Bills, receipts and correspondence, mostly from Nottinghamshire businesses to Shaw & Shaw, cotton spinners, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield; 1871-1902

Scope and Content

The collection consists mainly of correspondence and bills relating to the purchase of yarn. These were presumably part of a much larger series of correspondence and invoices held by the company which no longer survives.

MS 876/1 comprises documents from Nottinghamshire lace and hosiery manufacturers, particularly J. Shaw Gaunt, Nottingham and also including T.I. Birkin, Nottingham and Joseph Fearfield, Stapleford.

MS 876/2 contains papers relating to companies outside Nottinghamshire such as Boden of Derby alongside papers relating to Manchester businesses and two letters from Lehigh Manufacturing Company, Philadelphia.

Administrative / Biographical History

Shaw & Shaw were cotton spinners based at the Britannia Mills, Milnsbridge, Yorkshire.

Various other local cotton manufacturers and tradesmen are mentioned throughout the collection. The less well-known include:

Astle & Co.

A large family of lace manufacturers and 'machine holders' in the Nottingham area, they were based at the Player's factory and at the Clyde Works on Denison Street, both in Radford where they had large standings. The Player's factory in Radford was built by John Player, who constructed three factories and lent out two of them to lace manufacturers until his company expanded enough to utilise them. The last lace tenants had left by 1902, and by December 1902 Astle & Co. had moved to Bridge Mill in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.

Michael Butler

Based at the Clyde Works in Radford.

Samuel Butler & Co.

Based in Radford, Russell Street, until 1900. They were lace and curtain manufacturers and makers. Samuel Butler was reported as a 'lace agent' in Wright's directory of Nottingham 1894-5.

C.H. Clarke & A.H. Clarke

Curtain lace manufacturers, based at Ilkeston and Derby Road factory at Sandiacre. The firm continued until the 1920s when they were bought out by Wallis Binch.

Josh Fearfield Ltd

Managed by Joshua Fearfield, who was a warp tatting maker. He built a three-storey factory at Fairfields in Stapleford, housing 53 machines and employing 200 people. It suffered fire damage in 1881, but it was repaired and extended to 80 machines and employed 300 people. Fearfield died in 1884 and his son in 1892, and the company was purchased by Marcus Astle, although the name was retained. Thomas Attenborough purchased the company in 1915, and moved it into a single storey north-light factory.

John Gaunt

Described as a Factory manager in Wright's directory of Nottingham 1894-95, John Gaunt was based at Middle Pavement and then moved to Severn's chambers in the Lace market by 1899 . The documents seem to suggest that he was an agent or middle-man between Shaw & Shaw and the Lace manufacturers in Nottingham, including Birkin & Co., Boden & Co., Gifford Fox, Holland & Webb, Joseph Orchard, Kimberly Lace Co., Miller Bros and others.

Gifford Fox & Co.

Brown net manufacturers at Angel Yard according to Wright's directory of Nottingham.

Keeble Bros.

Listed in Wright's Nottingham directory 1894-5 as hay and straw deliverers and contractors, they were based at Greyfriar Gate, Nottingham.

Joseph Orchard

Opened his first factory in the 1850s, concentrating on silk fancy net. He died in 1862, but his son, Joseph Orchard, continued that business and in 1882 he erected the four storey, lantern roofed, Bank Street Mill in Long Eaton. The original factory continued to be used by lace makers into the 1960s whilst the new factory had non-lace business from the 1920s.

Pratt Hurst & Co.

Lace manufacturers in Nottingham, although they also were based in Bow Lane, London. They had machines in Ilkeston Junction and Radford, as well as a warehouse in Nottingham.

Joseph Wright

Based at 12 Pilcher Gate, at the heart of the Lace market in Nottingham initially but then moved to Hounds Gate, on the outskirts of the city centre.

Boyd & Son

Founded in 1895 by James Boyd based at Alexandra road, Southport.

James Cooper

Based at Bridge End Mills, Ashton under Lyne and his operation had 10,000 spindles.

N. Corah and Sons

Very large company which was based at St. Margaret's Works, Leicester where they had moved to in 1865, expanding throughout the 19th century.

Davis Moore & Co.

Hosiery manufacturers, originally known as Davis Moore & Snowden, and were based in the Adelaide buildings on Albion Street, but by 1887 they had changed to Davis Moore & Co., and were then based in Granby Street.

Frederick Caldwell

Hosiery Manufacturer based at Church Gate, Loughborough.

Lehigh Manufacturing Company

Initially known as the Bromley manufacturing company, and later known as the Quaker Lace Company, it was founded in 1889 by the sons of Mr Bromley, an English carpet weaver who had emigrated to Philadelphia in the 1840s. In 1894, after moving into a manufacturing complex on Lehigh Avenue, the company was renamed the Lehigh Manufacturing Company. The building which was purchased already possessed twenty-one Nottingham lace curtain looms, and Bromley added more looms, equipment, and skilled labour with the help of Sir Ernest Jardine of Nottingham.


There was no original order evident. Papers have been arranged within two series: Nottinghamshire tradesmen and tradesmen from other British counties and overseas. Within these series the papers have been arranged alphabetically according to manufacturer and then chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogue, 8 pp

Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

The collection was acquired in August 2010.

Related Material

Correspondence, bills and estimates 1871-1904, wages sheets, 1896-1901 for Shaw & Shaw Ltd. are held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Kirklees (KC 26, KC 137).