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The Marchbanks of Cowling
Supplied by: Robert Wildeman
I discovered a few months ago when researching my family tree that my Great Great Granduncles son William Marchbank born in 1826 in Bradford, came to Cowling and influenced and shaped its development.

He married into the well known local family of Emmott, marrying Ann Emmott in September 1845. William was already a successful businessman in Bradford and set up his Grocers shop on Road Side in Cowling. It is said he invented and connected a telephone line from his house at Lane Ends to the house at the other end of the row.

When John Binns of Cowling started to build his first Woollen Mill in 1851 money soon ran out when he had only reached the first storey of the building. He then found a partner in William Marchbank who was "of more education, an interesting personality and a versatile man".

The Mill was finally completed and they started trading as Binns and Marchbank and started with 80 looms. They also sub-let to William Watson who also had 80 looms and John Snowden who had 56 looms.
The first loom was started by a Mrs Elizabeth Bradley in 1852. The firm were Worsted Weavers and the cloth woven was known as “Camlet”. It was 33 inches wide by 57 yards long and weighed 19 ˝ lbs. It was sold through the Bradford merchants to the Russian and Baltic armies.

In 1865 the tenants were given notice to leave and Binns and Marchbank bought some power looms from William Shuttleworth who had tried power weaving and failed. They then became the sole occupiers and in 1867 had 260 looms operating.

In 1872 the partnership was amicably dissolved, his sons John and Thomas Binns took over the business. William Marchbank continued operating at Royd Mill Shed and in 1875 had a total of 298 looms. This Mill was locally known as the “Baulk” named after the Baulk engine that was used in the early days

William Marchbank laid the foundation stone for the Liberal Club and Institute, now Village Hall on 31st October 1885 and presented it to the people of Cowling for their social use

Thomas Watson married Miss Mary Marchbank in 1875 and they carried on the business after her Fathers death in November 1890 aged 64. The business was subsequently sold to Thomas Binns in September 1898 who's family ran it until 1971.

William Marchbank did a great deal for the development of Cowling and improved the livelihood of its people and ensured its prosperity

By Robert Wildeman
Marchbank's memorial stone at St Peters, Crosshills.

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