The Decline of the Cotton Industry
1920 started off as a boom year, with mills changing hands at enormous prices. The euphoria soon evaporated. By August, thirteen Blackburn mills on the Indian trade were stopped. At Christmas, the number increased to 34. In 1921, the Government of India placed an 11 per cent duty on goods entering that country. This had not been opposed by the British Government, despite protests from the Weavers, and a deputation of local M.P.’s.
The Blackburn Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution in February, 1921: "That this Chamber views with alarm the total disregard shown by H. M. Government to the justifiable interests of the cotton trade of this country." The number of mills stopped for lack of orders stayed at 34, but in 1922, when the Indian duties were raised to 14 per cent, this increased to 47, 43,000 looms were idle. In the next few years, numbers of textile firms became insolvent, and the mills closed had no hope of re-opening. There were no bids for mills which came onto the market.