort of scullery and store-room, piled up with dirty dishes and household utensils, waiting to be washed; the other, a room nearly, if not quite, as large as the dwelling chamber, was the “loom-shop,” where business is conducted.

First, of the living room. It was a sort of country cousin to the same class of apartments in Manchester, furnished a good deal after the same fashion, in rather a rougher way, to be sure, but wanting the grime and smoke-dried air, and the close, hot smell of the town operatives' lodging. In the corners were niched the invariable cupboards. From the wall ticked the invariable clock; beside it hang little miniature-sized engravings in black frames. On the high chimney-piece were tiny pieces of nick-nackery, china and glittering ware, in the usual cottage style, and on each side of the fireplace hung the usual polished pot lids. There was good substantial furniture in the place; strong useful deal tables, an old-fashioned chest of drawers, chairs of different patterns - some of them antique, high-backed affairs, the wood carved into innumerable lumps - others like the ordinary Windsor pattern; and by the fireside the never-to-be-too-highly-honoured rocking-chair. The floor was stone-flagged, sanded, and clean; and I must not omit to mention that on either side of the grate stood excellent cooking ranges - a feature almost universal in the Middleton weavers' cottages. Altogether, the place was by no means uncomfortable, inspiring neither the idea of privation nor unwholesomeness. I was met on the threshold by a decently- dressed middle-aged woman, who ushered me into the loom-shop, where sat busy at his work her lord and master. The work-room boasted but an earthen floor, scratched and scraped by half a dozen cocks and hens, which were jerking their necks about beneath the mechanism of the four looms which the chamber contained. The loom arrangements were barbarously primitive. There was a hole scooped in the earth beneath the treddles, and the weaver sat, like the craftsman of Hindostan, half buried in the earth, which, however, seemed as dry as Sahara. The walls were fairly whitewashed; and the stretching oblong window, or rather range of windows separated from each other by a two or three inch broad strip of wall, furnished the “Long Light,” already so often alluded to. Of the four looms in the apartment two were at work, one of them wrought by the husband, the other by the wife. Before the former, on the loom, was stretched a piece of blue satin - the rich texture of the stuff contrasting well with the rude woodwork in which extended that glossy mesh of purple threads. I had some difficulty in drawing this weaver into conversation. He was not sullen, but not intelligent. While I stood by his loom, his wife took her place at hers, and began to labour upon a piece of brown silk shot with blue.

The man lamented over the fall of wages. Twenty years ago he used to make twice as much as now. He didn't know how it was. He supposed it was the masters. They was hard on the poor man. They was very grievous in their “batements. When the weaver carried his work home, the master or the agents wor very clever to see flaws in it. They wouldn't see none, not them, if they wor a selling it to a customer; trust 'em for that. And wages was failing still. For a piece he would have got twenty shillings and sixpence for eighteen months ago, he could hardly get sixteen shillings now. It wasn't so bad with some sorts of silks. It all depended on the fashions and the run there was in the market. It would take a very clever weaver to make 10s. a week as a general thing, but there wor some good pieces as paid well, if the weavers could get plenty of work at them. He wrought, himself, ten hours a day or twelve, just as he was in the humour - some days more nor other days. If he wor lazy beginning in a morning, he made up for it at night. Sometimes he stopped the loom and went for a walk why not? I inquired whether the house belonged to him No, he wished it did. A vast heap in them parts lived in their own houses - more nor in any town of Lancashire. The children (by the way - they were feeding the poultry with crumbs of bread left from the dinner table) the children were just brought up to their father's trade. There was naught else for 'em to do.”

The woman told me that she was weaving silk for which she was paid 6 ½ d. per yard, and she could make only two yards by a hard day's work.

In the next house I visited, the man - a stalwart well-looking fellow - had just taken a piece of silk off the loom and was folding it on the table. He had to carry it to Manchester to be paid for his work. I admired the beauty of the stuff. "Aye, aye, but there be always soom'mut to find fault wi' when I take it whoam, that they may bate me down.” He worked long hours - just as long as any factory hours. If he didn't begin so soon in the morning he kept at it longer at night. He was independent in that way, however. “Yes, that wor soom’mut. They often wove in these parts till ten o'clock in the long winter nights. A good weaver couldn't make more nor 8s. or 9s. a week. There wor some sorts of odd work as paid far better - perhaps a dozen, or it might be fourteen shillings; but they had seldom such a price. Wages wor failing - that was over true. He thought it was the fault o' the machinery.”

