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Newtown and district
The flannel industry
  A steam-powered industry  



After the depression of the 1840s and 1850s, the flannel industry had something of a revival.
In 1859 the Llanidloes to Newtown Railway opened, and transport links improved for the town and its industry. At about the same time local factory owners began to use steam power in larger factories.
These two new developments (railways and steam power) led to a revival in the local flannel industry. Some of the first factories to convert to steam looms were those which had previously used water power.
The map below shows the location of the weaving shops and the bigger woollen mills using water or steam power.

  map of the flannel industry  
  The Cambrian Mill
This was the biggest of all the woollen mills in Wales. At its most successful it employed 500-600 men and had over 250 power looms.
Charles Hanbury Tracy was the man behind its success. He formed a company called the Cambrian Flannel Company to run the mill and then later the larger Welsh Woollen Manufacturing Company.
  Mr Tracy encouraged other local companies to co-operate with each other instead of competing. The development of the Pryce-Jones Royal Welsh Warehouse also greatly increased the demand for local cloth.
The 1881 census recorded that 31% of the workers of the town were employed in the woollen industry, mostly in the larger mills.

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