The Weavers' Triangle - Burnley's Historic Canalside.

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Cotton Industry


The Cotton Industry - Burnley's Story

Early History
Cottage Industry
The Factory Age
Population Explosion
Working Life
Strikes and Riots
The Cotton Famine
King Cotton
Textile Engineering
Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall

The First World War had a serious effect on cotton manufacture and signalled the start of a sporadic decline of the industry in Burnley.

The war meant raw material was difficult to obtain; there was a shortage of manpower and many important markets were lost.

After the war there was a short period of prosperity but then came the slump of the 1920s and 30s. This led to unemployment and the collapse of many firms. Attempts were made to revive the industry through the introduction of new technology and types of cloth. However since the Second World War, competition from abroad and the use of man-made fibres meant further decline.

Today Burnley, once the cotton weaving capital of the world, has only a handful of firms producing textiles.

A mill chimney is demolished