Linda Briggs has kindly sent these notes about Abraham Robertshaw and Knowlwood Bottom Mill
---------------------------------------------------------------------- In 1840, William Crossley went bankrupt, and Knowlwood Bottom Mill mill, machinery and contents were put up for auction, including the waterwheels, and steam engines. Abraham Robertshaw bought the plant, engines and other fixtures from the assignees.
Abraham had started out as a poor man, but by stealth and bending several rules, he rose to prosperity to become a successful home manufacturer under the old cottage industry system.
Ten years, later Abraham was still the man in charge at the mill.
On 19th August 1852, Abraham married Jane Midgley, and he treated his workers to a dinner to celebrate the event.
The Halifax Guardian [28th August 1852] reported
In consequence of Mr Abraham Robertshaw, manufacturer, Gauxholme, who is upwards of 70 years of age, having the good fortune last week to be joined in the holy bands of matrimony to widow Jane Midgley, landlady of the Sportsmans Inn, Kebcote, he gave orders before setting off to enjoy the honeymoon that a dinner should be provided at the Black Bull Inn, Gauxholme, for all his adult labourers. On Saturday last, about 140 sat down to an excellent dinner at that house
and the Manchester Times [28 August 1852] reported
Treat to Work People
The work people of Abraham Robertshaw esq. of Knowlwood, Todmorden, cotton spinner and manufacturer, near 200 in number, were treated by him to a repast in the true old English style, of good roast beef and plum pudding, on Saturday last, on the occasion of the second marriage of their employer (who is upwards of 70 years of age) on Thursday last. The dinner, which was provided by Mrs Crossley of the Black Bull Inn, Gauxholme, was prepared in a manner that did great credit to the hostess and which gave great satisfaction to her guests, who with cheerful faces and sharpened appetites, had assembled to partake of the good cheer provided.
Each person was allowed a shilling's worth of liquor, in which to drink long life, health and much happiness to their employer and his new bride, which was done with great cordiality. The company separated at an early hour in the evening, all being well pleased with their treat
Abraham flourished for many years at Knowlwood Bottom, but not without falling foul of his workforce on more than one occasion, none more so than towards the end of 1851.
The Halifax Guardian [1st November 1851] reported:
On Wednesday last, the powerloom weavers in the employ of Mr A. Robertshaw of Gauxholme turned out, and walked in procession to several places in this neighbourhood. The cause of a turnout is a reduction of ½d per pound weight. The strike is likely to continue as the weavers have been promised support
The newspapers recorded major events of the strike:
On Friday morning they did not appear at their work. During the day, Mr Robertshaw sent for them several times, and again promised to supply them with brushes, which was done on resuming their work on Saturday morning. They remained at their work from Saturday morning until last Monday night, but on Tuesday morning last they again turned out, no-one being left at the place but the overseer and two of his children. Mr Robertshaw again sent for his weavers and promised to "clip the wings" of his overseer if they would return to their work. On these conditions they resumed their work on Thursday morning.
Abraham died in 1854 and the mill and property were later put up for sale
Page Ref: X356
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