Hadwen's: John Hadwen & Sons Limited


The Company

John Hadwen & Sons Limited, cotton and silk-spinners, was established at Kebroyd Mills around 1800 by the grandfather of John Hadwen. Other members of the family became involved in the business, including William Haigh, John Hadwen and his sons, Thomas, John, Sidney, and George.

They produced yarns for making lace, velvet, plush, sewing silks and fine cloth.

By 1829, the family had introduced steam power from Pollit & Wigzell.

At the Great Exhibition of 1851, they exhibited the processing of raw silk into silk yarn.

The business was taken over by Frederick W. Hadwen, and Alfred Ingham became a partner.

In 1895, they employed around 500 workers and operated 40,000 spindles.

After the death of Thomas Wilson Hadwen, the business was dissolved. His sons – John Wilson and Joshua Lovel – carried on the cotton-spinning business at Kebroyd Middle Mill, and his 3 brothers continued the silk spinning business

The Fraud

On 4th October 1901, a meeting of their creditors reported liabilities of £107,748 17s 7d and assets of £37,263 11/- but in 1902, these were revised to liabilities of £136,000 and assets estimated at £54,962. The company was declared bankrupt and their mills closed. 500 workers were thrown out of work.

On 5th December 1901, application was granted to charge Frederick Walter Hadwen and Alfred Ingham under the Bankruptcy Act [1869] for alleged falsification of a balance sheet, making false entries in the balance sheet and in the rough stock book, obtaining money by false representation and not repaying it, incurring a debt with the Halifax & Huddersfield Union Banking Company, and obtaining credit by false pretences.

They were indicted at Leeds Assizes for false pretences and other offences. The 2 men had separate defence counsels and each pleaded not guilty, and placed the wrongdoing on the other party. The Jury found both men guilty.

They were both convicted but the convictions were quashed by the Court for the Consideration of Crown Cases, on the grounds that, at the original trial at the assizes, the court had improperly refused to allow counsel for one defendant to cross-examine the other defendant, who had elected to give evidence on his own behalf


Almost all the inhabitants of Mill Bank and Triangle were put out of work.

Emily Kershaw committed suicide after worrying about losing her job at Hadwen's

See Mill Bank Working Men's Club

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 11:09 / 28th May 2021 / 6527

Page Ref: MMH2261

search tips advanced search
site search by freefind