Poynton is situated almost half way between Macclesfield and Stockport. In the eighteenth century the silk industry became mechanised and well established in the Macclesfield area while cotton manufacture, as well as some silk, came to flourish at Stockport. In the smaller towns such as Bollington and Marple various branches of the cotton manufacture became firmly established by mid-nineteenth century. At Hazel Grove both silk and cotton manufacture was established, first in small workshops, then in factories.1 The Industrial Revolution led to an enormous increase of population between 1790 and 1860 in these towns and in the commercial centre for textiles, Manchester, as well as a great improvement in transport facilities. The people of Poynton and Worth had long added various craft skills to their main occupation in agriculture and for many centuries clothing had been made in the home. The early inventories which survive at Cheshire Record Ofiice 2 show evidence of textile activities, e.g. in the house of James Pickford in Poynton in 1676 are listed spinning wheels worth 21s and linen yarn 15s, and also in John Pickford's house in 1731 a wheel worth 5s. Wives and daughters frequently did the work and men supplemented a meagre income as soon as domestic handloom weaving became possible by taking work home, often on foot, from factories in Macclesfield, Hazel Grove and Stockport, while others went to work in the nearer cotton and silk mills and calico printing works such as the short- lived works at Deanwater near Wilmslow which only flourished in the 1830s and 40s for 12 years.
Some of this "out work" was part-time and seasonal, but as Poynton's population increased with a large influx of miners and there was a surplus of female labour, efforts were made to utilise their nimble fingers in textile work. Later in the nineteenth century after some abortive efforts the manufacture of silk, silk garments, shirts and other cotton goods came to be established in Poynton. The table above based on occupations given in the five censuses 1841-1881 shows the increase in numbers of people employed and the percentages of the total population in textiles in Poynton and Worth. It was not usual for miners' wives to work following marriage: they certainly had a full-time job looking after their menfolk The independent textile craftworkers, such as tailors and dressmakers included in the table, are more fully described later; these had ancient origins and continued to be as essential to the larger mining community as to the agricultural. It seems that the sons in the family mostly went in for work connected with the collieries rather than textiles, partly because it was better paid, partly because it was near home. Of the total numbers employed in textiles listed 1841-81, 88% were women or girls. In neighbouring Norbury with its own silk and cotton mills in 1851 126 people (15% of the total population) were employed in textiles compared to 42 in Poynton (2%).
Handloom weavers, cotton
The various types of textile outworkers are now described with some examples of the people involved and where they worked. The handloom weavers of cotton in Poynton were probably associated with mills in Hazel Grove and Stockport. Like their fellows in Wilmslow, they were most numerous in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the parish registers there are mentioned between 1723 and 1802, two checkweavers, one linen weaver, and 21 weavers, some in cotton, some in silk. From the 1770s onwards, there were three cotton manufacturers, William Clayton and John Barrett in Worth (perhaps at Midway) and James Barrett who started in Poynton and then moved to Bosden (now part of Hazel Grove). There were also 14 spinners of cotton in Poynton 1783-1812 and two in Worth. It seems likely some of these travelled to Bosden and Norbury where there were small cotton factories, but there were also cotton workshops in Poynton for we read in the diary of Peter Pownall,2 farmer of Bramhall for 4 November 1785 "Mr. Pickford's cotton shop in Poynton was broke" (i.e. broken into or damaged). In the 1793 survey cotton shops are listed at the Village, Doghill Green and Dalehousefold where families worked at handloom weaving, possibly also spinning. The outworkers would collect materials from the mills in Hazel Grove and complete the weaving on their handlooms which had to be placed in a well lit part of a house or workshop, then take back every week their finished product. A collier, John Hallworth, of Norbury in his will of 1827 refers to his old house with loomshop, parlour and all apartments.3
By the 1820s, handloom weavers' wages, which about 1800 had been from 1s 6d for a boy per week up to 9s 6d for a skilled man, were dropping rapidly as their efforts began to be superseded by the steam-operated machine looms. By the time of the first detailed census in 1841, there was only one cotton weaver mentioned, Adam Pearson aged 65, at the cottages on the left in Midway before crossing Poynton Brook where handlooms may have been installed. The younger weavers in some cases transferred to weaving silk which continued to within the time of living memory in our district.