I said that they were not so ill off at Middleton as Spitalfields.

“Aye, aye; but it's a poor sort of work, and I dinna doubt but they want to banish silk weavers from Spitalfields. It's too low and too poor a life for the fine folks o' Lunnon.”

I crossed the street and made my way into one of the lower situated houses. The general arrangements were nearly the same as those I have already described, in the first dwelling that I visited. In this house a stout, burly-looking fellow, with a decided Milesian look, was smoking at the ingle corner; and a gaunt, pale-looking, middle-aged woman was seated on a low stool, rocking her lean body backwards and forwards, and pulling away at a pipe with great gusto. In the work-room were four looms. A rather nice looking girl of fourteen was working one - a sallow, unshorn-lean man another. The latter was producing beautiful figured silk. He was paid for it 9d. per yard, and could weave three yards a day. The price within his recollection would have been 2s. a yard, “Wornt that enough to make a man bitter at his work?" For other sorts of silk 4d. a yard was paid, and he well remembered when it was 1s. 3d. What was the cause of this? “Lord! He didn't know; I ought to know better nor him.” “Were there more people weaving now than when he was a boy?” “Aye, that there wor - twice as many.”

I had several times asked whether there was any weaver among them whom they thought especially a clever man, and one who knew the history of the trade. Public opinion pointing with many fore-fingers to a certain door, I tapped thereat, and the latch was raised by a venerable old lady adorned with a pair of silver spectacles on her nose, and a pipe in her mouth; she looked somewhat like a nice indulgent grandmamma - she had such a kind old-fashioned face; but I could not help staring at it, for never in my life had I seen an elderly lady's countenance embellished at once with a pair of silver spectacles and a clay pipe. The master of the family was a very intelligent, chubby old man, with grey hair, a pair of twin spectacles, but no pipe. After ascertaining that I was “not in the trade,” and that I knew as much about the secrets of “dents-and-shute” as about the mysteries of Eleusis, he made me extremely welcome, and we had a long gossip together. In his workroom stood four looms, one of them the invention of the celebrated weaver of Lyons. (1) When I entered the master of the house was instructing a girl in the management of the loom. He straightway left his pupil, and, having heard my errand, launched headforemost into a sea of silk-weaving reminiscences.

I shall not attempt to classify the topics which I found scribbled in my note-book. In conversation with working men it is almost impossible to keep them to the point, and perhaps a more vivid idea is given of the colloquy, and especially of the principal interlocutor, by putting on paper his chat, rambling and disjointed as it was uttered.

“Remember better times? That do I well. Twenty-six years ago we had 13d. a yard for what we have 3 ½ d. now. It's the machinery, the machinery as has done it - for see that Jacquard, and the silk in it (there are many hundred Jacquards hereabouts) - well, the weaving of that silk used to be 3s. a yard. What is it now? Why, 1s. 3d. About thirty years ago we were mostly cotton weavers here-away. But the power looms flung us out of work, and we were nigh starved. Then, sir, there came gentlemen from Lunnon, from Spitalfields (of course, as you come from Lunnon, you know Spitalfields), and they took down silk here and they set us to work on it. We was very glad to get the chance. But the masters was using us to bate down the Spitalfields weavers. Some of them, sir, - the weavers I mean - came down here, but their old masters wouldn't employ, no, not never a man on them, because they would want their old wages and old rules. That was the way, sir, that silk weaving became so general here-away. Well, but we was soon served just as we had served the Spitalfields folk. There's a place called Leigh, not far from here, where there was then a heap of hand-loom weavers as wrought cottons and such like. Well, after some time, our masters didn't give us our due, and so we combined and had a strike. What did the masters do but took the work to Leigh from Middleton, just as they did from Spitalfields to Middleton, and the weavers at Leigh wrought at one ha'penny a yard less than we did. To be sure they was glad to get the work at almost any price. The wages are not very different now, but there are grievous and unjust abatements. The masters are some of them honourable good men - but some of them are very tyrannous. They were very tyrannous in this way at Leigh, and a committee of the weavers collected information as to abatements, and printed it in a book. (I have the pamphlet before me). Very often, sir, there was one and-sixpence and two-and-sixpence unjustly “bated” out of a week's work. The poor people could not live under it. They couldn't."

