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Old 25-10-2004, 13:46   #1
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Primrose Mill, Church

Hi, we've already mentioned Primrose Mill on another thread, re the engine parts that were left to rust away in the side grounds of Haworth Art Gallery. Here is an old postcard I have just come across, showing some of the women workers at the mill. You never know, Darby and Doug, etc., some of your rellies may even be on the photo, eh?
The mill was built in 1855 and changed hands on quite a few occasions. Around 1912, possibly a similar time to when this photo was taken, a wide range of fabrics were being produced - muslins, airship fabrics, poplins, art silks, and plain and fancy cottons.

Weaving ended at the mill in 1982 and it was demolished during 1985
Some of the weaving shed wall still survives along Bridge Street I believe.
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Old 25-10-2004, 16:40   #2
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Fasinating Picture, as always. Atarah. The question is "Whats the event" and "Why are they having this celebration at work".There's a few trimmings in the backgound, there is some writting on the far back wall, but, most interestingly, the workers are posing around what appears to be three photograph/picture frames. Possibly, they are something else.

As usual, my eyesight is'nt good enough to fully make out the inscription behind, but the letters to the left appear to say "SUPP?????" and to the right appear to be "WAR"; which suggests "Support the War". Now, the clothing styles look a bit early for the Great War; and in any case, there was no celebrations over the period until Armistace day.

However, there were a number of celebrations during the Boer War, 1899-1902, such as occured at the Relief of Maefking and Ladysmith and there was certainly a substancial local contribution to this war. The most important contribution, however had been the invention of a durable, synthetic Khaki dye IN CHURCH!. So I'm just wondering if we're looking at Primrose Mill's Khaki-producing Lancashire Looms & it's operatives celebrating with good cause, news from South Africa.

Any other theories, anyone?

Last edited by Tealeaf; 25-10-2004 at 16:42.
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Old 25-10-2004, 18:14   #3
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

As ever, a lovely photograph Atarah. I must admit that there will be none of my relatives on the piccy. I didn't come to Church until I was 18 months old, and my family (on mi mothers side) came from Burnley, and then they didn't get to Burnley until after the turn of the centuary (1900). My grandma was born in 1872 at Westbury on Severn, and her parents came from the Head of the Valleys (S. Wales). My granddad came from Chorley, but was born in Cark-in-Cartmel.

My dad came from Burnley but his family originally came from Wishaw near Glasgow...so I'm afraid I'm not really a Church family lad. Although my step-father came from Ossy, but even he was born in Renton, Dunbartonshire.

So I must be an immigrant!! But in defence..I integrated and was absorbed!!

Weaving Sheds.......that's when life was hard...and the hours long!!
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Old 25-10-2004, 21:16   #4
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Is the young woman in the foreground with the brush offering a clue as to what might be happening??
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Old 26-10-2004, 09:56   #5
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

I've seen similar in factories right up to today, I think it's a picture of a young girl about to get married with her work mates gathered round her & a display of the pressies that have been bought for the bride. The brush was probably part of a joke as in the old phrase of living over the brush.
I could be wrong but I think it's as innocent as that.
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Old 26-10-2004, 10:28   #6
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Less, you could be right, especially as the "Bride with the Brush" has some sort of collar wrapped around the back of her neck. However, there are just two points which I find puzzling.Firstly, why the caption, "Primrose Mill Church"? If it was a picture taken for the "Bride", then I would have thought the details would have been more specific, e.g. "day before the wedding", or the caption omitted completely.

The second point is that in this period pictures were taken on glass by professional photographers; the Kodak brownie had yet to be invented. While I've seen lots of amateur pictures taken by people fooling around at work, this is the work of a professional, and I'm not aware of any pictures taken by professionals inside mills or factories that where the subject matter is a social wedding group or similar. Yes, lots of piccys of people at work; or maybe sat down celebrating something formal such as"Empire Day", or even socially, sat outside the factory.

Or maybe we've got the image of the rich, greedy, nineteenth-century millowners all wrong; that they were in fact, a fun loving lot who would find any excuse for stopping the looms, having a party and bringing in the Church papparazzi to record the fact.

Last edited by Tealeaf; 26-10-2004 at 10:55.
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Old 26-10-2004, 10:54   #7
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

there are just two points which I find puzzling.Firstly, why the caption, "Primrose Mill Church"?

