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Fielden Brothers Papers

Date range: 1811-1906

Medium: Archive

A collection of papers of the Todmorden cotton-spinning firm of Fielden Brothers and of John Fielden MP (1784-1849).

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. One member of the family, John Fielden, became a significant political figure. He was elected MP for Oldham in 1832 with William Cobbett, and took a very active role in the movement to limit the hours of factory labour and attempting to get a minimum wage agreement for impoverished handloom weavers.

The firm's 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. The collection is important for studies of radical politics and social conditions in the industrial North in the first half of the 19th century.

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).

Some records of Fielden Brothers are held by West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale.

See also:

Further information:

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


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