Trowbridge, County Town Of Wiltshire..Built on Cloth..

Songbird BStarred Page By Songbird B, 3rd Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1vn8durz/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Poetry

No more than a small county town in the UK now, but in times long past, Trowbridge had its own claim to fame with the rise of the Woollen industry.. From traditional hand spinning Cottage industries to the Industrial Revolution..A time of change and progress..and a town that got left behind..

Trowbridge Town..Built on Cloth..

My Town was built
on Cloth, long past..
when Looms were used,
a Weaver's task..
The warp and weft
of woollen skeins..
Though little of it
now remains..

The Gentle Art Of Spinning..


Once Drying Mills
and Dyeing Pools,
created magic
out of wool..
And teasels used
to raise the nap..
Put Trowbridge
town upon the map.

But Times Move On..Cottage Industries.

But times soon changed,
as time must pass,
an industry
that did not last..
Though once famed
for the cloth it made..
Now saw demise
of the Woollen trade..

The Intervention Of The Industrial Revolution And Progress.

But this town was once
a place well known,
this county town
I call a home..
So long ago
that link was lost,
this town of mine,
Once Built On Cloth.

A Brief History Of The Trowbridge Woollen Trade plus Credits.

Trowbridge is a small county town in Wiltshire in the south west of the UK and can trace its humble beginnings back to the Doomsday Book, where it was once known as 'Straburg'.
Historically, it holds the earliest known Market Charter dating back to the 12th Century.

From the 14th Century onwards, Trowbridge became well known for its Woollen Industry and made its name by hand-producing a quality fabric known as 'Medley Cloth'. This was woven from mainly Spanish wool, and being light in colour made it ideal for dyeing in a variety of shades which increased its popularity. At one time Trowbridge Town was known as the 'Manchester Of The West' and became the centre of the Textile Industry due to the success of the woollen cloth it created.

Sadly such success was not to last.

From the early days of original hand looms, progress dictated that the textile industry met the ever increasing demand placed upon it by the inventions of John Kay's Flying Shuttle in 1733 and James Hargreaves Spinning Jenny in 1764.
This increased the amount of cloth that could be produced throughout the country but this progress was also met by opposition by the Luddite uprising, due to fears of how this 'modern' way of cloth making would affect their livelihoods.
But progress would not be held back..

By the 19th Century, looms powered by mechanical machinery took over from the old traditional hand produced method of weaving and spinning.
This was now the new age of the Industrial Revolution where mass production was in much demand, and cottage industries once the very backbone of the cloth industry, were now replaced by industrial Mills and Factories with often abysmal working conditions of young and old alike.

By the close of the 19th Century, as the 20th Century began to dawn, the textile trade went into decline not only here in the south west but also across many parts of the country in Britain.
Mills and Factories closed down devastating the workers who depended on them for a liveable wage.
Silent machinery and blackened chimneys were the scars they left behind on the landscape in their wake, like ghostly sentinels to a past long gone.

The last modern textile mill closed its historic doors for the final time in Trowbridge in 1982. A truly sad demise of a great industry in the small county town whose roots are now buried in the mists of time.

'So long ago, that link now lost..
This town of mine, Once Built On Cloth..'

A musical tribute to the lost textile mills of Lancashire by 'The Fivepenny Piece' Folk Group.
Thanks to trichoone on youtube.

All images courtesy of
wikimedia commons

If you enjoyed reading this, please take time to check out my portfolio on my Songbird B Profile.

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Tags

Cloth, Cottage Industries, County, Flying Shuttle, Historical Events, History, Industrial Revolution, Industry, James Hargreaves, John Kay, Looms, Luddites, Progress, Songbird B, Songbird B Poetry, South West, Spinning, Spinning Jenny, Trowbridge, Weaving Cloth, Wiltshire, Woollen Towns

Meet the author

author avatar Songbird B
Hi there! I am Songbird B, and I am a semi-pro female Jazz vocalist. I have a huge passion for Jazz music, and I love writing Poetry, which I have done all my life. I am very Spiritual in my beliefs, and love Photography, Music and Garden Design....I...(more)

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
25th Feb 2013 (#)

this is quite awesome..poetry and prose and pics...a truly great star page..love you

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Thank you so much for looking in on me Carolan and so glad to hear that you enjoyed this article. Hugs to you my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Exquisitely crafted poetry, and so very educational. I never knew what teasels are. I always learn something new when I read your great posts, Songbird. Congratulations on a more than well-deserved star.

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Ah bless you Steve! This started out as such a simple poem about my home town but took on a life of its own when I added some background history..Hope you enjoyed the haunting youtube musical track too dear friend. \0/x

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Thank you so much for moderating my page for me Peter..I think this is the first one of mine you have done..Bless you for the Star merit too..