Perhaps the caption was added to the plate many years later therefore the name of the bride etc. would not be known.


The second point is that in this period pictures were taken on glass by professional photographers; the Kodak brownie had yet to be invented. While I've seen lots of amateur pictures taken by people fooling around at work, this is the work of a professional, and I'm not aware of any pictures taken by professionals inside mills

Taken by professionals or, rich amateurs, it might just be that the mill owner was trying out his latest & expensive hobby & saw the gathering as an Ideal subject for his latest technology?

Or maybe we've got the image of the rich, greedy, nineteenth-century millowner all wrong; that they were in fact, a fun loving lot who would find any excuse for stopping the looms, having a party and bringing in the Church papparazzi to record the fact.

It's at this point Tea that you remind me of the Monty Python sketch about the Spanish inquisition, "There are two, two, points Ifind puzzling, sorry, three, three points I find puzzling"

There had to be exceptions to every rule which would include Mill Owners!
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Last edited by Less; 26-10-2004 at 10:56.
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Old 26-10-2004, 10:58   #8
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

The final paragraph was not a "point", it was merely a reference to the underlying assumption about the nature of 19th century millowners.
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Old 26-10-2004, 11:07   #9
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tealeaf
The final paragraph was not a "point", it was merely a reference to the underlying assumption about the nature of 19th century millowners.
I understand that but it was much more fun adding it into the reply in the way that I did.
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Old 26-10-2004, 12:14   #10
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Anyway, I've gone back on my initial suggestion that this was possibly a "flag-waving" occaision, on the basis that there ain't no flags or bunting to be seen.
It is possible, though, that the brush has a far more obvious purpose, such as sweeping up bits of cotton off the floor.
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Old 26-10-2004, 12:30   #11
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tealeaf
Anyway, I've gone back on my initial suggestion that this was possibly a "flag-waving" occaision, on the basis that there ain't no flags or bunting to be seen.
It is possible, though, that the brush has a far more obvious purpose, such as sweeping up bits of cotton off the floor.
Perhaps the reason for the celebration then was the joy the workers felt because the 'terrible mill owner' had purchased a new brush, hence it's pride of place in the front row?
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Old 26-10-2004, 12:42   #12
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

It looks to me as if there may be some 'bunting' of some description behind the people in the photograph. If not, what is all that stuff draped from the pipework and the stuff partially obscuring the notice on the back wall, which we think may read 'support the war?'

Also, what is the thing in the middle which the two most central characters are stood behind? Could it be some sort of makeshift alter? There are a lot of decorative items (or so they seem) on it. Is the central person on the right, as we look at the picture, a reverend? He seems to be wearing a dog collar. Could this possibly be some kind of religious service, conducted in the mill, because the church was out of commission for some reason? Maybe undergoing repairs? Or, could it be some kind of "blessing' for the mill which may have been just about to open after being fitted out with the machinery?
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Last edited by JohnW; 26-10-2004 at 12:43.
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Old 26-10-2004, 12:59   #13
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Looking more closely at the notice on the back wall, I don't believe it says "support the war." I don't know what it does say mind you. However, the fifth letter of the first word does not appear to be an 'O' to me, and the second letter of the last word is, I think, an 'I'. Also, there is far too much space for the words "support the war." It appears to be a longer sentence than that. Could the last word possibly be 'fire?'
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Old 26-10-2004, 13:44   #14
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnW
Could the last word possibly be 'fire?'
I was trying to work that out I'd got this far when you posted, but can't seem to get the blurr out of the first word, my first attempt did improve the 's' though, for some reason while I was playing the word shoe kept coming accross but I can't see where that would make sense.
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Last edited by Less; 26-10-2004 at 13:46.
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Old 26-10-2004, 14:48   #15
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Re: Primrose Mill, Church

Look at the girl on the left as you see the picture, next to the one with the brush. She seems to be wearing some kind of official sash around her neck and also seems to have hold of a mace/scepter of some description. Is that a cat on the table top to the right of her head? Is the photograph or picture behind the 'cat' a church with a steeple? Or is it a mill chimney? Could be a picture of the outside of the mill.
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Last edited by JohnW; 26-10-2004 at 15:05.
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