Arkwright's Stanley Mill


  By Exile


  Before  Cliff Richards “Living Doll”

When Abbie Duff and Kenny Paul,

Were apprentices tae Watty Wilks

An’ Hugh Kerr Currie delivered milk,

When chimney sweeps went up on roofs,

An' homosexuals were known as ‘poofs’

When Stanley Mills manufactured cotton,

An’ two World Wars were not forgotten, 

An Daddy Hughes made a’ decisions,

Aboot the school bairns’ education,

Reading, writing, art and geography,

Religious Instruction, PE and history

Through music, domestic and rural science,

The rule of the day was, general compliance,

We recited our ‘tables’, memorised crap,

Rigidly enforced wae’ a broad leather strap,

Middle class academics, who teachers became,

Lacked imagination, and must take the blame,

Yes, memorise poetry like Burns ‘Tae a Mouse’,

Enjoy the exploits of Wallace and Bruce,

But what of the importance of our river Tay,

Or why Stanley is where it is to-day,

When we left  school, far too many,

Were ignorant of Arkwright’s Spinning Jenny,

Academy boys were taught Latin an’ French,

While Secondary boys were taught skills at a bench,

But nobody told us of Arkwrights plan,

Was it because he was an Englishman?

Who had the foresight and the vision,

The strength an' support to make the decision,

To establish a cotton mill on the Tay

And build a village called ‘Stanley’

Nobody told us of the old corn mill,

Which George Dempster owned at the bottom of the hill,

Then in 1784 Richard Arkwright came along,

And bought the whole thing for a song,

By 1790 his design was complete,

With an underground water tunnel of 800 feet,

Innovative, inventive, revolutionary and grand,

The biggest industrial complex in all of the land,

Starting wae Bell Mill at the bottom o’ Well Brae,

Then East Mill and Mid Mill, the history books say,

Scotland’s Industrial Revolution began at this site,

Thanks to the genius of Sir Richard Arkwright

  And nobody told us that at the top of the brae,

A grid pattern village which is still there to-day,

Was built on land owned by the fourth Duke of Atholl,

Previously mixed woodland and grazing for cattle,

Designed by James Stobie, the Marquis’s factor,

Named after Lady Stanley, the 1st Dukes benefactor,

So sadness befalls me to think of this plight,

Those middle class teachers who always seemed right,

But lacked imagination, suppressed it in others,

Promoted the dim, with well connected mothers,

An’ did they suppose we knew the Mill's history,

Revolutionary genius, successes and misery,

Surviving the hardship of Napoleonic wars,

The cotton famine, industrial laws,

The Mill interned bodies, in atrocious conditions,

Child labour, exploitation, poverty, malnutrition,

What absorbing ingredients went into the pot,

What stories went untold of Arkwright’s great plot,

So to a’ Stanley people, the young and the old,

Remember this great human story, that never was told.