7. Later Industrialisation

 

However, the above  picture was about to change with the onward progress of the industrial revolution. The appearance of power loom weavers in the census heralded this change (there were twenty-three recorded in  the 1851 census). Steam power was slow to take over from water power, often being employed in mills with better access-some mills even used both forms motive power for a time but it was in power loom weaving that steam was to prove its efficacy and superiority

 

This was eventually to sound the death knell for the handloom weaver. All textile processes were soon to be concentrated in the mill, and the mills themselves were mostly to move away from the remote upland valleys and cloughs where they had been sited before. The growth of the railway network and the improved communications that this enabled for the delivery of supplies and the distribution of finished goods further served to  concentrate industry in the valley bottoms.

 

Textile work ceased to be carried out on a widespread basis either in home or farm, and that supreme attraction of The Dual Economy  the unstructured flexibility of interspersing work on the loom and land, as the seasons or income demanded was removed.  By the same token, farming declined as the railways made available a greater variety of food from a much wider area.  In the latter part of the 19th century oats fell out of favour as the staple bread cereal to be replaced by imported American wheat. It became no longer worthwhile to sow crops and the idea of self-sufficiency lost its purpose and viability

 

The onward progress of the industrial revolution had totally swept away the twin props of the Dual Economy by the late 1870s just as the last fringes of moorland were enclosed-Copley Holme on Staups moor provides a classic example of how far this  final enclosure movement went before adverse circumstances finally halted it (see photo)  From that point on the long retreat of cultivated land began, smaller farms disappeared and were amalgamated with larger ones. Farming was virtually  wholly to revert to pasturing animals.  Perhaps this is what this high lying land is best suited for, evidently the view of those distant compilers of the Domesday Book nearly a thousand years before

 

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Blackshaw Parish (for now it was a Civil Parish) caught up in the tide of the Industrial Revolution was witnessing  major changes to its way of life. The Dual Economy was to all intents and purposes dead – a few handloom weavers continued their craft into the 20th century,  also there was still  work  to be had at some upland mills that  had continued to operate e.g Land Mill before 1900,  Jack Bridge  and the  newly built but steam operated Blackshaw Mill 1870-1900 but in spite of these uncharacteristic examples work in textiles was almost exclusively in the valley.

 

Work and home were now separated . The upland regions began  to lose population as people moved to be nearer to the mills  and for those who stayed the daily trudge in clogs down the hillside in the early morning to work  became part of the way of life for many years. A thick pall of black smoke from the mill chimneys  polluted the air, houses lay empty,  fields which only recently been taken into cultivation had been abandoned, and rough grass and moorland crept back.

 

Blackshaw Head and Charlestown went their own separate ways as befitted the difference in their geographical location in the parish. Whereas Charlestown was located at  the heart of the region of steam powered mills with their easy road and rail access in the valley bottom, upland Blackshaw reverted to a predominantly agricultural way of life.