[Note: The N.R.A. South Yorks. Committee Report (1-91; 1954) indicates that the early records c.1850 were destroyed in an office fire.]
Immediate source of acquisition:
On abolition of South Yorkshire County Council on 31 March 1986, the records passed from South Yorkshire County Record Office, by agreement of the four South Yorkshire District Councils, to the custody of Sheffield Archives as lead authority
Barnsley, Silkstone, West Riding of Yorkshire
Administrative / biographical background:
The firm began operations in 1850 or 1851, as a partnership between Messrs Wilson, Longbottom, Gelder and several others, under the name of J. S. Wilson & Co., manufacturing linen looms. Business was carried on in a portion of the premises at Townend, known as the "Old Calendar". After a short time the other partners withdrew, leaving as sole partners Mr. Wilson and Mr. Longbottom, and ultimately a migration was made to the Nelson Foundry, at Foundry Street.
Mr. Wilson died in 1862, since when the business was carried on by Mr. Longbottom. The firm expanded and prospered, its speciality being the manufacture of looms and other similar machinery, much of it for the export market. Mr. Longbottom died in 1891.
Over the years there was considerable growth in Wilson and Longbottom with various additions and amalgamations with other firms. However, by the late 1970s the company was facing severe competitive pressure in the market for textile machinery, and in 1981 was taken over by Cobble Ltd. of Blackburn, who closed the Barnsley factory down in 1982, to concentrate operations in Blackburn. At the height of its activity in Barnsley, Wilson and Longbottom had employed over 800 people.
The connection with Barnsley, which had survived for 132 years, was only to be temporarily severed, as in 1987 the firm returned to the area, at Wentworth Industrial Estate, Tankersley, where production of industrial looms was to continue