Wool Spinning on a mule in Glasgow in 1940s by Rachel Brown

Rachel started her working life in 1948 at Templeton’s Carpet Factory at Bridgeton (district on the east side of Glasgow City Centre).  The factory provided the best paid work for girls at this time. The carpets were made of wool.  (Nylon carpets only began in 1947). The wool came in as a fleece and was put into a machine.

Mule-jenny. This example is the only one in existence made by the inventor Samuel Crompton.
This example is the only one in existence made by the inventor Samuel Crompton.

It was teased by hand and then put through the machine to be put onto bobbins. Next it was put in the mules. The bobbin was put on top and it was then spun through the machine. Had to walk with the machine which ran the length of the room. Other people twisted the wool into plys (2-ply and 3 ply). The wool was a natural creamy colour.  It went into bundles to go out to the manufacturers who made carpets such as those in Bridgeton at Glasgow Green Park. Her cousin worked on the weaving side.

Glasgow tenement life
She was born in 1934. Her family lived at Crail Street in the Parkhead area of Glasgow. It was a back end with a single room. During the war years eight people lived in a single room. As you entered the back end there was a small lobby and then the door into the room. A mattress was behind the lobby door and this could go down a night in the lobby as a bed. There was a built-in bed. Her Mammy slept on a bed which hidden in a wooden cabinet. It then lifted down to make a double bed. There were no beds laid down during the day so the family had more floor space. The fire had a grate and an oven.  There was grey cooker with two rings above it to cook on and a pottery white sink. Her Dad was a hawker as a boy with a horse and cart collecting rags. During the war he was called up.

Memory contributed by Rachel Brown from Elgin

Additional Information

Link to more information about Glasgow tenement stories >>>
A very detailed account of street traders, hawkers and buskers– actually for model making but interesting nonetheless. Hawker = have a horse and cart  Peddler= no horse and cart

Spinning Mule
Origin of mule spinning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinning_mule  390px-Samuel_Crompton This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

“About 1779, Samuel Crompton succeeded in producing a machine which spun yarn suitable for use in the manufacture of muslin, and which was known as the muslin wheel or the Hall i’ th’ Wood (pronounced Hall-ith-wood) wheel”

Hall ith wood home of Samuel Crompton inventor of the spinning muleHere is a link to a website with photographs of his house Hall i’th’ Wood. 

James Templeton & Co more informationJamesTempleton  & Co. Factory Carpet Designs

The Glasgow based carpet manufacturing company James Templeton and Co, had been producing carpeting from their factory at Bridgeton since 1839. By the 1851 Great Exhibition held in London, the company was barely a decade old. However, the company no doubt saw the Exhibition as an ideal opportunity to both publicise their output on a larger stage and to procure orders, hopefully on an international scale.”

James Templeton & Co. advert

James Templeton advert on the website Glasgow story

Here is an advert for James Templeton on the website Glasgow Story. “The advert shows the glorious carpet factory designed in the Italian Gothic style by William Leiper.”

Glasgow’s Parkhead area.history.


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