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Michael Geoffrey Towers
Longton, Preston, Lancashire
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 20:39
T & M Bairstows - Commemorative Booklet 1920
This is a 31 page A4 booklet published by the Directors covering the first 82 years of the business since its foundation in 1838. I have forwarded a copy to Paul Wilkinson who I hope will be able to publish it in the Gallery within the next few days.

I hope you find this interesting and if anyone would like a personal copy on CD (the file size is 13.4MB and probably too large to email) please email me on quoting your address. I will, of course, keep all your details private.
Paul Wilkinson
Thursday, October 2, 2014 07:49
Hi Mike - thank you very much for sharing your copy of this 1920 booklet, it is now available for download in the gallery section.

Lynda Blundell nee Phillips
Vancouver, Canada
Thursday, October 2, 2014 16:36
I found the booklet really interesting as my mother, Constance (Connie) Tingle (Phillips) used to work in the mill as a mender in the 1920s.
Joan M. Tindale
Friday, October 3, 2014 21:32
What an amazing place? Thanks for sharing the booklet.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Saturday, October 4, 2014 03:04
Thanks Michael for letting us see this piece of memorabilia.
It is very relevant to my family. My Grandmother, Hilda Chapman nee Hardaker, was a 'burler and mender, my mother Mary Harper, nee Hardaker, was a weaver and I was a burler and mender, so it covers all those generations. In fact at one point in time all three generations were working in the mill at the same time with my grandmother and I both in 'mending'. My grandmother at that time was working with the 'finished' product where as I was upstairs, hands on, at the 'grey' stage. Frank Barrett (Nikki's grandfather) was the boss.
Burling, the hands across the fabric stage came first to identify the faults, knots in the yarn were pulled through (for removal during finishing) and the missing bits which occurred during weaving or bad weft and warp, were chalked up ready for easy identification at the mending process.
Mending, a process where you needed good eyesight, the stage where special long and blunt ended needles probably bought from the Coop, came into play, selecting the correct piece of yarn and sewing it back into the fabric by following the weaving pattern, so that it would not be seen after finishing and therefore would not destroy the value of the finished product.
Even to this day, 50 odd years later, I can't help seeing knots and slubs in fabric that I know shouldn't be there! I still attach the sewing needle to my blouse as though it was a 'pinny' when I sew, still hook the scissors round my little finger etc etc. Habits hard to loose but only understood by other 'menders'. Thanks again Michael, and of course the ever diligent Paul.
Brenda Whitaker
Queensland Australia
Saturday, October 4, 2014 03:20
I have just read my words above and the habits of long ago may not seem relevant to readers of this site, but for me, after living in 4 different countries, 30 years with an airline, 4 years managing a holiday resort, two sons, 9 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild, I have to laugh at myself doing those odd things from my youth. Now that is when an LOL is a meaningful acronym!
Robin Longbottom
Saturday, October 4, 2014 10:40
Having read Brenda's messages this morning I notice she has referred to 'slubs'. Co-incidentally my wife took some knitting wool back to a shop yesterday and explained to the young assistant that she was returning it because it had a 'slub' in it. She was met by a totally blank expression and had to explain that it was a lump in the yarn. Oh well, I don't suppose the word 'slub' is compatible with the high tech jargon of the 21st century. Apparently the word burl is Anglo-French, from Old French bourle meaning a tuft of wool (just thought I would throw that in for any one who was pondering on its origins).
Michael Geoffrey Towers
Longton, Preston, Lancashire
Saturday, October 4, 2014 16:47
Although not a skilled seamstress like you I, too, remember the technical terms of burler, mender and slubs through my late mum, Gwen, and my dad, Ernest, both working at Bairstows. During school holidays I worked in the twisting weighing off bobbins for 7 a week. The Italian girls in the room mostly lived in the Hostel and plagued me no end but the foreman, George Morrison I think who lived at the top of North Street, was always there to keep me out of trouble!

I would think that Bairstows holds many good, and perhaps some bad, memories for the majority of Sutton residents and dad, who is 93, often reflects back on his time as a mechanic in the mill. It is rather apt that he now lives in Sutton Hall Nursing Home built on the old Bairstow's site. He says that his room is where the "pattern room" and mill offices where looking out over towards the old gatehouse and Institute and is across "the yard" from the mechanics shop where he worked for over 35 years. Of course, moden housing now is all you see.

the view.

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