MILL STREET, Wollaton Street, 1914

Even Mr. Hammond has had difficulty in finding any beauty in this street which has unfortunately lost its old name and is now called 'Bow Street'. But what it lacks in picturesqueness it makes up in interest, for the house on its left side with the arches in its lower story is part of the first cotton mill in the world, and looking at it one is apt to regret that the industry did not develop in Nottingham as it did in later times in Manchester.

James Hargreaves was an illiterate weaver born at Standhill near Blackburn in 1718. He invented a device whereby a hand turned wheel set in motion a number of spindles, and so, very much increased the speed of spinning. This machine was spoken of as a spinning engine, and as 'Gen' was the colloquial term for engine, his machine quickly became known as the 'Spinning Gen' or 'Spinning Jenny'.

Hargreaves' ignorant neighbours, fearing lest his invention should take away their livelihood, wrecked his home and broke up his models and in sheer desperation he had to fly from Blackburn. He came to Nottingham where he met with Thomas James, who in 1767 assisted him to build the mill which Mr. Hammond shows us and some portions of which are still standing. Within its walls he carried on business with varying fortunes until his death in the year 1778. Although Hargreaves' work has been of such enormous importance to the world at large, it is interesting to remember that on his death his widow's share of the business was only valued at £400.