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Scottish Cotton


The first cotton mill was built at Rothesay by an English company in 1779, though Penicuik also lays claim to priority. The Rothesay mill was soon afterwards acquired by David Dale, who was the agent for Sir Richard Arkwright, and had the invaluable aid of his counsel and advice. Dale also established cotton factories in 1785 at New Lanark, afterwards so closely associated with the socialistic schemes of his son-in-law, Robert Owen.

The counties of Lanark and Renfrew became the principal seats of the industry. The great majority of the cotton factories being concentrated though in Glasgow, Paisley and the neighbouring towns, but the industry extended in other districts of the west and was also represented in the counties of Aberdeen, Perth and Stirling.

As compared with England, however, the manufacture soon stagnated. The number of hands employed in I850 was 34,325, in 1875 it was 35,652 and in 1901 (including bleachers, dyers, printers, calenderers, &c.) it was only 34,057.

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