There are many songs about the textile industry and those who worked in it. The items shown here are limited to those which deal explicitly or implicitly with steam power. The source of most of these items are broadsides from the north west of England.

Main Themes and Motifs

- Unemployment caused by the adoption of steam power
- Factory work and unjust employment practices
- Strikes (In particular the '10% and No Surrender' strikes of 1853/54
- Social change resulting from industrialisation


1790-99 509
1810-19 285
1820-29 198
1830-39 199; 373
1840-49 079; 070
1850-59 318; 026; 662; 750
1860-69 012

Historical Background

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3 across Articles in this Category: click a link

Preston Steam-Loom Weavers

bar318: Dates 1852~1852|

Complaint about fines and tolls on wages and rallying call to stand together against them. [318Synopsis] 

Awful boiler explosion at Bingley,...

bar012: Dates 1869~1877|

The destruction of a bobbin mill, 1869

Betty Martin Or The Steam Loom Lass

bar026: Dates 1848~----|

A strike ballad, probably from the Preston Lock Out 1853/54 [026Synopsis] 

Cotton Spinners From Manchester

bar070: Dates 1841~1845|

A ballad sold to raise funds by spinners put out of work by machinery.[070Synopsis]

Dashing Steam-Loom Weaver

bar079: Dates 1840~1852|

A young man sets out to seek his fortune in Bolton. He becomes an overlooker and fights for and wins the hand of a factory maid. [079Synopsis] 

Flashie Steam-loom Weaver

bar128: Dates ----~1835|

Heroine is left pregnant by man who goes off with a steam loom weaver. [128Synopsis] 

Grimshaw's Factory Fire

bar509: Dates 1792~1790|

The burning of Grimshaws Mill, Manchester containing steam powered looms in 1792

Handloom versus Powerloom

bar149: Dates ----~1835|

Social disruption arising from introduction of powerloom.

Joan o' Grinfield

bar198: Dates 1815~1837|

A handloom weaver's lament for hard times.  [198Synopsis] 

Johnny Green's Trip Fro' Owdhum To See...

bar199: Dates 1830~1842|

A weaver describes the railway - notes that it has depressed stage coach trade - but expects new railways to benefit weavers. [199Synopsis] 

Foster's Mill

bar285: Dates 1812~1880|

Destruction of the Mill by the Luddites 1812

T'mill a'll go

bar363: Dates ----~1862|


Weaver and the Factory Maid

bar470: Dates ----~----|

Young man says he will weave by steam for the sake of love. His father thinks factory girls inferior

Scenes of Manchester

bar373b: Dates 1839~1840|

Steam loom weavers working conditions. Textiles moved by railway.

Uncle Ned; or the Preston Strike

bar662: Dates 1853~1854|

The Preston Strikers of 1853-54 demand a 10% wage rise [662Synopsis]

Steam Loom Weaver

bar471: Dates ----~----|

Erotic encounter using steam looms and steam engines as extended metaphors

The Ten Percent Question

bar750: Dates 1853~1854|

Strikers song from Haslingden, Lancashire from the time of the Preston Lockout

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