Handloom weavers, silk
Silk manufacture was well established in Macclesfield by the mid eighteenth century. There is a great revival of interest in its proud story of high craftsmanship and the Friends of Macclesfield Silk Heritage are currently creating a museum and centre for its study in the former Roe Street Sunday School where examples of its products and machinery will be seen, including silk handlooms and Jacquard looms. At first much more of the weaving was done by outworkers but by mid nineteenth century only work of the coarser kind was put out to the villages, the manufacturers preferring to keep the manufacture of the finer goods close under their eye as Reach says in his 1849 account.4
The wages of these weavers within the mill were higher than those of domestic workers. It is not possible to tell how many of the weavers mentioned in the parish registers in Poynton and Worth worked in silk, but probably an increasing proportion did, so that by 1851 three men and seven women worked in silk, a total of ten, reducing to seven in 1861, eight in 1871 and none in 1881. In Norbury there were then 69 handloom weavers and 20 others working in silk in 1851. Some of this silk handloom weaving is known to have been carried on in the more isolated cottages, e.g. members of the Adshead family followed their father, John Adshead, an experienced handloom weaver, who by 1851 had come from Hazel Grove to set up handlooms in the former buildings of Poynton Mill, and others worked nearby at Mill Hill and Dog Hill Green, no doubt in association with silk manufacturers in Hazel Grove. The owners of Brook now Tanglewood Cottage near to the site of the former corn mill in recent reconstruction in the 1950s found the relics of old handlooms in the upstairs rooms. Mothers passed on their skills to daughters and their work added to the income of men engaged in colliery work or agriculture.
The following account of her life as a silk handloom weaver in neighbouring Hazel Grove was given to Hazel Grove Historical Society by Mrs. F. Daniels in 1944. "At the age of ten she started to work winding 'pins' on the spinning wheel for her father to use in the shuttles on his loom. Practically all the houses in those days had weaving sheds with earth floors containing up to four looms. The silk thread for weaving was brought from Macclesfield by a carrier who placed orders and took the 'cuts' of 120 yds. back when woven. The 'cuts' would take about three weeks to weave and there was no money until it was done. She started weaving at the age of 13 and later earned up to 18s a week, her father making about 25s. The hours were 6 a.m. to 8 p.m, and working was often done by candle light. She explained that in the lower part of the village it was mainly straight weaving of black and white "cuts" for linings but that in the Brewers Green area silk handkerchiefs of many patterns and colours were woven - these looms having as many as eight pedals for the various colours." The picture shows silk weavers at work in a garret in Macclesfield using equipment similar to that used in domestic workshops locally.
There are also at least two examples of communal silk weaving workshops being organised in Poynton before the silk factory was established in 1919. In the 1860 Directory Thomas and William Hilton are listed as silk manufacturers at Worth. They seem to have had associated with their Buxton Road mill in Macclesfield a Poynton workshop which was assessed for the highway rate5 in 1862 at an annual value of 8s - it was probably therefore one of the smaller cottages in Midway converted for the purpose and employed some of the local girls. In 1861 Hamlet Hadfield is listed in the census as a silk agent lodging in Midway and later in the Manchester directories as a silk and bandanna manufacturer (bandannas were white or yellow spotted handkerchiefs) at 1 High Street from 1863-1868/9. Did he perhaps also employ local girls for his Manchester based business? In 1874 he was listed among the gentry as residing at the Poplars in Poynton.
While no surviving examples of weaving sheds for silk are certainly known in Poynton, in neighbouring Woodford there are sheds attached at either end of Jennison's cottages, a group built about 1841 off Old Hall Lane about 350 yards from Woodford Church. As the photograph shows there is a large shed c 33 feet x 14 feet (covered now partly with ivy in the foreground) at either end capable of housing three looms and there still remains a charming cobbled yard, water pump from a well and butts to collect rain water and the eastern shed, now part of the house has been restored without losing character. Present residents remember silk being woven there down to the 1890s by members of the Shatwell family. It is said it took about a fortnight to weave a 200 yard piece which was taken to Macclesfield on foot and paid for at the rate of £2 - £2 10s by a silk manufacturer. In February 18886 following an outbreak of smallpox in Woodford silk and harness in a shed belonging to Humphrey Shatwell had to be destroyed as being infected, for which he received £46 in compensation along with clothing and bedding destroyed. Macclesfield still has many garret handloom weavers' workshops and a fine group have recently been restored in Paradise Street. The Macclesfield Silk Heritage Museum hopes to include handloom weaving at the former mill of Cartwright and Sheldon in Macclesfield.
Another textile outwork activity which was carried on in special workshops in Poynton as in many other villages around Manchester was fustian cutting. Fustian was a long lasting fabric similar to velveteen and corduroy with a large amount of weft used either plain or in loops which could be cut so as to form a pile. This cutting was organised by masters mainly in Manchester who sent out the rolls of cloth, probably by train to Poynton station. The labour they could find here was much cheaper than in central Manchester, mostly young girls. The cutting had to be carried out in a well lit room on benches of many yards long on which the cloth could be stretched by means of rollers on either end. A thin spiked knife 18 inches long was inserted into the loops, called a race, and the threads cut with a sweeping movement. Considerable dexterity and accuracy was needed. There could be from 600 to 1200 races depending on fineness in a two yard length of 22-29 inches wide, which would take about an hour to cut. For this in the early 1850s 21/2d might be paid. Later payment by the piece was introduced and cutters might earn from 8s to 15s per week for ten hours work per day with two hours off for meals.
In the period from the late 1850s into the 1870s at least four such workshops were set up in Poynton. By 1855 the first was established by Henry Horrabin, an experienced master fustian cutter linked with Manchester merchants. By 1861 he was employing 26 girls at Midway almost certainly in the former Methodist meeting room which was vacated in 1851 when a new chapel was opened. This building, the tallest in the row on the east or Worth side of London Road South was until recently occupied by Scientific Furnishings. Its large rooms on the first floor could readily have held suitable tables, and it was later used as a hat trimming workshop for Christys of Stockport. By 1864 Mrs Horrabin only is listed in the Directory, a widow?, and by 1871 there is no mention of the Horrabins, but there was a fustian cutter named Greenhalgh mentioned in 1864 and one called M A Greenwood in 1871 and a John Greenwood in 1874 who might have employed girls in the same workshop or elsewhere At another smaller workshop (rated for highway rates at £10 compared to Horrabin's £13) at Lostock Terrace sons and daughters of the Barker family worked for their father James from the early 1860s along with other girls, six in all. There was still a James Barker there in 1881 as a master fustian cutter, aged 31, the son of the original James. James had at one time lived in Manchester and no doubt made his business connections there He was still at work in 1888.
Lord Vernon evidently encouraged this form of work for the daughters of his employees on the estate and in the collieries for in 1861 he allowed one, possibly two, of the cottages in Long Row to be adapted for fustian cutting. Henry Hall (42 in 1861) born in Manchester and already a master fustian cutter lived at No 25 at the east end of the row. He employed his daughters Ann, 19 and Eliza, 9, as well as his wife, and probably others, for example Mary Robinson at No 6, Ann Bann at No 4 and Sarah Unwin at No 20. This enterprise had died out by 1871. It is said also that there was some fustian cutting for a time in the centre (double) cottage in the Worth Clough group in what was at one time the store above the grocer's shop there. The censuses of 1861 and 1871 show that 69 girls (only four appearing in both censuses) were engaged in this work, mostly between the ages of 11 and 25. They seem to have doing this work before getting married. Howard Hodson in his book7 describes similar work in the larger workshops set up in Wilmslow. Whether the work in Poynton was full time or not and how long it continued after 1881 when ten people were employed is not at present known. However, the skills of Poynton girls and women were soon utilised in two enterprises which lasted much longer.
Buck's Shirt Factory
As part of the movement promoted locally especially by Lord Vernon to provide more textile work Mr. Edward Robinson Buck, already a shirt manufacturer in Manchester, leased from Lord Vernon about 1885 a building dated 1874, previous use unknown. This was at Woodside near to the main railway connection with the collieries and east of the coal yard on London Road North. It is now occupied mainly by Baxter, Woodhouse, Taylor and Go. and has been extensively altered over the years. At first less than 30 people were employed in making up sports shirts, the girl machinists using manually operated treadle sewing machines and paying for their own sewing cotton. They were paid on piece work. After a few years other items of sports wear such as shorts, blazers and trousers were made. In 1895 Lord Vernon paid over £351 for an extension to the factory and supplied water as well as gas for lighting at a special cheap rate. In 1896 E R Buck is listed as a Poynton resident at Oakfield at Midway but later lived elsewhere. The firm pioneered the making of scout and guide uniforms for the movement started in 1908 and 1910 and this led them to provide hospital and tropical uniforms and underwear during the First World War 1914-18. Before this war girls started at 14 and were paid 5s a week for the first four weeks, and after that were on piece work. Until the early 1920s, when the firm employed about 130, each girl made up a whole garment but later small groups of four or six working in a production line carried out the separate stages. The firm had become E.R. Buck and Sons by 1910 and in 1923 is listed as a limited company, still having offices and a wholesale department at Hilton Street. In the 1920s the amounts paid for piece work were small - 41/2d for a blazer, 5d for shorts, 7d to 1s 2d for trousers and 1s per dozen for football shorts. A gas engine was installed in the 1920s and conveyer belts used in the production line. In the sale of the Vernon Estate in 19208 the factory, then on a lease until 1931, is described thus and with its land occupied 1/5 acre "A brick and tiled Building: contains two Floors, providing the following accommodation:- on the Ground Floor warehouse about 36' by 31', Cutting Room about 31' by 15'6" and Stock Room. On the First Floor, Machine Room Finishing Room and Pressing Room". The factory was bought by Bucks at the sale.
Many different types of powered machinery had been introduced by this time for sewing of various types, button holing, making eyelets and pressing. About 200 were then employed, their hours from 8 am to 6 pm, with a 4 pm finish in winter. There was sometimes also evening work. The trade name BUKTA had now become well known together with the flying buck which was used as its motif. A report in 1934 mentions a further possible extension and notes that some of the firm's fine equipment was used in an attempt to climb Mount Everest. In 1943 the factory in Poynton was closed and the work removed to a large modern factory at Brinksway in Stockport where members of the same family ran it till 1982 when a consortium headed by Sir Hugh Fraser took it over. The company for long arranged an annual outing for its workers to a famous resort. A photograph survives showing one such trip about to set off from Poynton Place in the 191Os. Many employees stayed for their full working lives with the firm.
Booth's Silk Factory
Although the silk industry was having great difficulty, by mid and late nineteenth and early twentieth century, because of lack of protection from fierce foreign competition especially Japanese, a successful silk business was founded in Poynton by William Booth in 1919. He took over the site near the station formerly occupied by Clayton's sawmills and builder's yard and built a factory on two storeys where spinning and throwing of silk took place on the upper floor with weaving on the ground floor using Jacquard looms power operated. In 1921 the whole mill had a rateable value of £72, considerably more than the shirt factory.9 Finishing was done in Macclesfield and the items returned to the mill for making up. 24 of the original looms made by Wm. Smith and Bros. Ltd. of Heywood are still in situ. The premises were extended in 1930 and used during the Second World War, after requisitioning by the government in 1943, for the manufacture of RAF flying suits by Baxter, Woodhouse and Taylor, but then in 1947 reverted to silk manufacture by William Frost and Sons until 1969 when Cartwright and Sheldon, silk manufacturers of Macclesfield, took them over and made silk and silk mixtures for ties. In 1982 this firm went into liquidation, but Listers of Bradford have purchased their premises and the looms are still partly at work.