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author avatar Buzz
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Ohhh, loved this page and the author!

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Feb 2013 (#)

Ah bless you Buzz! \0/ Your comments always make my work worthwhile my friend..Hugs to you dear heart..\0/x

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author avatar C.D. Moore
25th Feb 2013 (#)

This is how I like my history, in poetic form. Well done! It took me back to my grandmothers stories of working at the looms in Yorkshire.

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Feb 2013 (#)

You would never think that my town had such a historic claim to fame once CD as long lost now..I enjoyed researching this, and I loved the youtube music track that I found to complete it. Thank you my friend for looking in on me and posting a comment. It is appreciated..

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author avatar richardpeeej
25th Feb 2013 (#)

I so enjoyed reading this one Songbird, and as I did I was thinking of the very poor working conditions of the workers there on the bench sitting in a line. No consideration of safety only profit! Very thought-provoking and a well deserved star too.

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2013 (#)

I am glad that you enjoyed it Rich my friend.. Yes with progress came dreadful working conditions too and slum housing where poverty and disease destroyed many families, just so the fat cats out there could get richer.. Progress can come at a terrible human price.. Thank you for looking in on me Rich..\0/x

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author avatar goldsongbird
26th Feb 2013 (#)

WOW that is a powerful piece my friend,it bought tears to my eyes.It is a shame that the art of spinning has left these shores but in the old days when children were employed aged eleven years old to clean under the machines,because they were small enough with the threat of losing a limb thus disabling them for life and not having the National Health Service at that time maybe not a bad thing.BUT there is a big BUT.

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Feb 2013 (#)

Dear goldsongbird, what a lovely surprise to see you here on my page! I am so glad you enjoyed this article, but yes, working conditions were appalling for woman and children alike..xxx

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author avatar goldsongbird
26th Feb 2013 (#)

I loved the combination of the visual/sound.What an artist xxx

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Feb 2013 (#)

I thought that I couldn't find a more perfect musical tribute to complete this article than this one my friend.. Bless you for such warm and loving comments..\0/xxx

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
26th Feb 2013 (#)

Thanks Songbird for a nostalgic trip stretching generations with lovely pictures and music. I had worked in the coir yarn and products industry years ago in South India. The technology and machines were from England and the first factories started in mid 1800. When I had time I used to go over records dating back hundred years! Slowly, due to mechanization, the industry underwent changes and the workers in each factory dwindled from thousands to below hundred. No one can stop the ravages of time and the pace of change is only getting frenzied - siva

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Feb 2013 (#)

How true this is Siva.. Progress brings many changes but they are not always for the good of all.. It is a pleasure to see you here my friend..

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
26th Feb 2013 (#)

That's a wonderful spinning of history-poem, dear friend Songbard!

Nostalgia from a poet's memorabilia.

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Feb 2013 (#)

Rathna, I have been away so long and must catch up with your work dear friend..So good to see you here again..It is so appreciated.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
26th Feb 2013 (#)

A brilliant piece from start to finish Songbird . All previous accolades justly deserved..including the star .
This is the sort of write that youngsters who are idle and think themselves hard-done-by would do well to read and digest . It might make them realize what real life is all about, and how much we all have to be thankful for today. I enjoyed all the video clips and the information gleaned . Well done and again ...thank you .
Bless you
Stella

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Feb 2013 (#)

Oh bless you Stella for your lovely post and for looking in on me.. Yes, it was a very different world back then.. We seldom appreciate what we have today..

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author avatar Delicia Powers
27th Feb 2013 (#)

oooooh, I adore all your poems Songbird, but some of my favorites are of England and its rich and long history....wonderful!!!

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Feb 2013 (#)

Thank you so much Delicia.. I recall that you have had ties with England in the past.. I enjoyed putting this article together..Knowing our past can make us appreciate our present so much more..\0/x

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author avatar Retired
6th Mar 2013 (#)

This wonderful article makes me miss the days I spent in your "green and pleasant land..." Thanks!

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author avatar Songbird B
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Hello Mike, what a lovely surprise! Bless you for looking in on me..Yes, only trouble with our green and pleasant land is all the rain we have to put up with to keep it like that..lol. So glad you enjoyed this article, you honour me by popping in on my page my friend.

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author avatar Maria Malone
21st Dec 2013 (#)

Lovely words, interesting write together with awesome pictures...thanks for taking me there!

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Jan 2014 (#)

Good to see you again Maria..Thanks for a great comment my friend. Glad you enjoyed.\0/x

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