By Linda Spashett Storye book via Wikimedia Commons
Much of Victorian wealth was built on the mechanisation of labour, especially in the North of England. At the beginning of the 19th Centurt, looms were set up in houses, predating the factories that later used water wheels or steam to power the looms. By the 1870s, hand weaving had almost died out.
More than half the weavers were women, and young children often missed school to work at the loom.
Only men were allowed to work in the mule-room, where the cotton was prepared for spinning, because the work was hot and dirty, so men tended to strip off. In addition, the Victorians worried that the heat might inflame passions!
Late Victorian steam -powered loom, capable of weaving striped material. By Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. (self) via Wikimedia Commons
More on spinning and weaving from John K Walton – University of Central Lancashire on the BBC legacies page.