A fair estimate of the manufactures of Scotland, may be formed by reference to our articles on Glasgow and Dundee. If a view be desired of nearly the whole, reference needs only to be made further to the articles on Paisley, Kilmarnock, Dunfermline, Stirling, Hawick, Galashiels, Montrose, Hamilton, Musselburgh, Irvine, Kirkcaldy, Aberdeen, East Kilpatrick, and Lasswade. Hand-loom weaving – the department most deeply affecting by far the largest class of the population interested in manufactures – was made the subject of commission inquiry in 1838, and of reports returned to the House of Commons in February, 1839. The inquiry was made in two territorial divisions; one over all Scotland south of the Forth and Clyde, including Kilsyth and ‘Campsie on the further side of the connecting canal; the other, over what the report calls the east of Scotland, but over, in point of fact, very nearly every site of a loom not included in the former division. The following table indicates, as exhibited in the report, the number of separate trades or fabrics in the country south of the Forth and Clyde, the locality of each fabric, the number of looms employed in each, and the average rate of nett wages earned in each department, and distributed into two classes, – the first being the average nett amount earned, by adult skilled artisans, on the finer qualities of the fabric, – the second being the average nett amount earned by the less skilled and younger artisans, on the coarser qualities of the fabric.
|Fabrics.||Districts where woven.||Date of Introduction.||Residence of chief manufacturers.||Number of looms.||1st Class.||2d Class.|
|Pullicates, ginghams, stripes, checks, &c.,||Lanarkshire, especially in Aidrie, Lanark, and Glasgow; also at Girvan, and other places on the west coast.||1786||Glasgow.||18,420||7s. 0d.||4s. 6d.|
|Shawls, zebras, &c.,||Paisley, Glasgow, &c.||1802 to 1806||Paisley, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.||7,750||10s. 6d.||6s. 0d.|
|Plain muslins,||Lanarkshire, Glasgow, Irvine, Hamilton, Eaglesham, &c.||1784.||Glasgow.||10,080||7s. 6d.||4s. 6d.|
|Fancy muslins, silk gauzes, &c.,||Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire.||Silk gauzes in 1760.||Paisley and Glasgow.||7,860||9s. 6d.||6s. 0d.|
|Thibets and tartans,||Thibets in Lanarkshire; a few tartans in Dalmellington, Straiton, Sanquar, and Hawick.||Thibets in 1824.||Glasgow and Hawick.||2,980||7s. 0d.||5s. 6d.|
|Carlisle ginghams,||Dumfries-shire.||“ “||Carlisle.||1,575||7s. 6d.||4s. 6d.|
|Woollens,||South-east of Scotland, Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, &c.||“ “||Galashiels, Hawick, and Jedburgh.||950||16s. 6d.||11s. 0d.|
|Carpets,||Kilmarnock, Glasgow, and Lasswade.||“ “||Kilmarnock, Glasgow, and Lasswade.||865||18s. 0d.||11s. 0d.|
|Sailcloths, coarse linens, and haircloth,||Port-Glasgow, Leith, and Musselburgh.||“ “||Port-Glasgow, Leith, and Musselburgh.||580||13s. 0d.||10s. 0d.|
More than half of the whole number of weavers are employed on the lowest paid fabrics. The number of weaving families, being to that of the looms in the proportion of 5 to 9, amounts to about 28,366; and as this number indicates all the adult male weavers, 22,694 looms must be worked by women and children. “Coupling these facts,” says the reporter, “with the great number of old men who come into the class of heads of families, and are unable to work hard, I am decidedly of opinion that not less than two-thirds of the whole number of weavers belong to the second class of wages in the above table; whilst no less than 30,075, out of the 51,060 looms, are employed on the worst paid work.” The report on the country north of the Forth, the Clyde, and the connecting canal, distributes the fabrics generally into woollen, linen, and cotton. The weavers are employed on carpets in factories, and on hard and soft tartans, and tartan shawls, in their own cottages; and “are in a condition similar to that of the other labouring classes in the country.” The manufacture of tartans is seated chiefly at Stirling and its vicinity, and at Aberdeen, employs probably 2,500 looms, and may be considered as very prosperous, and likely to improve. The linen manufacture employs about 26,000 looms; and may be distributed into harness work, heavy work, and ordinary work. The harness work, as damask table-cloths, table-covers, and napkins, is carried on almost exclusively in and near Dunfermline; has doubled the number of its looms since 1826; employed in 1838 about 3.000; exports nearly half of its produce to the United States; and yields average weekly wages of about 8s. 6d. The heavy work, as sail-cloth, broad-sheetings, floor-cloth, and some kinds of bagging, is seated principally in Dundee, Arbroath, Aberdeen, Montrose, and Kirkcaldy; employs about 4,000 looms, – all in factories; and yields weekly wages, in not rare cases, of 15s., and of not less than 8s. 6d. average. The ordinary work, as dowlas, common sheetings, and osnaburghs, may be considered as the staple linen-manufacture of Scotland, is seated principally in Forfarshire; employs from 17,000 looms in summer, to 22,000 or 23,000 in winter, – nearly all small detached buildings adjacent to the weavers’ cottages; and yields average weekly wages of from 6s. to 7s. 6d. to the first class, and from 4s. to 5s. 6d. to the second. The cotton-manufacture employs about 5,000 looms; and, next to Perth, which is its principal seat, is carried on chiefly at Dunblane, Aucbterarder, Balfron, and Kinross. The weavers, except at Perth, and in a few instances at Kirkcaldy and Aberdeen, are employed wholly by Glasgow manufacturers; and at Kinross, Dunblane, and Auchterarder, earn not more than 4s. of average weekly wages.1 From returns made to the House of Commons, by Mr. James Stuart, factory-inspector, a clear tabular view is obtained of the statistics of all the factories of Scotland in 1838.
