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The English cotton spinning industry, 1780–1840, as revealed in the columns of the London Gazette


  • Solar, Peter M
  • Lyons, John S


We investigate the early development of English cotton spinning by analyzing about 700 bankruptcies and 1300 dissolutions of partnership reported in the London Gazette, 1770–1840. The data show two temporal cycles, peaking in the early to mid-1800s and in the later 1820s, near the ends of investment booms. Both earlier peaks were absolutely higher than the later, despite industry growth. Over time both bankruptcies and dissolutions show the concentration of spinning in greater Lancashire, and within greater Lancashire in the surrounding towns rather than in Manchester. The industry was dominated by single proprietors or firms with only two partners and integration with weaving was steadily increasing. The paper demonstrates the potential of the Gazette, now searchable online, as a source for business and industrial history.

Suggested Citation

  • Solar, Peter M & Lyons, John S, 2009. "The English cotton spinning industry, 1780–1840, as revealed in the columns of the London Gazette," MPRA Paper 15422, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15422

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    1. Lyons, John S., 1985. "Vertical Integration in the British Cotton Industry, 1825–1850: a Revision," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(02), pages 419-425, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Crafts, Nicholas & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2014. "The Location of the UK Cotton Textiles Industry in 1838: A Quantitative Analysis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(04), pages 1103-1139, December.

    More about this item


    English industry; cotton spinning; bankruptcy; partnership dissolution; industrial revolution; spatial distribution of firms; vertical integration;

    JEL classification:

    • N63 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • N6 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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