James Akroyd & Sons

James Akroyd, a yeoman manufacturer of Brookhouse, founded the family worsted manufacturing firm, which, at one time, was the largest wool manufacturer in Britain.

In 1785, James acquired Room 80 in the Rustic Level of the Piece Hall to store his market stock.

In 1794, they held 269 pieces valued at £647 6/-

Later, his sons Jonathan, James, and Thomas joined the business and established James Akroyd & Son.

In 1805, they built a spinning mill at Brookhouse.

In 1811, son James left the partnership and started an independent manufacturing concern at Old lane, Halifax.

In 1823, son Thomas left the partnership.

The company became James Akroyd & Son

Jonathan Akroyd and his father continued at Brookhouse Mill until 1818, when Jonathan purchased a mill at Bowling Dyke and moved to Halifax.

In the 1820s, theirs was the first mill to use steam-powered machinery.

In 1822, he introduced power looms and erected a large fire-proof factory for weaving, which opened in 1827, when he also introduced the Jacquard engine for weaving damask and other figured goods.

This was the earliest recorded use of Jacquard looms.

In 1829, James Akroyd was listed as a bombasin manufacturer at Old Lane, and the business was listed at Northgate & Brookhouse, Ovenden.

In 1837, they opened a weaving shed at Haley Hill. This covered 1 acre of land, and was the largest weaving shed in the Yorkshire worsted district.

In June 1839, Jonathan's two sons, Henry and Edward – probably the most famous of the family – joined the partnership, and under their joint management the business was conducted until Jonathan's death in 1847.

The company had mills at Akroydon, Bowling Dyke, Boy Mill, Luddendenfoot [1829-1847], Clay Pits Mills, Halifax, and Copley [from 1847/8].

Their Bowling Dyke Mills, Halifax burnt down on September 1843 and again on 1st July 1847.

It was rebuilt in 1849.

By the mid-19th century, it was the largest such company in Britain, and employed about 2,000 combers, spinners and weavers.

They exhibited many of their products at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The business passed to Edward Akroyd.

In 1871, the business became a limited liability company.

The business was dismantled in the period 1893 to 1918.

On 26th May 1893, a new syndicate at Copley Mills – comprising J. Hoyle, T. Hoyle, M. Fearnley, and B. Firth - decided to retain the name James Akroyd & Sons

In 1932, Thomas Ashworth Hoyle bought the business

See Akroyd's Brass Band, Dr William Alexander, Benjamin Firth, Thomas Hebblethwaite, John Ingham, John Milner, J. W. Pearce, Plug Riots and Sarah Smith

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 11:24 / 15th December 2023 / 6978

Page Ref: MMA605

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