Upon the Isles of the Sea

Discovering the LDS heritage of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales



Cotton in Utah

This post brings to and end our series on the influence of cotton on the early Preston church.  This fluffy little plant put people in bondage in the growing fields in the USA and in the ‘satanic’ mills of England.  It is curious how the production of a white bit of cloth helped humble hundreds of oppressed English souls and made them ready for something better – a restored gospel message.

To bring things full circle I thought you might be interested to see how this cotton legacy made its way to Utah. Continue reading “Cotton in Utah”

A tour of the mill

In 1913 the LDS church magazine Improvement Era published a lengthy article written by a missionary who was given a tour of a Preston cotton mill.   Elder Clyde Candland Edmonds reported in great detail the whole process of creating the cotton.  His recollection is a wee bit longer than the normal missionary letter home – but provides a fascinating look behind the scenes.   Initially I was just going to give a few excerpts, but decided to put nearly the whole article in.

NOTE: If you don’t have a great interest in how cotton goods are made most of this post will be of little interest, BUT you must, at least, skim down to the 20th paragraph and read what the cotton workers did when they saw the Mormon Elders coming to their departments.

The rest of this post is entirely In Their WordsContinue reading “A tour of the mill”

Civil War

Avenham Park in Preston was opened by the Duke of Cambridge in 1867.   Running through the bottom of the park is the River Ribble – where the first LDS baptisms in Britain were performed, and in the heart of the park is a Japanese garden within which lie four plaques mentioning the church.  It seems quite fitting that this park, which has such rich Mormon connections, was created because of cotton.  I told you cotton permeated everything here!  Okay, here’s what happened:

Continue reading “Civil War”

Rules to be Obeyed…

What was it like to work in one of these cotton mills?

William Ainsworth (1807-1862) helped his father and brother run some mills in Preston.  The ‘RULES TO BE OBEYED BY THE OPERATIVES’ in his mill in Cotton Court were unbelievable. They bore evidence of long working hours, restrictions on personal freedom, and a ruthless system of fines, which the management did not fail to enforce in the courts. Continue reading “Rules to be Obeyed…”

Domestic to Factory

Our missionaries arrived during a traumatic upheaval as cotton had moved from a domestic to a factory setting.  At first cotton manufacturing was a wholly domestic affair.  In the early 1700s many Lancashire homes were purposely built to accommodate spinning wheels and weaving looms.  Many of these homes can be easily identified today by their basement windows – the damp basement helped prevent the cotton from snapping.  Continue reading “Domestic to Factory”

Cotton to converts

We sometimes share stories of early Mormon converts without really appreciating the context those stories took place in.   For instance, the City of Preston is forever firmly established in the beginning tales of British Mormonism, but have you ever wondered what is was like to live in 1837 Preston?

Continue reading “Cotton to converts”

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