Northampton and the First Cotton Spinning Mill 1742

Once John Kay had invented the flying shuttle the possibility for mass production of broadloom cloth became a reality.

    • The curb on production was producing enough yarn for the weavers.
    • The opportunity to invent a machine that would speed up the process of spinning yarn encouraged the invention of new machines
    • In 1738, Lewis Paul and John Wyatt, patented a roller spinning machine, which used rollers to draw out a thread of  more even thickness before spinning it.
    • In 1741 they used their machines in a donkey driven mill in Birmingham.
    • Unfortunately these two chaps became bankrupt and five of their machines were bought by a fellow named Cave who, in 1742, placed them in a mill in Northampton
    • This became the first ever cotton spinning mill in Britain and it was powered by water, not a donkey in sight.

The Northampton Spinning Mill

The Marvel Mill in Northampton on the River Nen, replaced an old corn mill. In itself an insignificant building but the event, making a manufacturing process to produce cotton was an immense moment in industrial history.

First Cotton Mill Northampton
The Spinning Mill at Northampton

By 1742 therefore, the days of the cottage worker, at home, spinning were numbered. The effect of the decline in this cottage industry was huge. The cottage industry of cotton spinning had long supplemented the income of agricultural workers and times were going to get very difficult indeed for this group of workers in the next fifty years.