Stalybridge Bread Riots feature on rock album

By Jodie Saville

THE Stalybridge Bread riots, sparked by the Lancashire cotton famine in the 1860s, feature in a debut album to be released by band Mother of Order.

Warp and Weft, the progressive folk album created by band members Martin Hall and Cath Rogan will be released on February 29.

It features poems from the time collected by Exeter University as well as original songs by the band.

When the Guardian newspaper published an article about a poems, Martin and Cath were enthralled.

Cath said: “As soon as we heard about the poems, we wanted to do something about the Cotton Famine.

“It’s a piece of working-class history which doesn’t get taught in schools and is largely forgotten.”

In the early 1800s, the cotton industry boomed, driven largely by Lancashire, but suffered a dramatic decline due to the American Civil War as a huge amount of Britain’s cotton was imported from the United States.

Without these materials, cotton production ceased in 1861, resulting in mill closures and mass unemployment across the region.

Mother of Order has dedicated one of its songs to the riots of Stalybridge, one of the worst hit towns.

Most of its factories were closed resulting in loss of jobs. The local people were left dependent on schemes, where the local government provided them with money.

Residents were outraged when the local relief committee decided to replace money with tickets for food.

The locals refused to accept the change and mobs looted shops.

Fights broke out on the streets and Stalybridge police used cutlasses to control them.

Martin and Cath embarked on a voyage on a narrowboat to Stalybridge Civic Hall from Poynton where the cutlasses are now on display.

They have played together since 2013 in cover bands, but it was not until they were teaching ukulele classes at a Festival in Kent, that they decided to come together and form Mother of Order.

They are pleased with how the album turned out.

“I think the main feeling is one of pride and fulfilment.” Martin added: “We wanted to make sure that we recognised the people we were singing about and that we did them justice.

“We believe we’ve done something that does that.”

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