Monday, 14 January 2013

Notes on Hutton Rudby's industries in the 19th century

From my research notes for Remarkable, but still True.  I can't guarantee accuracy, but I thought it might be of interest to others to see the topics brought together in this way.  I have added internet links where I have found them available.


1808:  Graves noted that “there are no common, or uninclosed lands, which is a circumstance of some advantage and consequence to husbandry”.

1853-70:    The “Golden Age of Farming”

1877:  the price of wheat began to drop disastrously

1894:  Royal Commission noted that in the Stokesley area wheat growing land had fallen in value by two thirds since 1879, farmers had lost their capital and three had even applied for poor relief

This depression in farming only came to an end with the First War

1801 Census    
Skutterskelfe, Sexhow and East Rounton wholly agricultural
Hutton, Rudby and Middleton 20 % agricultural and 80 % manufacturing, trade or handicraft

Graves commented that in the parish the number of people engaged in agriculture and the number engaged in trade or manufactures was nearly equal.

Ord noted in 1846 a decrease in population between 1831 and (probably) 1841, and attributes it to “the removal of families to Middlesborough”.

the linen industry collapsed. 

1841 Census
there were 37 farmers, 2 hinds and 71 agricultural labourers, 62 % men and 38 % women.  9 of the women and 10 of the men were 65 to 85 years old

1851 Census
there were 94 farm labourers and 41 farm servants – 86  labourers were men, and only 5 men and 1 woman were over 65.  The young men had been displaced from the linen industry into agriculture. 

1861 Census
there were 52 farmers, 111 labourers and 38 speciality farm workers eg ploughmen, milkmaids.   
A number of Drainers are listed in the Census – 12 men aged between 24 and 50.  One was born in Hutton, one in Stockton, 4 were Yorkshiremen, two of them married to Hutton women, one was born in Lincoln and 5 in Ireland.

Paper Making

The new bridge was built in 1755, and we now think the line of the road was altered to its present path at that time.

By 1757 there were mill buildings using the mill race if not the actual wheel which had for centuries powered the corn mill.

Paper making in the village could use the waste from the linen industry – C18 paper was made from rags.  It was a complicated and highly skilled craft – plenty of fresh clean water was needed to pulp the rags and break them down, and the sheets of paper were moulded wet – the waterwheel was needed to work the machinery that broke down the rags.  Paper mills could be “brown” (commercial wrappings and mill-board) or “white”.  (See library, article on Cumbrian paper mills).  Machine-made paper could be made at five times the speed and at lower cost, and drove out many of the older mills

The paper mill was insured with the Sun Fire Insurance Company by a papermaker called John Taylor in 1757.
It was owned by Charles Dixon of Kirklevington by 1760, when he reinsured it with the same company – he emigrated 1772 – and the registers show jobbing papermakers in village 1771-1788 – papermill still working in 1828.

Closed by 1834.  Soon afterwards it was acquired by Thomas Mease.

In 1841 Thomas Bainbridge was operating as a paper box manufacturer;  site of his premises unknown.

Linen Industry

Graves described “linen weavers in Rudby and Hutton … a paper mill at Hutton, and a considerable water corn-mill at Rudby, which with the bleach-grounds at Middleton, employ between 20 and 30 hands”.

recession late 1820s to early 1830s

“since my appeal to the Society there has been a large cotton mill erected in the town … next Spring, when the mill is to commence work” Oct 1834 (R J Barlow to National Society)

Mease brothers bought Hutton mill to convert to powered flax-spinning mill in 1834, but were caught by this recession which deepened into a depression by 1837-8.  Their mill is referred to in Ord 1846 “a flax spinners’ mill was erected some years ago close to the bridge which crosses the Leven, and the parish church, on the site of an old paper-mill which had gone to decay.  This factory is worked by water-power, and, like other things, has benefited from the improved and still improving commerce of the country.” 

general trade depression, and the English market flooded by coarser and cheaper Scottish and Irish linens.
The report of Solomon Keyser, assistant commissioner, upon the conditions of the Yorkshire linen weavers showed unemployment, falling wages and severe distress.  16 Hutton Rudby operative weavers signed a statement which was attached to the report, saying that when the cost of winding, loom and shop rent, sizing, grease, candles, brushes, shuttles etc had been deducted an average weekly wage of 11s 6 ½ d was reduced to 9s 6d.
This was still higher than the average waged in many neighbouring linen villages, and Hutton in 1838 still had 157 looms at work making “linen cloth, ticks, drills, checks, and diapers” R P Hastings:  Hutton Rudby, An Industrial Village c1700-1900:  Parl Papers 1840]

The Tithe Map shows John Mease owned a house (25ft x 18ft, two storeys high) and kitchen (25ft x 16ft, one storey), a single-storey stable (13ft x 14ft), two large two-storey warehouses (60ft x 24ft 6in, and 32ft x 26ft 5in), a single storey gateway, a 3 storey engine house (26ft5in sq), a single-storey water wheel (21ft sq), a 3 storey mill (88ft x 38ft), and a single storey dry house (34ft x 12ft).  These buildings were presumably largely inherited from the paper mill. [Val Martin’s work]

1840 Whites    
“Many of the inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of linen cloth, ticks, drills, checks, diapers &c, there being here a large flax mill and about 250 weavers”

1841 Census
116 weavers and 18 other persons engaged in linen making; three linen manufactuers, James Eland, Thomas Sidgwick and George Wilson.  The census returns show that the flax mill was being worked by two flaxdressers and ten spinners, who were mostly girls and boys in the teens, under the surveillance of overlooker John Ransom, and the management of William Shaswell [R P Hastings:  Hutton Rudby, An Industrial Village c1700-1900

Ord described the inhabitants as generally employed in the “manufacture of linens, which is carried on to a considerable extent by Messrs Robinson & Wilson, who have warehouses in Newcastle upon Tyne for the sale of their goods.  Other parties also give out work to the handloom weavers in the village, who are all engaged at fair remunerating wages”
George Wilson had come in the 1830s as a clerk to Clark & Plummer.  He was a linen manufacturer in his own right by 1841.  He took over the mill and by 1851 is listed as linen and sailcloth manufacturer.

