Manchester Cotton Districts Learning Journey
Come with Victorian visitors and follow the Learning Journey steps into Manchester's busy cotton districts.
Click on the steps below to explore.
Manchester Cotton Districts Learning Journey Step 4: Dyeing and Bleaching Districts
* Newton Heath
There have long been cottage industries of dyeing and bleaching in the northern suburbs of Manchester from the days when they were just villages out in the Lancashire countryside and there is a tradition of linen weaving, washing and bleaching in the Moston and Newton Heath areas. This continued after mechanisation and after the discovery of artificial aniline dyes in the 1850s.
'Large supplies of fairly pure, soft water are required for bleaching, mercerising [stiffening], dyeing and printing; hence the banks of the rivers...Medlock, Irk...and Irwell...are well lined with works belonging to that group...' (Wood, L.S. & Wilmore,A. The Romance of the Cotton Industry in England. O.U.P.)
Harpurhey came to prominence when the Andrew family factories there successfully produced a colour-fast red dye known as Turkey Red and then went on to develop a new pale lilac print. Further down Hendham Vale, neighbouring Collyhurst has half a dozen dye works on the banks of the River Tib. However it would appear that Clayton has the largest number of chemical works for making dyes, most of which stand near the Ashton Canal, but they smell terrible and cause 'an awful stink.'
See also: Northern Quarter in the Manchester Cottonopolis section of this web site.