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Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s



By Michael Moss

Riverside, Anderston In the early 1720s James Anderson, who owned Stobcross, tried to establish a village there that he modestly named Anderston. By 1735 there was a small community of handloom weavers living along Main Street and in 1758 the Incorporation of Weavers of Glasgow laid out a new road called Bishop Street. Eleven years later the first web of muslin to be woven in Scotland was produced in the village by James Monteith. Over the next thirty years Anderston became an important centre of the textile trades. In the early 1800s William Gillespie built a large steam powered mill in Cheapside Street to be followed by Henry Houldsworth, who had originally worked for him. Nevertheless the trade continued to be dominated by handloom weavers.

Between 1801 and 1831 the population of the village grew more rapidly than that of Glasgow itself, reaching 11,600, many of them Irish immigrants. After much agitation the village became a "burgh of barony" in 1824 with its own town council. By the 1830s the handloom trade was in decline, unable to compete with the factories. Feelings amongst handloom weavers against factory workers ran high. In 1837 one of the local factory workers was shot and five members of the Association of Operative Cotton-Spinners were accused of murder. Their trial and the "not proven" verdict roused enormous public interest. Of more pressing concern to the burgh was the serious outbreak of typhus in 1837, which led to the establishment of a board of health in 1838. After just twenty years of existence the Burgh of Anderston became part of Glasgow in 1846.

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