Mrs Booth trading under the name of Owlscot Go. (also the name of their house at Hope Green) ran a business making up with the aid of 12 sewing machines silk garments, mainly dresses, blouses and tennis dresses for trade and to order. She took garments out for fitting and often travelled by car to West Yorkshire, Buxton, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, especially with wedding outfits. Information from a former employee shows that she started in 1921 at the age of 14 on a wage of 10s rising to 15s a week in the dressmaking section on machining, later becoming a cutter and fitter on £3. The hours for a five day week were 8 am - 6 pm (8 pm in the summer), with one hour off for lunch. Piece work payments were made of is 9d for a plain dress, 3s 6d for a more involved one.
Unfortunately little detail of Booth's main manufacture has been found nor of the number and nature of his work force.
Textile factory workers
Besides the fortunate textile workers who were employed in mills within Poynton many others travelled to their work on foot, by the two railways, by canal and in rather primitive horse drawn and later motor omnibuses to Hazel Grove, Stockport, Marple, Bollington and Macclesfield. In fact it was the improvements in transport from the opening of the Macclesfield Canal in 1831 (see later), the Stockport-Macclesfield railway in 1845, the Higher Poynton line to Marple and Bollington in 1869 and the tram services from Hazel Grove to Stockport in the 1890s with road connections from Poynton, which made it much easier for factory workers to be more mobile and for others to live in Poynton and commute daily. Most of the textile factory workers were in the cotton trade, some in silk, one in calico printing in the five censuses. In 1841 there was only one factory worker in silk, by 1851 there were nine, in 1861 48 - seven in silk and one in calico printing, the rest in cotton - in 1871 57, and in 1881 68, the latter representing 3.1% of the population, and all being employed in cotton. Only a very small number of these were male. They included a wide variety of job descriptions in cotton: for example bobbin and cop reelers, carders, cotton spinners, cotton weavers (powerloom), heald knitters, and throstle spinners. Most of these mill workers were girls from 12 to 25 who ceased on marriage, though two married women were employed, one a widow. The workers in silk were not all differentiated but included silkwinders, silk spinners, silk mill piecers and reeler silkers. All except two widows were unmarried. No doubt this pattern of employment continued up till the 1920s when the volume of the textile trade began to decline.
Independent craftsmen in textiles
In a rural village community as well as in the towns from the earliest times most people made some of their own clothes and for the rest depended on local craftsmen such as tailors and dressmakers. Though only about 1% of the total population in the four censuses these were important people in the village as is shown by the following extracts from an advertisement for the sale of the household goods of John Fletcher, a well established tailor aged 57 in 1851 and employing two men. Because of the erection of the new church in 1858 he had to vacate his house and move across the road to Poynton Place.
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION
"Part of his valuable household furniture and comprising a very handsome eight day mahogany clock by Dunville, excellent mahogany dining table with leaves, set of mahogany chairs with loose seats, large mahogany corner cupboard, barometer, mahogany hatstand, writing desk, mahogany butlers tray, large engraving of Poynton cattle framed and glazed, mahogany four post bedsteads, massive carved oak cupboard, painted wardrobe .... tailor's shopboard with drawers complete (with other bedding, earthenware, cutlery and utensils). Mr. Fletcher wishes to inform his numerous friends of his removal to the premises opposite Poynton Chapel where he will be glad to receive all orders he may be favoured with". It seems, John was not as prosperous as he grew older and had to sell some of his furniture and move to a new smaller house.
There were several tailors mentioned in the parish registers in Poynton and Worth, son often succeeding father in the same trade, the Wyld and Heawood family being prominent. Thomas Fletcher is mentioned 1829-39 and in 1824/5 for the first time John Fletcher already mentioned who flourished up to the 1860s after which in semi-retirement, perhaps as his sight began to fail, he turned to beerhouse keeping to supplement his income. His brother Thomas for a while appears then to have taken over his business, and in the 1870s added tailoring to the upholstery business which he had carried on with the aid of his son Frederick 1841-1871. By 1851 another master tailor had taken lodgings in Poynton, David Jones (23). By 1871 he had married, was living in London Road, and employed his son Thomas (17) who was carrying on the business alone in 1906. After this it became more difficult to carry on such a craft for ready made clothes and tailoring departments in stores were becoming common. Poynton Co-op offered such a made-to-measure service by the 1920s. A reconstructed tailor's workshop used 1873-1920 may be seen at the Staffordshire County Museum, Shugborough, which shows the sewing machines, irons heated on a huge tailor's stove, shears, tailor's donkey and other special tools, thread and equipment - all explained in a descriptive leaflet. Each suit at this time took about 32 hours work to make - most people could only afford one and great care had to be taken to make it a good fit.
