This film is part of Free

Cotton Industry, Preston

Admire the nimble-fingered cotton workers at the monumental Horrockses, Crewdson & Co cotton factory in Preston

Non-Fiction 1920 7 mins Silent


Acrobat turned filmmaker Will Onda turned out over 100 films documenting his own family’s events and holidays. He also filmed his hometown, Preston, Lancashire, in the early part of the 20th century. After swiftly covering King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to the town, this film moves on to its main subject, Preston’s cotton industry, in particular the monumental Horrockses, Crewdson & Co cotton factory on Stanley St.

As well as the classic factory gate scenes popularised in the Edwardian era, Onda ventures inside Horrockses to showcase the industrious, nimble-fingered Prestonians at work inside. John Horrocks set up the textile company in 1791 and it manufactured cotton goods that were sold all over the world for over 150 years. The vast works, known locally as the 'Yellow Factory', was demolished in the 1960s and 70s. As well as making films, entrepreneurial Will Onda ran a number of cinemas, a theatre and a dance hall. He also set up the Preston Film Service to import and distribute films to cinemas.