Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,820 pages of information and 211,921 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Oxford Road Twist Co

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of Manchester

1829 'Important to Partnership Firms. — It is not generally known, that by the Law all partnership firms are compelled have the christian, as well as the surname, painted full length upon their carts or waggons. On Wednesday, one of the firm of the Oxford Road Twist Co. appeared to answer a charge of this nature, preferred against him by an informer, and was fined 10s. and costs, the cart in question having the designation of the firm only upon it.— Manchester Guardian.'

1838 'Alarming Fires. —On Wednesday night, a fire broke out in Manchester, which, at one time, threatened the existence of property valued at near £200,000 and giving employment to nearly two thousand hands. The scene of conflagration was the spinning and weaving mills of the Oxford Road Twist Company. This extensive establishment is capable of turning out a piece of cloth twenty-eight yards long each minute, or sixty-five miles in length of web in the week. The effects of the fire were confined to one part of the building, containing the spreading, picking, and blowing rooms. This building was about forty yards long, and three storeys high, and half of it was entirely consumed with its contents, and the remainder much damaged. The loss is estimated at about £5000, covered by insurances in different offices.'[1]

1840 'GREAT FAILURES AT MANCHESTER .... TURN-OUT.- All the power-loom hands at the Oxford-road Twist Company are leaving their employment on the completion of the work in the loom. The numbere of looms in the mills are said to be about fifteen hundred. The reduction amounts to 3d. per piece. The spinners have also been reduced 10 per cent., but they would, it said, have continued at their work had the weavers done so, but such not being the case, they too are necessarily thrown idle.'[2]

1847 'During the week the money market has been in an excited state, owing to the rapid rise of the rate of discount, and the stringency of the measures adopted by the Bank of England. Bullion is fast disappearing, and the manufacturing districts are presenting an alarming state, so that most probably a great effort will be made to rescind or suspend the operation of Sir Robert Peel's Currency Bill of 1842. The following statement in the Leeds Mercury shews that there are grounds for believing that Parliament must shortly interfere in some way or another: .... The Oxford Road Twist Company, the most extensive concern in Manchester, has stopped the entire of its extensive machinery: 1,100, or 1,500 hands are thus thrown literally out bread.'[3]

1852 Advert: 'Sales by Auction.
At the Oxford Road Twist Company's Mills, Manchester.
—lmportant Sale of Eight most excellent Steam Boilers, nearly new; Powerful Mill Geering, Line Shafting, Strong Bevil Wheels. MR. W. KIRK is instructed by the Oxford Road Twist Company to SELL BY AUCTION, on Thursday, February 5th, 1852, commencing at eleven o'clock prompt, on the premises of the said Company's mills, Oxford-street, Manchester, EIGHT Most Excellent and Nearly New STEAM BOILERS and SHAFTING, &c., &c, viz.:— Four boilers, 3ft. diameter and 30ft. long, with spherical ends; four boilers. 4ft. diameter 30ft. long, with ditto ends. The whole are nearly new, made of the best Staffordshire iron, and by the eminent engineers, Galloway and Ormerod, respectively. Also 45ft of cast-iron upright shafting, with coupling boxes, in four lengths, and various diameters; pedestals and brass taps, one pair of bevil wheels, 76 and 48 teeth, 2½ in. pitch, and 6½in. one pair of ditto smaller ditto; one wheel, 67 teeth, 1¾ in. pitch, 5in. broad; diito, 63 teeth, 2in pitch, and 6in. broad; 43ft. of line shafting, 7in. diameter, with pedestals and brass steps.
Full particulars in catalogues, which are now ready, and may be had of the Auctioneer, at his offices, 24, Princess-street, Manchester. N.B. Sale at eleven o'clock.'[4]

1883 'DEATH MR. THOMAS COOKE, J.P. "We regret to announce the death, which took place at an early hour this morning, at his residence, Rusholme Hall, near this city, of Mr. Thomas Cooke, J.P., a former well-known Manchester cotton spinner, and for the last quarter of a century, eleven years of which he was vice-chairman and fourteen years chairman, connected with tho board of directors of the Manchester and Liverpool District Bank, Spring Gardens. Mr. Cooke was one of three sons (his brothers John and Henry being formerly well-known merchants in Manchester) of the late Mr. Thomas Cooke, of Gorsefield, Pendleton, who was descended from old family resident in the neighbourhood of Barton-upon-Irwell and Flixton. At the time of his son's birth, Mr. Cooke was an extensive muslin manufacturer, with a warehouse in Cromford Court, and subsequently embarked in tho business of a foreign merchant. For very many years, Mr. T. Cooke and his sons Thomas and Henry ran the grim-looking building in Oxford Road, known as the Oxford Road Twist Company. Owing, however, to the costliness of factory labour in Manchester, and the generally depressed state of the cotton trade, they relinquished that concern, Mr. Henry Cooke retiring from business altogether, and his brother, Thomas, joining the board directors of tho Manchester and Liverpool District Bank. ....'[5]

The 1894-6 O.S. map shows that the buildings at the eastern end of the site were named Longford Works and used for producing underclothing. The western half was used as the Daccatwist Mill (cotton) and as a timber yard.

This 1895 photograph shows back-to-back houses facing James Street and Chester Street, viewed from Lower Ormond Street, with the mill visible behind.

Goad's Insurance Plans for 1928, Sheet 341, shows that very little of the original site layout remained. The Regal Cinema occupied the eastern part of the land, facing onto Oxford Road. Behind that was a building containing warehousing, printing works and offices belonging to Odhams Press. The western half of the site was occupied by Rylands and Sons Ltd. This was the only part which recalled the original mill, several small walls being at a slight angle to the generally square layout. This angle in turn reflected the original direction of the River Medlock before it was culverted and no longer able to exert any influence.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Perthshire Advertiser, 22 March 1838
  2. Freeman's Journal, 10 September 1840
  3. The Suffolk Chronicle; or Weekly General Advertiser & County Express, 1 May 1847
  4. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 31 January 1852
  5. Manchester Evening News, 9 January 1883