Cultural Olympiad logo

Music Nation: Spinning a Yarn

02 March 2012

Posted by
Copyright © Abney Orchestra.Copyright © Abney Orchestra.

Looking around the small and attractive Pennine town of Mossley amidst the rolling hills and valleys it is difficult to imagine that it was once at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution.

Originally a small farming community spanning the counties of Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire, Mossley had transformed into a thriving centre of the Woollen Industry by 1800 following the advent of watermills. As the textile industry expanded so did Mossley, new steam-powered mills were built and cotton manufacturing became prevalent.

As with many industrial towns, Mossley was hit hard by the American Civil War and resulting Cotton Famine, but once the war came to an end, the cotton industry picked up and by the 1880′s Mossley had become one of the most important cotton-spinning towns in the country having in excess of one million spindles in its mills.

The First and Second World Wars took their toll on the textile industry resulting in large numbers of mill closures and while new trades came to the town many stood idle and empty until they were demolished during the latter part of the 20th Century to make way for new developments.

A few mills still remain, standing proudly on the outskirts of the town, (occupied by local business or
community groups) to bear witness to the wonderful musical tribute Mossley is paying to its heritage.
“Spinning a Yarn” is a unique piece of musical theatre performed by members of the local community and surrounding area that tells the story of Mossley before, during and after the Industrial Revolution. It has been commissioned by Abney Orchestra, a Mossley based orchestra, for Music Nation, an event being presented around the UK by the BBC and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games on 3rd and 4th March 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

For further information please visit


Post by Sonia Fuga, Abney Orchestra.

Add a comment

Keep up to date with latest news

Enter your email address below to join our mailing list: