As a result of the American Civil War the Cotton Famine of 1861 saw the disruption of cotton supplies which had severe economic consequences for everyone involved in the cotton industry. At Stanley, a graphic account of the state of the village survived in a poem by John Campbell (alias Will Harrow)


The traffic in our grass-grown streets are thinning,

( A donkey on the verdure fondly browses),

And none are left, alas! To do the spinning

Except the spiders in the empty houses,

Here merry maids the smooth footpaths have trod,

Like blooming rose -buds linked by twos and threes,

With swift feet tripping o’er the sylvan road -

Their snowy kirtles waving in the breeze,


‘It was a merry place in days of yore,

But something ails it now - the place is curst‘,

For long the wolf’s been howling at the door,

And now into our midst the brute has burst’

And from its hungry glare the fleet did flee,

Some to St Mungo - others hied to Blair -

But most have winged their flight to sweet Dundee,

Hoping to get a crust and welcome, there.


John Campbell was born at Charleston Farm, near Stanley, in 1808 and died in the Perth workhouse in 1892. He had been active in **Chartist politics in Dundee and was known as ‘Chartist John’. His poem  ’ A Voice from Stanley Mills’ is dated 1863.

(** Note: Deriving its name from the Peoples Charter, Chartism was a radical British democratic movement, mainly of the working classes, which flourished around 1838-50)