The Sad Demise of The Crieff and Strathearn Hand Loom Weavers c 1860

The Sad Demise of The Crieff and Strathearn Hand Loom Weavers


Life in Crieff about 1860 – a fascinating social history


Weavers Hall Crieff ( Commissioner Street /Scott Terrace ) now flats

This little gem is culled from the tattered  little  book I have quoted  from  before . Published in “Crieff in the Victorian Era “( Brown. Crieff. 1897 ) it reflects  on the collapse of hand loom weaving  in the town in and  around 1860 . Prior  to this weaving  dominated occupations in the town  with over 50 % of the populous weavers, spinners or  associated trades . The linen weaving had  disappeared and given way to cotton . The cotton “ webs “ were brought to the  town  by cart and middle men  like James MacRosty’s father controlled supply and distribution . With the  outbreak of the American Civil War  the  supply of raw cotton dried up and the end was nigh ! The Weavers’ Hall in Commissioner Street closed and the Weavers’ Guild folded causing  untold poverty and famine . Read on !

“ Coming to later times , say forty years ago , we find  a change  of a striking  character has passed over the face of Strathearn’s capital .One by one the looms  break down and fall to pieces , and the weavers  , outmatched by the mechanic and the engineer , leave their  well- worn stools , and seek some new and more  remunerative field of labour . But , however great is the change  in the labour market , the thoughts , habits and constitution  of the people  remain as of old , and they observe  the march of science  as something to be deplored  . By no means ambitious , the weavers  take to dyking  and ditching , and with  such occupations  they pass  their lives , as contented  as the Belgian  butter makers in the time of Napoleon .

On a cool September night  a few old cronies  gather round   a neighbour’s pig- sty to discuss subjects which they have  so often discussed  before . One worth sits  on a barrel , another on a broken  wheel – barrow , another leans  on a spade , another lounges   against the wall , and there remain  for hours , guiding the world politically and socially  , and suggesting reforms and improvements  in the Government of the Empire , that would astonish  and amaze  many latter –day politicians . “


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