At this point we adjourned to the parlour. Grandmamma, with the pipe, swept up the hearth. A nice tidy girl sat peeling apples, apparently for a pie. Another weaver, a sturdy, good-humoured looking fellow, flung himself into a cosy elbow chair, with his legs over the arms, and we resumed our talk somewhat in this fashion.

“What rent may you pay now for this house?"

"Seven pounds a year, and a good many folk pay six.”

The room was comfortable, and comfortably and substantially furnished. In an open corner cupboard sparkled two antique silver salt-cellars. I am always glad to see such things in a poor man's house. They were possibly heir-looms. The old weaver resumed.

“Some folks live in their own houses but I don't. This better nor factory work? Ay, that it is. You see you keep your children at home about you, and you don't lose control over them. We live very friendly like. There be all sorts here, but we're good folk together. When the children are ten or twelve years old we put them to the loom, but we must attend them, you know, and teach them. It takes long to make them perfect in the trade.”

“Perfect in the trade!” exclaimed he of the elbow chair, “there's naught on us perfect in the trade. We are all learning.”

The pater familias gravely coincided, and went on. “There's many drawbacks to a weaver's work. Sometimes it takes a week to gate a loom- (prepare it for a web of particular fineness). I heard say that in Spitalfields all that is done at the master's charge, but here we do it ourselves. How do we live? Well; there's not much flesh meat eaten. There would be a deal more if we could get it. But there's tay (the Lancaster peasant invariably pronounces the word more Hibernico), there's tay, and bread, and bootter - that's ready cooking.”

“Tay!” interrupted the younger weaver; “hot water and a little sugar, ye mean. It's not tay.”

“Well,” resumed his elder; “in this family we only have an ounce of tay a week; but I'll just tell you how we live in homely Lancashire sort. Well, we have tay and bread and bootter morning and afternoon. At dinner we have potatoes and perhaps a little meat. Here's in this house a family of four or five, as it may be. Well, at the end of the week we buy two or three pounds of beef, and that's all the flesh meat we have till next week. So we make it into as many dinners as we can scheme. We cook may be half a pound at a time, to give the potatoes a flavour like. But what's that for eating? Why, my share at meal-times is not bigger nor my thumb. So I often throw it in and take a fried ingan [onion] and two or three drops of vinegar to relish the potatoes. That's about our general way of living. To be sure we may get a lift in spring time when the spring fashions come; but very often we've been getting into debt in the winter; and first, you know, we must keep our credit; and then there's clothes want renewing. Teetotallers here? Aye, there be a few on 'em; but we're all very moderate.”

“We wouldn't be so very moderate if we could afford a little drink better,” said the second weaver.

“I like my glass of ale myself,” resumed the first, “and I like good company, and a good joke and soom'mut to laugh at , I do. I like to sing a song too.” How the conversation turned round I do not remember; but the next entry I have upon my note-book is, that the old gentleman was fond not only of a good song, but that he was especially fond of reading the “Skootchings” which Cobbett (2) used to give to people he didn't like. Then we got back to convivial matters, and so gradually to the subject of the morale of the village.

“We've got a rural police here. But, Lord! we haven't no more use for them nor you have for water in your boots. There's three policemen, and the devil a thing they have to do but to walk about with their hands in their pockets, like gentlemen. Why, they haven't had a job this three months; except, may-be, when a chap gets droonk-like. The sergeant, as they call him, thinks it's quite ridiculous. He says he never saw such people. If he offends one he offends all. We like each other so well, and we turn out after dinner and have a great talk about politics, and what they're doing in Lunnon, and smoke our pipes. We often have long discussions - we're great chaps for politics, and we just go into each other's houses and talk. I like to be idle myself sometimes - I dare say you do, too. Yes, of course you do. Well, then, when I feel idle, I go and walk about in the fields maybe, and work harder to make up for it after.”

I quite regretted being obliged to tear myself from my garrulous friend, who, I doubt not, would have talked till midnight with very great pleasure.

