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Early Modern

TEXTILES

TEXTILE MANUFACTURE

  

Textile workers

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There are a number of entries in the Dartford Churchwardens’ Accounts of the late seventeenth century which record weaving being done in the town as well as the fulling of cloth. Paupers at Dartford Workhouse were taught spinning and weaving. This and other evidence suggests that the textile industry may have played a significant role in the local economy.

In 1790 Workman Brummell and Co. established a large cotton mill in the centre of Dartford on the site now occupied by Glaxo Wellcome. This building was six or seven storeys high and employed a workforce of more than four hundred boys. This enterprise, unusual for a southern town, was rather short-lived. After only five years of cotton production the factory was accidentally destroyed by fire. Matthias Wilkes erected the Phoenix Mills on the site in 1797 at a cost of 80,000; the mills specialised in the grinding of corn and the manufacture of linseed oil.

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