The Crowther family was one of the most prominent and successful families in the Colne Valley, Huddersfield, for many years. They were particularly influential in the textile industry, and their mills in Milnsbridge were among the largest and most productive in the region.
The family’s involvement in the textile industry began in the early 19th century with John Crowther, a Golcar man who started business in 1840 at Lees Mill. In 1863, his sons Joseph, William, and Elon joined the business, and in 1865, John Crowther died.
Two years later, in 1867, the business was moved to Bank Bottom Mills in Marsden and was carried on as John Crowther and Sons, by the three sons, until 1871, when William and Elon retired to establish the firm of W. and E. Crowther Ltd.
Mills in Milnsbridge
Joseph Crowther had continued to run John Crowther and Sons alone until he took his youngest brother, John Edwards, into partnership in 1882. In 1883 they purchased two mills in Milnsbridge, Union Mills and Stanley Mills. They began producing woolen cloth, and their business was very successful.
1931 – Breaking the record for making a suite
On Wednesday, 24th June 1931, Joseph Crowther and Sons broke a record in partnership with Prices Ltd, a local tailors from Leeds. The task was to make a suite, from sheep to wearer, in the quickest time possible.
The record was first set in Pennsylvania by a man from Bradford, Thomas Kitson. His current record was six hours and four minutes.
Joseph Crowther and Sons managed the task in two hours and ten minutes. This showed the hard work, skill and dedication of the Milnsbridge staff.
The Crowther Family’s influence in Milnsbridge
The Crowther family’s mills in Milnsbridge played an important role in the economic and social development of the village. They provided employment for hundreds of people, and they helped to make Milnsbridge one of the most prosperous villages in the Colne Valley.
The Crowther family’s influence in Milnsbridge can still be seen today. Union Mill has been converted into residential flats, but it remains a landmark building in the village.
The Crowther family made a significant contribution to the Colne Valley, Huddersfield, and to Milnsbridge in particular. They were not only successful businessmen and philanthropists, but they were also active in public life.
John Edward Crowther was a member of the West Riding County Council, and he served as Mayor of Huddersfield in 1902-1903. His son, Philip D. Crowther, also served on the West Riding County Council and was a director of several textile companies.
Their legacy continues to be felt today.
This family biography was pieced together with information from the book “Colne Valley Folk” by Ernest Lockwood, published in 1936. A downloadable PDF can be purchased from Huddersfield Exposed.