The next weaver I saw I was introduced to by the worthy rector. He was a patriarch of the village - a fine-looking old man of eighty two - with the remains of a well-cut massive set of features and curling white hair. He was feeble, and at times wandered in his speech. His dame was still a stout hearty body, enjoying a green old age; and busily employed when we called in scouring the flagged floor with hearthstone, a bucket, and a mop. She must have seen seventy winters, but she worked as vigorously and spoke as briskly as a damsel in her teens; her white hair all the while streaming from under a narrow frilled calico nightcap - the ordinary head-dress of the Middleton matrons.

The patriarch sat before the fire and babbled of times present and past. “The first silk ever woven in Middleton was made into bandanna handkerchiefs. Sixty years ago and better he had woven such himself. Some folk farmed then - others wove cotton. After the bandannas came twills and sarsnets and satins. Wages were lower, much lower now, than in the old times.”

“But did the people then live better than they do now?"

Somewhat to my surprise the old man said, “No, sir; no, they live better now. They have tay and coffee liken - (observe the lingering Saxon idiom) - tay and coffee liken the gentlefolk. I had coffee to my dinner this day, sir. They had porridge and milk then instead; and often, sir, they had to go three miles to fetch the milk. But still they didn't work in the old days as now. They ran after the hounds, or went a-shooting and a-sporting in the fields nigh three days a week, and many had farms and tilled them likewise.”

“I suppose you drink a glass of beer sometimes,” said the rector. “You can brew it yourselves, in this capital range.”

At this the buxom old dame took up the word.

“Well, sir, some on 'em does, but others drink it at the hush houses - that is, sir, the places where they keep it withouten being licensed. But we have naught to say to such like. Oh, there's a much drinkin' - too much - folk com round door by door and ask, 'Will we buy a knife?' and if we say, 'Aye,' why, then, they out with a bottle of smuggled whisky and sells it. That's the knife, sir.”

Leaving the octogenarian and his dame, Mr. Dunsford said he would show me a house built by an industrious and intelligent weaver, entirely out of his own savings - a house which, in the phraseology of the district, “all came through the eye of the shuttle.” We crossed the Irk by a slippery wooden bridge.---That,- said my companion, “that is, for its size, about the hardest worked brook in England.” There had been many hours of heavy rain, and the flood was rushing turbulent and strong. It looks as if it had been a likely trout stream long ago, but the gudgeon is now the only tenant of its waters. Verify the gudgeon must be a long-enduring fish - patient of foul things as an ichthyologic Job. The house we went to see was a neat and substantial cottage, built on the summit of a steep garden-planted bank. The industrious family who dwelt in it were its architects, and a snugger kitchen or a neater parlour, in a small way, might not easily be found. Over the dresser was ranged a fair collection of useful books.

