Follow the Yarn

An autobiography is a written story produced by a person about his or her own life. This is different to a biography, which is written by a different person about someone else’s life.

A bale was a large wrapped bundle of raw cotton that was transported from cotton plantations to cotton factories.

A long metal roller used to wind on the cotton warp threads before weaving.

A cylinder, cone, or reel used to hold thread or yarn.

Canals are water channels that were built between towns in the 19th century to carry food and other goods.

Carding is the process used to get all the cotton fibres running in one direction in long thick lengths called slivers.

Cholera is a disease that killed lots of people in Britain in the 19th century. It was caused by bacteria that lived in dirty drinking water.

Civil war
A civil war is a war within one county. It happens when two or more groups that do not agree turn to violence. The American Civil War was a war between the northern and southern states of America. The states disagreed on a number of issues including slavery.

An area of land or country outside Britain that was controlled by the British government.

A cardboard cone, which tapers from a circular base to a point, which has lengths of thread wound onto it.

A conical mass of thread wound on to a spindle.

A Corporation was a group of men who ran local government. Corporations ran most towns in Britain until 1835. This was when the government replaced them with elected councils.

Cotton is a fibre produced by the cotton plant. When it falls or is picked from the plant is known as raw cotton. Cotton is used to make cotton wool, cotton thread and cloth used in clothing and household textiles like pillowcases and sheets.

Cotton Famine
The Cotton Famine is the name given to an event that happened in Britain in the 1860s. Cotton mills in Lancashire closed and many people had no work. Lots of people survived on food handed out by soup kitchens. It was called the Cotton Famine because at the time it was believed that the war in America was stopping raw cotton from getting to Lancashire mills. The lack of cotton was only one of the causes of the Cotton Famine. The mills closed also because they had been making too cloth much before the crisis.

Cotton manufacturers
Cotton manufacturers were people or companies who were involved in the making cotton cloth. John Horrocks and the Horrockses company were cotton manufacturers but were also involved in cotton spinning.

Cotton spinners
Cotton spinners were people who spun cotton into yarn in their homes or in factories. The name was also given to the individuals or companies who owned spinning factories.

Cotton wool
Cotton wool produced after the raw cotton is put through the willowing and scutching process. Unlike raw cotton, cotton wool is light and often found in rolls.

A dispensary was an early type of hospital. It was a place where people could go and see doctors to get treatment for sickness or injuries. The Dispensary also had surgeons, who did operations like amputations, this was when a person’s infected arm or leg was cut off. The Dispensary in Preston was set up in 1809.

A dock is a place where ships and barges stop to load and unload goods. They are found on rivers and in towns, which have access to the sea. Preston built its Docks in 1892.

The process to pull or tease out cotton fibres into cotton thread. Drawing is completed on a carding machine.

An export is something that is grown or made in one country and sold to another. Cotton cloth was an export that was made in Britain and sold to countries like India.

A factory is a building that contains machinery and people who are employed to make a product. A cotton factory was a place that was involved in processing cotton.

The process for separating cotton from its seeds. Ginning took place in a machine called a saw gin.

A Guild is a group or society that looks after the common interests of that group. The group could be made up of merchants, craftsmen or companies. In Preston there were a lot of Guilds such as the one for cotton weavers. The name Guild is also used to describe the Guild Merchant, which is an event that takes place in Preston every 20 years.

Half-timers were children who were employed to work half-time. The Factory acts in 1833 and 1844 reduced children’s working hours to 6 _ hours a day and demanded at least 3 hours a day compulsory schooling. This system was eventually phased out after 1918 and replaced by full time education for all children under the age of fourteen.

A weaving machine to be used by hand. This word is also used to describe woven cloth that has been made by hand.

Horrockses was the name of a company that made cotton cloth, sheets, towels and other cotton goods in Preston. The company took its name from its founder John Horrocks.

An import is something that is grown or made in one country and sold to another. Raw cotton was an import that was grown in India, America and Egypt and sold and transported into Britain.

Inland ports
Inland ports or docks were ports built to allow large ships to sail up rivers and canals and dock in towns, which were not on the coast. Inland ports or docks were built at Manchester and Preston at the end of the Nineteenth century.

A lap is the roll of cotton wool produced after scutching and willowing which is fed into a carding machine.

Limestone is a rock made of calcium carbonate that was used to make mortar used in building houses.

A lock-out is what happens when an employer decides not to let his workers come to work. The gates to the factories were locked and workers were not allowed in. This happened when there was a dispute between the employers and the workers. Preston’s biggest lock-out happened in 1853.

A machine for making fabric by weaving yarn or thread.

Master was the name given to the owners of the cotton factories and companies. John Horrocks and Thomas Miller, junior were known as cotton masters.

A mill was the name given to a cotton factory, which made cotton yarn. The word was also used to describe any cotton factory.

These were large circular stones, which were used in mills for grinding wheat into flour. John Horrocks father made millstones.

A government licence to an individual or body giving them the sole right to make, use or sell an invention for a period of time.

A pointed bobbin that fits inside a shuttle that is used to weave cloth with.

A procession is when a number of people join together to walk along a street as part of an event. In Preston there are processions through the town centre as part of the Guild once every 20 years.

A member of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian movement devoted to peaceful principles and rejecting both formal ministry and all sets forms of worship.

Raw cotton
The cotton that is picked from the cotton plant is known as raw cotton.

Relief is the word used to describe money, food, clothes or any other type of help that is given to people who are suffering hardship.

Reservoirs are large man-made lakes that are built to hold water. They are used to supply drinking water. Cotton factories also used them to supply water to the steam engines, which powered the machines.

Roman Catholics
Roman Catholics are Christian’s who follow the teachings of the Catholic Church in Rome.

The process when fibres are drawn out and twisted in preparation for spinning.

Scutching is a process which raw cotton goes through before it is spun. It removes leaves and seeds from the cotton and makes it soft and light.

A seaport was a town or city which had a harbour for sea-going ships. Liverpool was the main seaport involved in the cotton trade.

A bobbin with two pointed ends used for carrying the weft thread across between the warp thread in weaving.

The process used to stiffen textiles using a gelatinous solution.

Slave Trade
British traders using ports such as Liverpool and Lancaster were prominent in the slave trade. The slave trade was the transportation of people captured in West Africa to work as slaves on plantations in South America, the West Indies and the United States. It was a very cruel trade, which resulted in the suffering and death of many people.

Slivers were long thick lengths of cotton which look like ropes. They are produced during the carding process.

The process for drawing out (cotton) fibres to make into (cotton) threads. Spinning could be done by hand, on a spinning wheel or on a mule-spinning machine.

Name given to the length of cotton fibres in raw cotton.

A tramway or tram-road was used to bring goods into towns by carts. They had wooden, stone or metal wheel tracks.

Typhoid is a disease that killed lots of people in Britain in the 19th century. It was caused by bacteria, which lived in dirty drinking water.

The warp is the thread that runs vertical on a loom. Weft threads pass over and under the warp threads to make cloth.

A person who weaves/makes fabric.

The process for making cloth.

The weft is the yarn or thread, which runs across the loom. The weft threads that are passed over and under the warp threads to make cloth. In a mechanic loom a shuttle carries the weft.

Yard Works
The Yard Works was the name given to a large cotton-manufacturing complex in Preston, which was owned by the Horrockses company.

Yarn is the name given to the long thin lengths of cotton thread used during weaving. It is made during spinning.



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