Shoddy and Mungo in Ossett

Over 200 years ago, Ossett was covered in fields and farmland, but one day out of the blue, mills were created to make shoddy....

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The Ossett coat of arms with the Ossett motto.

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You may be questioning yourself what is shoddy? Well shoddy is a poor quality fabric that is knitted to make a cloth therefore the motto of Ossett (the skill of making the useless useful) came from shoddy. It was very popular during the mid-1800s until the late 1970s.

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Opening in 1870, Edward Clay and Son is a large stone mill that is still working today. Interestingly, Edward Clay was well known for being the first mayor of Ossett. In addition, he lived directly next to his mill on Wesley street as there weren't so many cars at the time, so he could walk to work easily. As Ossett's textile industry developed, the community grew as many people moved to the town and began to apply for work. Now, Edward Clay and Son is a factory that makes bedding.

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Wesley street rag warehouse

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Working conditions in the mills were extremely poor. However, even though machines were harmful, and many people suffered from getting stuck, hundreds of people worked there. Because the mills were deafeningly loud, the worker's sharp hearing was damaged, and shockingly, children were forced to clamber into dangerous machines to fix them. Moreover, Shoddy fever was extremely common in the mills as many people found it very had to breath at times.

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