Historic Trades and Industry

Fully indexing all historic professions and industries once held in Huthwaite could well begin with Church Wardens. From 1127ad, they were appointed to look after the parish building, and with meetings held in a vestry to oversee everyday congregational concerns, they in turn established local governments. Being designated within those ancient Sutton-in-Ashfield parish boundaries is what closely tied Huthwaite to that larger township. Both share centuries of rural growth before influential industrial advancements led to this secondary hamlet gaining its own District Council, plus parish, with aims for independent town status.

A Woodward surname may hark back to jobs when wild woodlands still covered majority of England. Ruling kings reserved vast areas for the royal pleasures of hunting, and open lands containing game or valuable resources such as timber were heavily protected by a county Sheriff. When asserting later boundaries of a still great Sherwood Forest, the Nottingham court appears insistent in referencing a much older Hucknall division as alternative addressing for an originally named and otherwise insignificant Huthwaite settlement. Like adjoining foul woods of Fulwood being locally overlooked by a Hucknall Huthwaite Woodward, naming Dirty Hucknall also descriptively suggests an area of worthless timbers on poorest farmland. Here would similarly be proven to be of no loss to the kings treasury by granting free common land for grazing livestock.

Agriculture just managed to keep supporting a steadily growing parish, until a nationwide population boom. Numbering a Sutton total of around 3,492 in 1793, the emerging town acquired its first water driven factory. Huthwaite generally continued maintaining about a fifth that number, and outgrowing the principle form of employment once offered by several farms, homes here also welcomed mass introduction of hand frame knitting machines. Those wooden machines kicked of a huge cottage industry, and by mid 19th century the occupation of FWK supported majority of working families. A wide variety of smaller trades plus community shops had also emerged, even though listings are more readily outnumbered by established Publicans.

Coal dug from exposed seams evidently first provided farm labourers with alternative seasonal work. Small bell pits next peppered lower meadows of Hucknall-under-Huthwaite to begin replacing charcoal for firing kilns and furnaces. They would attract some skilled full time miners. Vague numbers do seem insignificant when unable to fulfill our own manorial towns industrial expansion. A Mansfield and Pinxton Railway Co. commenced its 1817 tramway affording greater supplies of Derbyshire coal. When this mineral started steaming up an industrial revolution, it led Nottinghamshire collieries into accessing far deeper seams.

Located upon the county border, Huthwaite is triangulated between the manufacturing cities of Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield, plus ancient market towns of Mansfield, Alfreton and Chesterfield. Its rapid expansion into the 20th century came after sinking a modern New Hucknall Colliery. A dangerous industry from which proud miners can claim a far longer heritage beyond lastly presenting a prospering mining community.

This pride however, may overshadow historic importance and far wider repute built from hosiery and textile manufacturing. Use of FrameWork Knitting machines greatly helped in expanding a rural Hucknall-under-Huthwaite hamlet into a notably sized Hucknall Huthwaite village. The colliery then undeniably invited the biggest influx of workers, although a massive CWS factory extended our established name in hosiery, to be further continued by a Meritina textile factory. Because these employed mainly women, lesser paid factory work became looked down upon as a secondary industry, possibly unaware of actual numbers involved.

FarmingMining Black GoldHosiery

The two major Huthwaite industries were finally closed before entering the present millenium. A Fulwood industrial estate continues to expand without creating much need for manpower. There is nonetheless yet another housing boom, this time around to cover past industrial sites alongside scenic reforested parks.


Written 05 Nov 07 Revised 22 Jul 14 © by Gary Elliott