The second half of the 19th Century saw Burnley’s development into the most important cotton-weaving town in the world.
In 1850 there were some 9,000 looms in the town, all belonging to firms whose main business was spinning. By 1900 Burnley had 79,000 looms, the majority owned by firms engaged solely in weaving.
One of the main reasons for this change was the introduction of the new technique of ring spinning in Oldham during the 1880s. This made it cheaper for Burnley manufacturers to buy yarn rather than spin it themselves.
By 1886 it was claimed that Burnley was producing a greater length of cotton cloth than any other town in the world.