At the beginning
Manchester was set up in 79 a.C. by Giulio Agricola, a Roman governor that set a stronghold called Mamucium. Here in the 14th century a Flemish community started the textile using wool and linen.
During the middle age Mamucium changed the name with the actual one and it started its development process.
Domestic system of textile
Before 1700, like we said before, cloth was mainly made of wool and the production of cloth was made by a family process and in the people's homes, usually:
◦ A wood merchant would buy the sheep fleeces from farmers.
◦ The merchant would give the fleece (row wool) to workers in cottages to turn it into cloth.
A big part of the process of production was made in the countryside and the making of the cloth happened in people's own homes, so the production was organized in a domestic system.

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◦ Children and women would clean the dirty greasy fleece by washing it in a wooden tub with soap
◦ Then the clean fleece would be hanged from the beams in the cottage ceiling to dry.
◦ Next the children of mother would card the wool (=combing all the tangled wool fibres so they go in the same direction).
◦ After that the mother or older girls would spin the wool by hand (by using a spindle* until the 14th century and later spinning wheel* ).
◦ Then the man of the family would take the yarn the women had spun and weave it to make it into cloth [It was a very skilful job and it was quite slow, and one person oil only work on piece of cloth at once].
◦ At the end of this process the weaver will have made a roll of cloth; the clothier paid the weaver according to how much the fabric weighed.
◦ Dying was the final stage to make the cloth a different colour; many of the dyes were made out of plants, tree bark or roots, or insects using herbs as dye.
The clothier then sold the finished cloth in his own shop or at a cloth market.

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The spinning wheel was a machine and a lot of families owned one and mothers would pass the skill of using the wheel down to the daughters

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The weaving loom was a large and expensive item, so many families rented one from the merchant
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Production cycle in the "domestic system" and the 1st economic revolution

In the 18 century the demand for cloth, in particular cotton, grew very fast because people had more money and so they wanted more and better clothes; in the same period the price of cotton fell because of imports from the slave-worked cotton plantations in the southern states of the US or in India.
In 1733 John Kay invented a flying shuttle. He put a spring at each side of the loom with strings attached to the shuttle. It meant weavers could make wider cloth and work faster. People were weaving faster, so they needed more yarn and in 1764 James Hargreaves developed the Spinning Jenny. After the invention of the Flying Shuttle and the Spinning Jenny the production in cottages and in people's homes really speeded up.
In this period infact a lot of textile factories settled in Manchester, with the development of the technologies, and for this reason it became one of the most important cities in the first industrial revolution in UK.
Its weather was ideal for the textile because the atmosphere was wet so it was simple to produce the cotton.
This was the start of a new era where there were a lot of changing in the production system of the factories. It started in the UK for a lot of reasons: the traffic of the capitals was efficient, the population grew so there was more labour and more demand for the products.
The industries had to create more products so English engineers tried to make some machineries for high quality products, like the steam engine.
A benefit for Manchester was that it is situated on a peninsula so it was isolated from the wars and it had a lot of deposits of coal and their proximity to the port of Liverpool, connected by rail since 1830.
In the industrial revolution the fabric became the principal kind of industries, where the workers had to control the machineries, so the time of work was longer and sometimes children had to do it.
The UK was the first country that started the revolution and it was also the first that had trouble with it. Cities like Liverpool and Manchester, became full of factories and they became metropolis. Manchester also became the 3^ English commercial port, thanks to the construction of the Manchester Ship Canalespite( 1894)
Manchester developed also the steel sector because it had to produce machineries too.
The cotton industry was the main driving sector that fueled the industrial revolution, its expansion took place mainly in the region around Manchester but this city developed also the steel sector because it had to produce machineries too.

