Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
The flannel industry
  Working for a hard master  

In the early Victorian period local hand-loom weavers were experiencing real hardship in the area. Those working at home found that they were being paid a tiny amount by the cloth traders who bought their finished cloth. Some of them got into difficulties and were forced to give up their independence and go to work in a weaving shop for a poor wage.

  Tokens by kind permission of
Mr Cyrus Meredith

In the new weaving shops their welfare depended on the weaving master who employed them. Many weaving masters set up shops for their workers and paid them in tokens instead of money (see above). The workers could only spend these tokens in the company shops and would have to pay the high prices set by the weaving masters. When the new schools started in Llanidloes, many workers found they could not send their children because they did not have the penny per week fee.

Weavers in the Severn valley were angry about the situation and anxious to avoid the harsh new workhouses. Many of them became Chartists and took part in the demonstrations at the time. (See pages on the Chartists in Llanidloes). .

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