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Papers of the Fielden Brothers

Date range: 1811-1906.

Collection of papers concerning the cotton-spinning firm of Fielden Brothers and the career of John Fielden MP (1784-1849), important for the social, political and economic history of the 19th century.

The partnership of Fielden Brothers was formed in 1816, based at Waterside Mill in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and it became one of the most important and profitable textile firms in the country.

John Fielden, a practising Unitarian, was elected MP for Oldham in 1832 with William Cobbett. He was known for his radical politics, taking an active part in the movement to limit the hours of factory labour and attempting to get a minimum wage agreement for handloom weavers.

Company records include accounts and correspondence concerning the running of the mills and trading activities at home and overseas.

There are also papers concerning John Fielden's political activities, especially factory reform, the Ten Hour Bill and child labour, including correspondence with John, James and Richard Cobbett.

In 2009 the Library acquired a manuscript account by an unknown (probably female) writer of an extended visit to Todmorden in 1833, which contains a detailed description of the Fielden mills (English ms 1311).

Finding aids

  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • Brian R. Law, The Fieldens of Todmorden: a Nineteenth Century Business Dynasty (Littleborough, 1995).


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