History of the Linen Industry

The clacking of looms used to be heard all over Knaresborough. What was life like for the handloom weavers compared to that of the mill owners and manufacturers? Why did Queen Victoria play an important part in Knaresborough’s story of the linen industry? How was linen produced? What caused the rise and fall of the linen industry in Knaresborough.

Linen production was central in the development of Knaresborough, but there is little evidence left in Knaresborough of that industry today, other than a few buildings with ‘mill’ in their name.

Our research has been delving into historical records and commissioned reports on the lives of the people involved in the linen industry, tracing this story from medieval times up to the closure of the last mill.

Access to special archives from family businesses, whose roots go back to the heyday of the industry, and to personal accounts collected from residents who took part in our ‘Memories Project’, has enabled us to bring this fascinating story to life.