Monday, March 1, 2010

The Handweaver And The Factory Maid


The Voice of Sylvia Barnes with Scotch Measure

This is a traditional song dealing with the difficult transition from hand weaving to power weaving in Scotland. The coming of steam looms were one of the first changes that marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the many changes that came with it. The changes greatly altered the lives of the working classes, not always for the better. Mostly these power looms were used to weave cotton. I am a descendant of Agnes Liddell Maxwell, daughter of Archibald Maxwell and Christina Rae who was born on 16 August 1822 in Gorbals, Glasgow.She was a Cotton Power Loom weaver. She died on 17 January 1868 in 86 King Street, Rutherglen. Many of the photos and paintings in this video are of Gorbals, Govan, Pollockshaws and other places my ancestors lived in the Glasgow area.

This is a folk song dealing with the difficult transition from hand weaving to power weaving in Scotland. The coming of steam looms were one of the first changes that marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the many changes that came with it. The changes greatly altered the lives of the working classes, not always for the better. Mostly these power looms were used to weave cotton. This branch of the family are the descendants of Agnes Liddell Maxwell, daughter of Archibald Maxwell and Christina Rae who was born on 16 August 1822 in Gorbals, Glasgow.She was a Cotton Power Loom weaver. She died on 17 January 1868 in 86 King Street, Rutherglen. Many of the photos and paintings in this video are of Gorbals, Govan, Pollockshaws and other places my ancestors lived in the Glasgow area.
The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw a series of violent disturbances in Britain, as workers strived to defend their pay and conditions in the face of industrialization, and people of all classes campaigned for a more democratic society.

Textiles were a major industry in Scotland. in 1787 there were 19 cotton-mills within 25 miles from Glasgow, with cotton weaving being centred in Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. A weavers' village had been founded in Calton in the east end of Glasgow in 1705, and by the late eighteenth century the area had become famous for its weavers' workshops.

Economic circumstances were against the weavers as new industrial processes threatened their traditional craft-based work practices, and the American War of Independence had reduced the supply of cotton from the plantations of the American South. These factors, together with the ever-present drive by their employers to reduce costs, led to a strike by Glaswegian weavers in 1787.


References:
http://www.origins.net/ScotsLife/weaving.html
http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~media/kcurrie.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calton_weavers
http://www.myspace.com/sylviabarnes

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