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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!

QSMM Butterworth & Dickinson Loom 2681

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.


Happiness: How to Enjoy your Work

Work is something we have to do, whether we like it or not. But what if we could find ways to really enjoy work, so much that we don’t want to stop?

When a writer’s writing and an artist’s painting, they seem to enter another world. They achieve levels of concentration that make them apparently lose contact with reality and experience real happiness.

Maybe it’s one of the reasons why creative people love what they do.

During twenty years of research into aspects of happiness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered the importance of this state of ‘flow.’

The great thing is that any of us can experience it. There are six important aspects that make it so satisfying.

  • Concentration
  • Using your skills
  • Goals
  • Feeling in charge
  • Losing yourself
  • Forgetting time

It’s wonderful when you find activities that meet all these requirements. If you’d like to read more about the six keys to flow, and ways to achieve it, there’s more detail at SpeechContacts but here’s just a word of warning: make sure that you keep one foot in reality, even if it means setting a timer before you start your painting, practising your Spanish, or writing that poem.

If you don’t, you can find yourself spending so long in your own world that you lose track of things that are important, like doctor’s appointments and picking the children up from school.