To the Rev. Mr. Dunsford I am indebted for some interesting notices of the “Middleton folk,” touching matters on which a stranger could not, during a hurried visit, well gain information for himself. The people are very generally careless and indifferent about the education of themselves or their children, taking the latter from school as soon as they can be useful at the loom. Writing is the attainment which they must prize, and most excel in. The art is a mechanical one, and Mr. Dunsford is convinced that the symmetrical order and due slope of the threads constantly stretching before their eyes exercise no little effect in producing good penmen from amongst weavers. The young people marry early, and although long periods of betrothal are common, they almost invariably take each other for better for worse without a stick of furniture or a shilling of saved money. The bride and bridegroom then go to live in the house of the parents of one of them; or frequently one takes his or her meals and remains during the day with his or her own friends; the other doing the same thing at another house, and the couple coming together again in the evening. During this time they pay for “loom room,” or in other words, hire a loom a piece, and pay also for their board. Sometimes the father thus becomes a sort of capitalist - letting out, in a large family of sons and daughters, as many as half-a-dozen looms. Generally, by the time the first child is born, the young couple have saved something towards furnishing a dwelling for themselves - and that the more often inasmuch as their notions of setting up housekeeping are very modest. If they have a bed, a chest of drawers, and a corner cupboard they think that in all the essentials of furniture they are set up. The bedrooms are very generally, neat, clean, and tidy, beyond what might be looked for. The hand-loom system here appears, so far as family is concerned, to exercise exactly the opposite effect of the factory system. The Middleton weaver keeps not only his sons and daughters, but often his sons and daughters in law, long about him; while the children who are too young, and sometimes the adults who are too old for the heavy labour of the loom, turn the winding wheel, and prepare the glistening silk for the frame. They are great politicians the good folks of Middleton, and occasionally given to lazy fits, during which smoking, sauntering, and chatting listlessly are the amusements most in vogue. The women very frequently smoke, but it is always with some pseudo-medical excuse. They feel a “rising” or a “sinking,” or a headache, or a toothache, or any ache, or no ache at all. A curious indication of the prevailing shade or radical politics in the village is afforded by the parish register, the people having a fancy for christening their children after the hero of the minute. Thus, a generation or so back, Henry Hunts were as common as blackberries - a crop of Feargus O'Connors replaced them - and latterly they have a few green sprouts labelled Ernest Jones. (3) A very small proportion of the weavers only labour in the fields; but in many farmhouses around there are looms which the women work during the long winter evenings. The Spitalfields hobby of pigeon fancying is not uncommon, particularly among the young men; and pigeon matches, which give rise to a good deal of gambling are frequent. The birds are taken some miles away, and then flown back to their homes. Apropos of the betting propensity, there was a bagatelle table in the quiet tavern where the omnibus from Manchester deposited me, above which was inscribed the following naive and ingeniously-worded proclamation: “No gaming allowed on this board. Any person having a wager or wagers on this board, the landlord shall seize it, and spend it in liquor.”

I mentioned to Mr. Dunsford the complaints which I had heard of the masters being grievously tyrannical in abating the nominal wages given, on account of alleged imperfections in the work. Most of these stories, he said, like other stories, had two sides to them. He had known weavers work for years for a firm without any abatement being made, or at least any that was not admittedly just. Many of the abatements, so called, were fines for broken contracts for work not being finished at the stipulated time. Still he did not doubt but there were often cases of real hardship in the system - cases in which shabby and screwing agents sought, by extreme ingenuity in finding or fancying flaws, to bate down the fair price of the work. In the pamphlet published by the Leigh weavers' committee upon the subject, one fact most damning to the masters, if true, is broadly asserted - viz., that the weavers who are abated the most, and who, consequently, were the abatements justly made, must be the worst workmen, received by far the greatest share of labour from the employers. Many of the cases reported by the committee in question seem harsh and cruel to the last degree. As regards the amount of these abatements, I may mention, quoting at random from a great mass of tabular statistics, that out of £265 10s. 8d. of wages nominally earned by 171 weavers, £45 12s. 3d. was abated on account of real or alleged imperfections in the fabric, being an average of 5s. 4d. clipped from each man's pay.

By the time I had completed my tour of inspection lights were gleaming from the “loom shops,” and in the wood-roofed market place gas jets flared amid the meat, and on the eager faces of chaffering customers. Two Manchester omnibuses, each with three horses, and an indefatigable horn-blowing conductor, stood at different inn doors, and I naturally selected the lightest laden. Although the rain was coming down in bucketfulls, and the interior of the vehicle I had chosen was all but empty, the other was thronged outside and in. I mentioned the matter to my only compagnon de voyage. “0h,” he said, “you don't know how queer they are, the weaver folk of Middleton. They have a line of omnibuses belonging to a man they like, and won't go in the other people's buses not if you paid them; they'd walk through all this rain and dirt to Manchester first. Sometimes they hoot the people who ride in t'other bus, and if we were each of us Middleton tradesmen, and to be seen where we are, why we'd never sell another ha'porth to a weaver of them all!”

NOTES

1. Jacquard, whose loom wove intricate patterns and pictures.

2.William Cobbett (1783-1835), the Radical author and journalist whose Political Register enjoyed a huge sale among the working classes.

3.Henry Hunt (1773-1835), Radical orator and demagogue, who was imprisoned after Peterloo. Feargus O'Connor (1794-1855) and Ernest Jones (1819-1868) were Chartist leaders. O’Connor founded the Northern Star which, in the early 1840s, regularly printed lists of ‘infant patriots’ who had been named after the ‘Lion of Freedom’.
Stanley Challenger Graham
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scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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