Dressmakers and milliners
Dressmakers were more numerous than the tailors by the nineteenth century: they increased as the population grew. At first the work seems to have been done mostly at home by young daughters and younger married women many of them appearing in only one of the census returns. They were scattered in the various parts of the community and some of them were milliners as well. By 1861 there were 12 dressmakers and one seamstress of 71 years, some living in the miners' industrial housing eg at Dalehousefold and Long Row, and one in the almshouses. Two were teenagers learning the trade as apprentices, three in their twenties, six were in their thirties, of whom three were married, and three in their forties. By 1871 there were four women in their forties, some of whom like Jane Worsencroft continued right up to the 1890s. Unfortunately the directories do not always list dressmakers and milliners. Different sorts of textile work was sometimes found in the same family - for example Harriett Banns dressmaker (23) lived at Long Row with two sisters who were fustian cutters.
Closely akin to dressmaking was millinery which appears later in Poynton as hats were less vital than clothes and regarded as finery which could only be afforded when wages increased after mid century. In 1 85 1 two sisters, Julia and Martha Mottershead combined millinery with dressmaking in Park Lane. In 1861 there were three milliners, two living in Poynton Village and by 1871 four. In directories after this date Mary Fitzgerald is listed from 1910-1928 at 27 Park Lane. By 1928 Poynton could afford the services of a costumier, Madame Claire, symbol of a much richer commuting community; also by the 1920s ready made hats and dresses were available and while much was still done at home there were fewer regular craftswomen needed.
Button mould turners
One button mould thrower or turner is mentioned in Poynton in a deed of 1730. In the parish registers 1723-1812 there were mentioned 13 in Bosden and Norbury and one in Poynton. These turned the wooden discs on which were sewn silk or other fabrics to form finished buttons to be used in garment manufacture by tailors and dressmakers. The craft seems to have died out by mid nineteenth century.
Hatting also was well established in Hazel Grove as well as in Stockport and Denton by mid nineteenth century. By 1871 there were signs of Poynton girls being employed: a brother and sister are described as hat trimmer and hat blocker, another girl of 26 was a hat trimmer and a boy of 11 a hatter, exact job unspecified. The Vernon Park Museum in Stockport has recreated an exhibition of many of the processes and products of a long established Stockport hat blocking firm, Waiter Plant and it is well worth a visit to understand the whole process of hat making using fur and wool through forming over a conical hood, to planking, blocking, dyeing and finishing.
One firm which originated in London in 1773 and took over an existing factory in Stockport in 1826 was Christys. There is not room here for their whole history - see Sadler's book10 and their records which are preserved in Stockport Library.11 In the 1870s because of labour shortages in Stockport, Christys advertised widely for hat trimmers and received many applications from Poynton. They also had family connections with Poynton. Thomas Ashworth, Lord Vernon's agent 1831-1857 married Anne Christy in 1836 but she died in childbirth in 1838; his brother-in-law, Samuel Christy, hat manufacturer (later Christy- Miller) lived at Poynton Hall in 1842 on his marriage until about 1850 when he had to remove to London to carry out his parliamentary duties as MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme. Another member of the Christy family, Richard, lived at the Towers (the Hall was converted into cottages and had been pulled down by then). There was thus a strong connection with the Vernons and Poynton coal was used always at Christys' factories in Stockport at Hillgate until the pits closed. Both Lord Vernon and Richard were concerned to help find employment for Poynton girls.