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The spinning Jenny
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The flying shuttle

20th and 21st century

The textile industry reached its peak in 1912 with a production of eight billion yards.
The years of the 1st World War were a disaster for the industry, in fact the demand slumped and mill owners put their workers on short time.
2 years after the 1st World War there was a short big boom.
In 1920 British exports were 479£ million more than in 1919 {20% cotton}
At the end of 1920 the market collapsed.
The 2WW was a disaster too for the textile industry. Even if some Manchester's industries produced a lot of military uniforms and a lot of cotton necessary for the war, the market collapsed, industry had no work force, the government didn’t have money because they spent all of it for military equipment, and families were to poor without men in them.
So later Protected domestic industries were set up and exported to other countries and India and Japan made cheaper cotton goods than British ones. For these reasons 800 mills closed and In 1952 the quarry bank mill's machines were sent in India.
In 1950 there was an another boom that ended in 1958.
The textile became an importer of cotton cloth and in 1980 cotton industries vanished in Manchester.
In 1990 Italian textiles grew and the British industry declined by 40%.
Also industries that had nothing to do with cotton started to develop in Manchester on 20th century (Flour milling, biscuits production, breakfast cereals)
Some example are Kellogg's, Industry that produce sheets of asbestos cement for roofs and Ford.
At Half 20th century manufacturing industry declined and was replaced by education and finance.
Manchester carried on being at the forefront of new technologies and their computers were developed between 1947 and 1977.
(1962 the world's fastest computer was developed)
Even if in that period there were a lot of food factories, for Manchester the most important part was the textile industry, in fact now there are a lot of them too. For example Lees Newsome limited was born in 1975 and produced based cotton, knitted fabric and microfibres.
Another one is AMR textiles Utd that produced oven gloves, iron boards covers (high temperature)
Private white VC, was created 100 years ago by James Eden, from the beginning to now it sells its products to a lot of important brands, in fact their products are high quality because they are produced by hand.
Stromproofing LDT produced technical textiles (gas holding, waterproof).
How these industries show, much of the industries in Manchester are focused on good performance and technical textile.
In fact a lot of important universities help this factories with searching and create new product,and the foraday techitex also has an important partnership with some Manchester society.
Thanks to universities and this partnership Manchester can sell a lot of good products all over the world.
For example medical textile,car textile and microclimate clothing.
Moreover In 2014 the UK gave 81 million to help Manchester and the textile sector.

The company's ideas for the future textiles are already researching "wearable electronics" like products with electrical wiring. They are trying to develop textiles with mini computers in the structure of the fibres.
For this researches the USA and the University of Manchester are working to help.
This electrical textiles are used for:
◦ Health
◦ Sports
◦ Hazardous materials
◦ Transport
◦ Army

Manchester and Busto
As we know our town was always compared to one of the most important places in the world of textile industry, Both Manchester and Busto Arsizio were in fact two important economic centres for their countries, and even if they are similar from some points of view, there are a lot of difference between them.
  • Territory
  • Time of development
  • Raw material

Busto Arsizio

Busto was an important Roman military centre, later a Longboardi community raided this place and they started to build a close-town,called Busto Arsizio.
Busto is located in the north part of Italy in the region of Lombardia
This territory was not appropriate to have cotton plantations,but it is in a strategical position for market, in fact it communicates with France (Sempione) and Germany too (Gottardo) even if it's not near the sea or near important ports.


Manchester is located in the northen part of England near Wales, and it is the chief town of the region called greater Manchester.
There the climate is very humid and wet so it's very good for the cotton plantations, it also located near the deposits of coal and to the port of Liverpool, connected by rail since 1830.
Time of development

Busto Arsizio

Since the dawn of time Busto has an important tradition of the making of textile.
But Italy was always one of the last countries in Europe from the economic and technological view. For example in both the 1st and 2nd revolutions Busto started to use machinery later then other countries.


Manchester was one of the most important towns for textile industry, since 79 in this place have been people who worked with wood.
So thanks to the position and of the rich country this town was always one of the most developed, in fact both the revolutions started there.

Raw material

Busto Arsizio

The district of Busto Arsizio wasn't suitable for processing cotton, but it has the advantage of being located in a good area to receive and export products, so the cotton was imported from others areas of Italy.


Manchester's territory has a humid climate suitable for processing cotton, even though in the following years cotton coming from U.K is no used because it costs too much, but industries imported it from U.K. colonies in India and South America.

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