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Background

From Fulling to Fustianopolis - the story of the history of the textile industry around Hebden Bridge

Timeline.jpgClick image to enlarge

It is a story that takes in the recent Bronze age weaving beater found at Widdop reservoir, monastic multi-national companies at the start of the first Industrial Revolution, the use of natural dye stuffs and the growth of the Co-operative Movement

The project spans the history of the area, from the fulling of woollen cloth, through the cotton industry of the 19th century,  to Hebden Bridge becoming the largest producer of ready-made working class clothing made from fustian, the name given to various types of strong cotton cloth,.

Manchester, as the centre of the cotton trade, was known as ‘Cottonopolis’, Bradford as ‘Worstedopolis’, and Edwardian Hebden Bridge as ‘Fustianopolis’, producing thousands of pairs of fustian trousers and jackets in the mills and sewing shops.

Water power and it's easy availability in the area drove the whole industry from the very beginning right up to the last century. It is now starting to be produced again as turbines replace the water wheels of the past.

We also briefly look at the future of the woollen industry, especially with regard to this area.

This is a community based project involving local people with the support of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society, Calderdale Museum Service and many others.