Remembering Fustianopolis
- a demonstration of Fustian Cutting

Friday, 12 June 2009

The Alternative Technology Centre (ATC) invites people to find out about the history of fustian in Hebden Bridge and to see a demonstration of fustian cutting.

This will be held at the ATC, Hebble End Mill, Hebden Bridge on 20th June starting at 11.00 am. Admission is free and people are welcome to drop in any time between 11.00 and 12.30.

Fustian is the name given to various types of strong cotton cloth including corduroy, which was produced locally and made into hard wearing garments for miners, navvies and agricultural workers. From the 1870s Hebden Bridge grew into the biggest centre for this type of working class ready made clothing. While Manchester was known as Cottonopolis, and Bradford as Worstedopolis, Edwardian Hebden Bridge became known as Fustianopolis.

Fustian cutting

Photo from the Jack Uttley Collection

The ATC is also planning to use the occasion to contact people who have memories of the mills and sewing shops or old photographs of themselves or family members at work within the clothing businesses in Hebden Bridge. People are invited to bring along photographs or other items between 11.00am and 12.30 on June 20th.

This event forms part of a community based project exploring aspects of the textile industry in Hebden Bridge and district and is supported by a grant from the ‘Our Heritage’ Lottery Fund. The project will be looking at some of the earlier history of woollen production including the use of natural dye stuffs, and the spread of water powered fulling mills, built here from medieval times. The later history of cotton textiles and especially of fustian will also be covered, and there will be information on the family businesses such as Redmans and Barkers, and on the famous Nutclough Fustian Co-operative.

The project is supported by the Museum Service as well as the Hebden Bridge Local History Society and involves working with volunteers from the community and groups from local schools. The aim of the project is to produce a website, displays, and information on the sites and businesses so that visitors and local people can find their way around ‘Fustianopolis.’ 

Project Co-ordinator Justine Wyatt says “We’re very excited about this attempt to bring to life some of the social history of the area. Fustian cutting was a highly skilled handcraft that lasted here until the 1920s, and this will be the first time in many years that it has been done in Hebden Bridge’’.

For more information contact the Alternative Technology Centre Tel:01422 842121. Email:


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