1851 Census
84 people involved in linen manufacture

there was the sailcloth and canvas mill employing 14 weavers, a foreman, 5 winders and a warper.  There were still 21 linen handloom weavers in the village and 2 linen manufacturers: Sarah Sidgwick and George Bewick.

24 men, mostly canvas weavers, and 9 female factory workers employed in the sailcloth mill.  The presence of one power loom canvas weaver shows the mill was being converted to steam.  Only 10 linen weavers and one linen manufacturer, Elizabeth Garbutt of Mill Hill, North End, who had the old Bewick premises.  Three bleachers operated a bleach house on the Rudby side of the river.  [Hastings:  Ind Vill]

the Post Office Directory shows William Surtees had a linen manufactury, traditionally said to be near Albion Place 

the mill was converted to steam power and immigrant workers came to the village mainly from Dundee

there were 50 working in the main mill and 12 in the bleach house

total workforce at mill was 70

mill closed, and many left the village

Winifred Blair’s Scapbooks:  Newspaper article:  Mar 1928:  “Century old shirt still good – relic of Hutton Rudby weavers – old folks’ yarns-
“…The last man to do any weaving is reputed to be old George Drydell, who within the recollection of many villagers who have passed middle-age, some 45 years ago made blue linen for butchers’ aprons.
… There are some Hutton Rudby woven shirts in one house in the village that are marked 1815, and they still look good enough for many years’ wear.
Looms and other reminders of the weavers’ activities are still to be heard of, though they are not often seen…
Another resident of the village told our representative that two years ago a weaving shed at the back of his house was pulled down, and the large stone used for beating yarn on was broken up.  He added that there are still a number of weaving sheds in existence, but they are not now used for that purpose…”

The 1858 O.S map
shows the position of the sluices for Hutton and Rudby mills.  A dam is also marked which must correspond to the weir used to control the water supply.  There is no clearly marked mill dam, but it must be in the area just before the road – there seems also to be an outlet to the river here, presumably as a further control of water supply.  The headrace then went under the road and into the mill, perhaps at the end of the mill building just above the tailrace, or beside the road, with the tailrace falling down to the river – or could it go underground?  The position of the corn mill (see later) might indicate the wheel was beside the road.  After steam power was introduced, the headrace and the mill dam were filled in, and the area must have been substantially altered to build up the ground level for Leven House, which the Marchants date at 1874.  I believe the bridge was previously a hump-backed bridge – the road level has been appreciably raised.

The corn mill at Hutton remained “where the police constable’s house now [in 1928] stands” – that is, on the roadside – and it was there that Joseph Mease lost an arm. 


1871 Census
7 men:  a timber merchant, 3 bobbin makers, 1 bobbin turner, a wood turner and a sawyer – 2 bobbin makers were born in Middlesbrough, 1 in Morley, the wood turner was born in Pudsey and the sawyer in Newcastle.

1881 Census  
7 men:  the timber sawmill manager, a circular sawyer, the sawmill engine driver, a sawmill labourer, a bobbin borer, a bobbin turner and a wood turner.  Of these, only the sawmill manager was in the village in 1871 – he then described himself as a timber merchant employing 6 men and a boy.  All the others had left.


1861 Census  
1 iron miner and an iron mine labourer, an assistant collier, an engineer
machinist and a mineral agent

1871 Census  
two jet miners

1881 Census
two ironstone miners and one jet merchant

1861 Census  
a foundry labourer

1871 Census
a foundry labourer, an engine tender and an engine fitter

Rail transport brought new markets for the sailcloth mill, new contacts with the rest of the country and also seems to have brought in people who did not work in the village itself – the 1881 census includes a ship builder, engineers, draftsmen and a bank cashier

Picton to Grosmont line proposed, reaching as far as Stokesley to the west

North Eastern Railway Co completed the Whorlton branch to the Picton to Stokesley line was opened, with the directors travelling on the line and back for a champagne lunch in Stokesley.  It was joined the line at Potto Junction and was built to serve the Scugdale iron mines.

Middle classes
1823 Baines' Directory    
five ‘gentlemen’ (Wm Dawson, John Robinson, Brian Thompson, Simon Kilsey and BD Suggitt) the vicar and the surgeon in Hutton, and in Rudby George Brigham, a yeoman Robert Brigham, a farmer Jasper Barugh and the schoolmaster William Preston

1840 White's Directory    
five ‘gentlemen’ (Michael Sidgwick, Jas Eland, Wm Wood, Jas Flounders and Jas Wilson) and the vicar.  2 academies.  In Rudby George Brigham, Robert Preston, schoolmaster, Eliz Barugh & Sons farmers and Reuben Redhead farmer.

see life described in Letters to a Miller’s Daughter by J Beryl Turner

parish magazines seem to show a sizeable middle class population to draw on for good works in the parish

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