By 1873 the former fustian cutting workshop already described in Midway had been rented from Lord Vernon and adapted for hat trimming and here probably in the rooms on the first floor up to 30 girls and women added lining and trimming to various types of headgear including military styles, fez and topi, the majority of work being done by hand. A descendant of the Christy family, John Christy Miller, in a letter preserved at Stockport, notes that a horse and cart left Hillgate every morning with hats for trimming at Poynton, mostly fez topi for India for the "unskilled?' country women to trim. In Fact we know that amongst the early recruits in July 1873, were 20 older girls from Lord Vernon's Girls School at Poynton Green as the extract from the School Log Book12 shows. It is not clear whether their work was full time. There was evidently some part-time work for those half-time in education and half-time at work was allowed under the Acts for on 8 October that year, two girls who were half- timers at the hat shop were reprimanded for being late at school, having arrived at 9.30 a.m. They said they had been taking work home to the hat shop. Not all the girls liked the work; two returned to school in November. The shop was evidently successful; 50 were employed in 1881, the Hatters Gazette in 1892 refers to it as a great boon to the young women of the village.
As part of the drive to create more textile employment in Poynton Mr. Harry Sutton of the batting firm of Sutton and Torkington of Stockport is reported in the Stockport Advertiser for 189213 as having purchased land and started building a mill "in a field near the L and NW Station" in Poynton. Unfortunately severe slumps were hitting the trade at this time: as the Stockport Advertiser says "A new hat is not a necessity ... this trade is the first to feel any depression". It appears that the Poynton hat factory was never completed.
Work continued on the same scale with a temporary closure during the First World War into the 1920s at the Midway workshop. In the sale of the Vernon Estate in 19208 the premises are described as having front room, middle room and back room level with the backyard, with kitchen, scullery etc on the ground floor, and three rooms on the first floor, the whole premises occupying 484 sq. yards. In the 1921 valuation list the rateable value was £24 (half that of the shirt factory). By 1925 work stopped at the Midway premises when the greatly expanded Stockport factory was able to cope with most of the finishing. However, a small amount of work was still brought to Poynton and distributed from Midway to a few workers at home. Christys still rented the premises in 1937 when the Toc H took it over.
According to interviews with women who once worked there, the overseer had an office on the ground floor. There were in the 1920s 24 senior trimmers and 4-6 juniors doing odd jobs and being trained no doubt partly in the main factory. They were paid by the piece. Wages were poor, there was some trouble with the Female Branch of the Felt Hat Trimmers Association after its formation in 1890, and great difficulty after the War in recruitment. No doubt however, the Poynton workers joined in the massive annual outings which Christys organised.
1. Trowsdale, D.A. The history of Hazel Grove. The Author, 1976.
2, Wills and inventories of James Pickford, John Pickford and John Hallworth W5 1680, 1731 and 1832 CRO.
3. Pownall, Peter, Ms Diary. Original in Reading University Library. Copy on microfilm at Stockport Library.
4. Reach, A.8. Manchester and the textile districts in 1849. Helmshore Local History Society, 1872.
5. Assessments for highway rate in Worth. PC/20/3 CRO.
6. Macclesfield Rural Sanitary Authority Records. LRM 2472/1/2 CRO.
7. Hodson, Howard. The Story of Wilmslow. J. Andrew, 1971.
8. Catalogue of Sale of Vernon Estate. 1920. Copy in Poynton Library.
9. Valuation list, Poynton and Worth. LRM 2378/13/2 CRO,
10. Sadler, Arthur. One hundred and seventy five years of the house of Christy. Christys, 1948.
11. Records of Christys in Stockport Reference Library.
12. Vernon School Log books. SL 111/2 CRO.
13. Stockport Advertiser 21 October 1892 and Aug & Sep 1892.
This text taken from: Poynton A Coalmining Village; social history, transport and industry 1700 - 1939, by W.H.Shercliff, D.A.Kitching and J.M.Ryan, published by W.H.Shercliff, 1983. ISBN 0 9508761 0 0
Chapter 2. Poynton in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: The Older Established Occupations
Chapter 4. Poynton Collieries: the Early years
Last updated 25.2.00