FEMALES EMPLOYED. – In cotton-mills, 601 between 9 and 13; 10,052 between 13 and 18; and 13,981 above 18; total, 24,634. In woollen-mills, 119 between 9 and 13; 1,354 between 13 and 18; and 1,055 above 18; total, 2,528. In flax-mills, 142 between 9 and 13; 5,105 between 13 and 18; and 7,912 above 18; total, 13,159. In silk-mills, 74 between 9 and 13; 253 between 13 and 18; and 220 above 18; total, 547. No children under 9 were employed in any of the factories.
The soap-manufacture is of large aggregate, and is carried on at Leith, Prestonpans, Aberdeen, Montrose, Glasgow, and Paisley. – The manufacture of kelp, once producing above £200,000 yearly, has nearly ceased since the reduction of the duty on barilla and salt. The iron trade – which is great and increasing – belongs principally to Lanarkshire, Fifeshire, Carron, and Muirkirk, and will be well understood by reference to the articles on these localities, and to those on Glasgow, and the Monklands. The distillation of spirits produced, in 1708, 50,844 gallons; in 1791, 1,696,000 gallons; in 1831, 6,021,556 imperial gallons for home consumption, and 149,849 for exportation to England; and in 1838, 6,124,035 imperial gallons for home consumption. 2,215,329 for exportation to England, and 861,069 for exportation to Ireland. The following is a return of the proof gallons of spirits distilled in each collection of excise, and within the limits of the head-office of excise in Scotland, in each year, from 10th October 1839 to 10th October 1841, and showing the total proof gallons for each of these years:-
1 Originally, hand-loom weaving was in the British islands, as it continues to be in general on the continent of Europe, a domestic occupation. At first, indeed, the weaver was both capitalist and labourer, as the linen-weaver is still in many parts of the north of Ireland. He and his family there cultivate the flax, heckle it, spin it into yarn, weave it, and sell the web in the linen-market. This almost total absence of the division of labour is, however, confined to the material and the district that we have mentioned. In every other branch of weaving, even in Ireland, and in every branch in Great Britain, with the unimportant exception of a small class of weavers called customer-weavers in the north of England and in Scotland, the material is supplied by the capitalist or manufacturer (generally called the putter out of work) to the weaver, and he is paid on returning a given quantity of finished cloth. In most cases the loom belongs to the weaver, or is hired by him. If he has not a loom, he must work either at a loom belonging to some other weaver, or at one belonging to a manufacturer. In the former case he is called a journeyman, and the weaver at whose loom he works a master weaver: the journeyman has no immediate connexion with the manufacturer, and receives from his own immediate employer, the master weaver, a fixed portion, generally two-thirds, of the price which the former receives from the manufacturer. The weaver who works on the looms belonging to a manufacturer is called a factory-weaver, or shop-weaver, a designation arising from the circumstance that the manufacturers’ looms are placed in his manufactory, or as it is usually called, his shop. Neither the factory-weavers, nor the journeymen, form large portions of the weaving population. The bulk of the hand-loom weavers own or hire their own looms, keep them in their own cottages, and perform themselves, assisted by their wives and children, both the weaving and the operations which are subsidiary to it. – Report of the Commissioners on the condition of the Hand-loom Weavers, dated February 19, 1841.