Bolton's mills, how the spinning mule changed the textile industry, 1672-1929

Bolton's textile industry, 18th-19th century : manufacture, trade and politics

Bolton's textile industry, 18th-19th century : manufacture, trade and politics

About the year 1772 I began to endeavour to find out, if possible, a better way of making cotton yarn than was then in general use; being grieved at the bad yarn I had to weave. But to be short, it took me six years
Samuel Crompton, Dec 1802The Crompton papers, 1672-1929; General Correspondence & Papers (1802); img 8

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See the mills of North West England develop through the industrial revolution

This resource combines papers relating of two families prominent in the history of Bolton. Both families, the Cromptons and the Heywoods, were involved in Lancashire?s rapidly expanding textile industry. Samuel Crompton's 'Mule', invented near the turn of the nineteenth century, was instrumental in the revolutionising the manufacture of textiles, leading in turn to the subsequent prosperity of Bolton. Documents contained in the Crompton Archive, are highly instructive on the rise to prominence of the mule and on the efforts of its inventor, who did not patent his machine, to secure financial recompense for the economic benefits that it brought. They also facilitate research into contemporary business practices, as well as into more domestic concerns, including the nature of family relationships and their household expenditure. The papers also show some of the varied ways in which provincial Victorians sought to commemorate pillars of the community, in addition to providing insights into the religious life of members of the non-conformist New Jerusalem Church, or Swedenborgians. The Heywoods were successful textile manufacturers. The business correspondence drawn from in this archive offers insights into the nature of trade within England and abroad. Robert Heywood became influential in local politics and public affairs, becoming the second Mayor of the Borough of Bolton in 1839-1840. Thus these Heywood papers also provide insight into contemporary political issues in Bolton, in particular the Chartist movement and riot of 1838, while his journals and letters relating to expeditions to America, Europe and the Levant shed light on nineteenth-century travel, in which business opportunities were never entirely forgotten during the sightseeing. The Heywood papers also contain personal correspondence between family members and friends, which complements items in the Crompton archive regarding the nature of kinship at that time. Of related interest for studying the social and commercial history of Lancashire during the Industrial Revolution are the Liverpool directories and the Ecclesiastical, court and land records in the Manchester Cathedral archives.


Bolton's mills, how the spinning mule changed the textile industry, 1672-1929...

Containing 7,006 pages belonging to 108 documents housed in 2 volumes...

View the Volumes & Documents 


The Crompton papers, 1672-1929

The Crompton papers are arranged chronologically. About half the documents date from the lifetime of Samuel Crompton, though relatively few...

The Heywood papers, 1799-1866

The Heywood papers are arranged thematically. Part 1 contains correspondence from 1808-1820, mostly business letters of John and Robert Heywood...


  • The Crompton Papers are the largest part of this collection. The majority of these papers are letters from 1672 to 1862.
  • The latter three pages of Crompton document listings cover Crompton as the inventor of the mule. They also include family wills, extracts of items on the cotton industry and his account books.
  • Charles Dickens' journal All The Year Round features within papers on the doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg. The volume from April in 1860 includes a biography of Samuel Crompton.
  • The Heywood papers contain information on Heywood's international travel and trade. They also include correspondence on the Bolton's politics, including the Chartist riots.
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