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John Shaw and Sons, Brookroyd Mills, Stainland, Woollen Manufacturers, Records.

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Reference SHA
Covering dates 1830-1914
Held by West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale
Extent 0.08 m³
Source of acquisition This important collection of textile records of John Shaw and Sons of Brookroyd Mills, Stainland, was purchased with the help of a grant from the MGC/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
Creators John Shaw and Sons, woollen manufacturers of Brookroyd Mills, Stainland
Bibliography See "The Shaws of Stainland" by R M Shaw, Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, 1965, pp 45-69

Administrative history:
John Shaw (1749-1820) started in business at Brook Mill, Lower Holywell Green, Stainland, in the 1770s. This was a small mill with its own water-wheel and dam fed by the Holywell Brook. In 1781 John Shaw obtained a room in the Halifax Piece Hall (No 18 in the Rustic Storey) and in 1789 he obtained a second room (No 34 in the Collonade). In 1786, John Shaw moved from Dean House to Lower Fold, Upper Holywell Green, maintaining weaving shops at both locations. He bought Lower Fold in 1794, one of the fields attached being Brook Royd where he soon built his first small mill. His two sons, Joseph and George, soon became actively involved in the business, known as John Shaw and Sons from 1794. In 1812, Brookroyd Mill came under attack from a group of Lancashire Luddites. Joseph Shaw cleverly persuaded them to break the water wheel rather than the individual machines and the mill was up and running again in 3 days. In 1835, the firm purchased Rawbank or Rawroyds Mill, and it was agreed that George Shaw and his sons would run that mill and Joseph Shaw would still trade under the name of John Shaw and Sons.
Samuel Shaw, the second son of Joseph, became the great driving force in the expansion of the business from the 1840s to his death in 1887, when John Shaw and Sons employed a workforce of 1200 people and traded in everything from the raw wool to dyed and finished serges. He greatly extended the mills, the first of the large mills being built in 1851. From 1878-1880, Samuel's son, John Edward Shaw, was the firm's representative in Shanghai, and his work there gave a tremendous impetus to the newly established trade with China in long ells, camlets and lastings. On Samuel's death he took over the full management of the business until liquidation in 1930. In nearly 170 years of trading there was only one strike - of women narrow-loom weavers in 1890.

This collection reflects manufacturing processes in great detail as well as the growth of the firm's export of textiles in the 19th century, and the numerous textile samples in the collection include superb wool and cotton samples of many of Shaw's competitors in China as well as samples for the domestic market.

Day book.  SHA/1  Oct 1830-Dec 1832

Containing over 500 entries recording day to day sales, purchases, receipts and payments (information which would later be transferred to the ledger). Samples (c1835-1844) include "Grey Kersey Great Coating" woven in 1835, and green and scarlet serge, attached to a letter dated 1844.

Manufacturing calculation book.  SHA/2  1848-1854

Containing about 600 entries giving precise calculations of the manufacturing cost of serges and long ells ordered by customers. Gives details of length, colour, quality, quantity, price of warp and weft, weaving costs, and cost of scouring, finishing, dyeing, etc. Cloth samples enclosed.

Monthly calculation book.  SHA/3  1852-1877

Containing over 650 entries. Includes frequent mention of navy and military contracts, foreign trade entries, work for John Crossley and Sons, Halifax, carpet manufacturers (1863 and 1873), and 1859 letter laying down rules for delivery of cloth to army clothiers.

Pattern dye house book.  SHA/4  1852-1914

Containing over 800 entries for one of the 3 dyehouses at Brookroyd (the others being the Blue and Scarlet Dyehouses). Gives itemised formulae for the chemical and vegetable composition of dyes used, with cost calculations and for later years annual accounts and statistical summaries of the amount of cloth dyed and the overall cost of dyestuffs used. Samples of blue, scarlet, yellow and purple cloth attached or inserted, together with letter from Jacob Behrens (dated 19 Feb 1877).

Department accounts.  SHA/5  1856-1880

Comprising trading account and annual stock on hand inventories for the Shirt and Sewing Department (1856-1861), and annual stock in trade inventories for all main departments (1862-1880). The Packing Room inventory of 1880 includes reference to tea-importing business.

Cloth contract book.  SHA/6  1860-1870

Containing detailed record of 41 contracts with important firms of cloth merchants and Government clothing contractors. Details weight and quality of warp and weft, arrangements for delivery and payment, and instructions for carriage, packing, etc. Samples include blue kersey (1860), chrome logwood cloth (1862-1863), madder red cloth (1862), with smaller samples of blue and black, and Oxford black cloth (1865).

Textile pattern book.  SHA/7  1879-1880

Compiled by John Edward Shaw, firm's representative in Shanghai 1878-1880. The book was compiled for the benefit of his father, Samuel Shaw, to show him the products of rival manufacturers, and contains examples of European woollen and cotton fabrics made for the Chinese market and shipped to Shanghai in the late 1870s, with details of pieces, packing arrangements, purposes of fabrics, custom charges and trade-marks by which the Chinese dealers recognised the products of individual manufacturers. Also included is an account of the developing cotton yarn trade with Japan, and lists of ships, cargoes and deliveries. Samples include various shirtings, drills, brocades and damasks, mohammedans, cotton and silk finished handkerchiefs, twills, velvets and chintzes colour-printed with Chinese designs.

Private letter book of John Edward Shaw.  SHA/8  1879-1899

Containing copies of letters to his father, Samuel, from Shanghai (1879-1880) about commercial activities and life in China, and business letters written from Halifax (1881-1899), including Shanghai and Chinese references.

Serge pattern book.  SHA/9  late 19th century

Containing about 300 samples. Samples of original tops are in the form of loose tufts of wool dyed in different colours, and those of warp and weft consist of plaited lengths of about 9 cms.

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The records described on this page are held by West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale