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Home of Richard Arkwright
Arkwright House, Stoneygate, Preston, Lancashire
Home of Richard Arkwright
associated engineer
Sir Richard Arkwright
date  not known
era  Georgian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SD541292
photo  Paul Dunkerley
Richard Arkwright, a key figure in the Industrial Revolution, was born in Preston on 23rd December 1732. He and his second wife rented a room in this three storey house in 1768, when he was working on his famous invention — a 'water frame' for the mechanical spinning of cotton.
Arkwright had a colourful career. He was the son of Thomas Arkwright, a tailor, and was apprenticed to a barber in Kirkham before moving to follow that occupation in Bolton around 1750.
The Spinning Jenny, which could handle up to 80 cotton spindles, was invented in 1767 by James Hargreaves. The mechanism was hand worked. Arkwright became interested in cotton spinning and, working with Warrington clockmaker John Kay, he developed a method of mechanical spinning using water for power.
In 1768, he moved back to his birthplace and moved into this house in Stoneygate. It was the home of the headmaster of Preston Grammar School, and is now known as Arkwright House.
The water frame was patented in 1769, by which time Arkwright had moved to Nottingham. His search for a suitable site for a water-driven mill ended in 1771 on the banks of the River Derwent in Cromford, Derbyshire. By 1789, he employed 800 persons at Cromford Mill, including some children. Cromford Mill was the world's first water powered cotton spinning mill.
Arkwright took out several other patents, though they were declared void in 1785, by which time he as a wealthy man in any case. He was knighted in 1786 and died on 3rd August 1792, having earned the title 'Father of the Factory System'.
Research: PD
www.lancashirepioneers.com/arkwright/biog.asp
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Home of Richard Arkwright