Friday, 15 August 2014

Mills Closed in Brighouse



Hundreds of people are idling about the streets of Brighouse to-day.  The reason for this is that trade is bad and many of the mills are closed down for an indefinite period.  In the cotton industry trade has been on the decline for some time, and masters were looking forward to the local holidays, which are due this week-end, so that factories could be closed down for a short period, at any rate.  But the war has urged matters to a climax a little earlier, and all the cotton mills in the town are closed until further notice.  A principal at one of the mills told a “Courier” representative on Monday that if they went on working it would take warehouses as large as the factories themselves to store the manufactured article; and then they were not quite sure whether the stock produced would be of the quality or kind demanded.  So there was nothing else left but to close their premises.  Quite a lot of business was done for Continental export, and not a small proportion with Germany.  Under the present state of international affairs it is impossible to get orders delivered, not to mention the difficulty of receiving raw material.

The silk industry, one of the chief trades of the town, is also undergoing a slump.  One can quite readily understand why this is the case.  In times of general depression, naturally only the necessary things are worn, and silk to most people is looked upon as a luxury.  ....

So serious is the position locally that the Mayor and Corporation have considered it needful to ask employers of labour to meet them and discuss together the best ways and means of alleviating distress in the district.  On every hand can be seen signs of distress, and Brighouse would appear to be one of the local areas to be most seriously affected up to the present.

To a man with a spark of humanity in his heart the scenes are distressing. Young men in the bloom of health, strong, hearty and well, are by the score wasting time because there is nothing to do.  Women and children are perambulating the streets, picking up stray morsels of coal and coke, and bearing upon their faces the pinch of hunger.  A mite of less than twelve summers pitifully pleaded with our reporter this morning to be told where she could get "some cinders to make a fire at home."  Just then a coal cart passed along, and away shot the little girl looking wistfully at the coal which refused to tip over the edge of the cart.

(The Halifax Courier, August 15th, 1914.)

[I wonder how many of the young men who joined the army in August and September 1914 had lost their jobs at the start of the war and so might have felt that the army was their best option.] 

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