Houses and workshops
Cloth was woven in countless homes, such as these weavers' houses at Golcar in Yorkshire. Notice the scale of these buildings, probably the homes of some of the wealthy clothiers of Golcar.
Characteristic long lines of windows on the upper floor or floors helped maximise daylight for the workshop behind.
From the weavers' houses, cloth was taken to trading centres such as Piece Hall, Halifax, which provided a market for the cloth produced in the area around.
Such houses were often in valley settlements, and such was the shortage of land that housing spread up steep slopes. This was not an ideal situation for building, but it was frequently used in a positive way by providing a front private access, with working access to the upper floor at the back. An example is seen in the reconstruction drawing. On flatter sites this was done in a different way, and the blocked-in doorway on the first floor of one of these houses still reminds us of an original access to the workshop floor.
One of the illustrations is a reconstruction drawing, and there are details about the furnishings and fittings that must be open to argument, but it helps to provide an impression of the buildings in use.
In many parts of the country, we can still see evidence of the Industrial Revolution and of the domestic system that it replaced. If this is the case in your area, then you should take the opportunity of looking at the evidence that is around you.
Certainly in Yorkshire much remains that provides clues to this once thriving community. You can see more in these maps detailing the West Riding woollen industry.
STORY: Rise of the factory system
SCENE: The West Riding woollen industry