bobbin mills

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One of the most unusual developments in the woodland trades during the 19th century was the creation of over 70 bobbin mills in the Lake District. Each of the large, highly mechanized, Lancashire cotton‐spinning mills needed many thousands of bobbins to sustain production until they began to use cheaper substitutes towards the end of the Victorian period. Those bobbin mills that survived turned instead to the manufacture of cotton reels, tool handles, and spout bobbins for drainpipes. The surrounding coppiced woods were managed on at least a fifteen‐year cycle to provide the poles which were turned into bobbins on lathes powered by water wheels; a well‐managed acre of coppice could produce 10 000 poles at each cutting. The bobbins were made from birch in different patterns to suit each customer's requirements, while handles were turned from ash. One of the last bobbin mills to survive until it closed in 1971 was Stott Park Bobbin Mill, which has been restored as a working museum by English Heritage.

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