Work and Labour

Image: Three men at Lowe’s ropeworks, Bewdley in about 1900 turning a capstan to wind rope.

[Image from: Bewdley Museum]

Men and women were employed on a variety of tasks, for instance rope spinning, rope finishing, twine finishing and labouring. Boys cleaned the raw hemp and cranked the “twisters” when yarn was spun into twine. Hours were long, up to 60 hours a week were common, and, as rope making was conducted in the open air, wet or freezing weather could make work difficult, unpleasant or impossible. The flooding of the river, a common event at Bewdley, could halt production, damage products and lead to the laying off of employees. Industrial injuries were possible. The firm’s records are not complete enough to provide evidence for early 19th century accidents, but later sources reveal show that equipment and machines could damage nails and fingers, hair could be caught in belting and workers could injure themselves slipping in icy conditions.


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943-0Rope Making 288-0Rope Making and Bewdley 279-0Lowe’s Rope and Twine Manufactory 301-0Lowe’s Rope and Twine Manufactory 272-0Work and Labour 282-0Work and Labour 273-0Products and Markets 299-0Products and Markets 286-0Rope Making: Dressing or Hackling 280-0Rope Making: Spinning 283-0Rope Making: Laying the Rope 296-0Rope Making: Inserting the Tops 285-0Rope Making: Stretching 291-0Rope: Making: Mechanisation 300-0The Decline of Rope Making