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

This record is held by West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale

Details of SHA
Reference: SHA
Title: John Shaw and Sons, Brookroyd Mills, Stainland, Woollen Manufacturers, Records.

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.

Date: 1830-1914
Held by: West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

John Shaw and Sons, woollen manufacturers of Brookroyd Mills, Stainland

Physical description: 0.08 m³
Immediate 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.

Publication note:

See "The Shaws of Stainland" by R M Shaw, Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, 1965, pp 45-69

  • Textile industry
Administrative / biographical background:

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.

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