Stott Park Bobbin Mill - History and Facts | History Hit

Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Ulverston, England, United Kingdom

Peta Stamper

22 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Built in 1835, Stott Park Bobbin Mill is the only surviving Lakeland bobbin mill and was once one of over 100 mills operating in the Lake District to supply millions of bobbins demanded by the Lancashire textile industry.

Still making bobbins, you can visit the the mill at Stott Park today and witness the Victorian process for yourself.

Stott Park Bobbin Mill history

Bobbin making in the Lake District began in the 1780s and continued to grow into the 19th century, driven by the flourishing of Lancashire’s textiles industry. The wooden bobbins, which are used to wind yarn around, were essential to making fabric, and so over 100 bobbin mills opened across the century. In 1860, about 60 bobbin mills were in action, including Stott Park which was first built in 1835.

The Lake District was perfect for the industry: with water power to run machinery and coppice woodlands to make bobbins. Trees were trimmed back into poles which were then dried at the mill for a year before being cut down. Some bobbin mills had past lives as textile or corn mills, and Stott Park’s woodland suggested it has before been used for ironwork.

Stott Park’s owners came from local manufacturing families. In 1858, the mill’s waterwheel was replaced by a water turbine which was more efficient. However, around this time there was a severe drought, stopping the mill for weeks. Then, during the 1860s a government investigation of child labour – which the mills used a great deal of – increased labour costs and raised the working age from 8 to 10.

As a result, Stott Park was further modernised and enlarged to be heavier and faster. Water powered the mill until 1941 when the first electric motor was installed. The mill closed in 1971 and was in a poor state. A millworker called Jack Ivison wrote down his experiences of working there and described how the machines worked, eventually allowing English Heritage in 1984 to restored and preserve the Victorian mill.

Stott Park Bobbin Mill today

Today, along the shore of Lake Windermere in Cumbria, Stott Park Bobbin Mill is the only working bobbin mill remaining in the Lake District and is open to the public. The Victorian industrial history is told through tours and an exhibition, allowing you to see how bobbins were made from the tree to machinery.

Stott Park also offers chances to get involved and dress up along the family history trail. At the end of your trip you can even take home a wooden bobbin made at Stott Park from the gift shop!

Getting to Stott Park Bobbin Mill

By car, Stott Park Bobbin Mill is located just north of Newby Bridge off the A590, and there are several car parks on site (free for English Heritage members). Otherwise, you can get the Lecks 538 bus which passes the site, or the Stagecoach X6 and Lecks 518 stop at Newby Bridge from where you can walk the mile and a half to the mill.

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