Manchester-moments and musings on the Lancashire cotton mills and the cotton famine. 1862.

These red bricks, these tall chimneys,

Coloured by their blood, shaped by the hands of their children

Carried on their rugged shoulders and working class calves.

We don’t look up enough, we don’t marvel at what they gave us.

These edifices echo with their pain and suffering

Voices of our forefathers, sinewed souls of our ancestors

They built their empires in cotton and coal so that we could enjoy

The fruits of their labours and be forever known as the workshop of the world.

 

Salford, Stalybridge, Manchester, Blackburn, Wigan-working that weft

Darwen, Accrington, Chorley, Preston, winding that bobbin up.

And the roll call falters, unemployment, hunger, desperation, and impoverishment

They stood together arm in arm, hand in hand, through protest and starvation,

To demonstrate their love and pride for another brother in another place.

We should stand tall for we stand on the shoulders of giants

They gave us humility, compassion, work ethic and pride.

True northern spirit and true northern soul.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Featured image from the public domain labelled for reuse. Horrockses Cotton Mill Preston.

Other images are my own.

This journey into the cotton famine was a soulful journey and I am very proud of the stance taken by the Lancashire millworkers and the sacrifices they made. We were encouraged to look at soul for poetics at d’Verse. 

I have edited this and made some changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A year ago…dark satanic mills

800px-mcconnel_26_company_mills2c_about_1820

A year ago we were on our way… we had driven to Auckland, boarded the plane and we were probably somewhere around Australia now…mischief is sat on her cushion and she is thinking…mmm a year ago we were at the cattery…

School had finished and it was CHRISTMAS…. we still have a week to go this year…no wonder we are all grumpy.

A whole year ago…it felt so good, we were so excited, it was the holiday of a lifetime, funny that a trip “home” could be classed as a holiday of a lifetime but it was. The girls were 16, old enough to appreciate it and we had been gone for 10 long years. We took them back and helped them to reconnect, we took them to visit people and places that were part of their history and heritage. We wanted them to know the buildings and the customs and the language and the meaning of what it is to be English.

We love all that they have had and experienced here in Whangarei. We love all that they have learned and the friends they have made but we also wanted them to know their roots, they stand on the shoulders of giants and they need to know that part of the story too.

We come from the mill and mining towns of Lancashire, our forefathers were immigrants who came to build canals and railways and they gave blood sweat and tears to make Britain great in the Industrial revolution. They were working folk, the wives and women were brought up to be strong and steadfast. They men eked out an existence in the Pit or the factory and they found their strength and support in the Church, the Union or the Alehouse in no particular order. They lived loved and died amongst the bricks and the dirt, the smog and the soot, the dark dismal days of winter and the bracing breezes of brief summer days.

I wanted them to see the bricks, and feel the warmth of the hearts and souls who walked before them-whose existence they owe their own story and fortunes to. A year ago still feels like yesterday.

 

Image: Ancoats, Manchester. McConnel & Company’s mills, about 1820. From an old water-colour drawing of the period. Scanned from A Century of fine Cotton Spinning, 1790-1913. McConnel & Co. Ltd. Frontispiece. Scanned by Mr Stephen.