Site Home
 



Topic Home


John Marshall

John Marshall was the son of a linen draper with a shop at No 1, Briggate, and a house in Mill Hill. He was educated at Hipperholme School near Halifax.

In 1781 when Marshall was 16 he went to work for his father, and took over the business, inheriting an estate of £9,000 when his father died in 1787. Like Benjamin Gott he was an imaginative entrepreneur. In 1788 he leased Scotland Mill in Adel, and in partnership with Matthew Murray, he adapted cotton spinning machinery to spin flax into linen yarn.

Marshall built a new factory on Water Lane in Holbeck, which employed over 1000 workers; the machinery was driven by a steam engine made by Boulton and Watt. In 1793 he went into partnership with Thomas and Benjamin Benyon, and by 1803 theirs was the largest flax mill in the country. As well as producing yarn, the mill produced its own cloth, using hand weaving techniques. Following the end of the war with France in 1815, the flax industry expanded in Leeds, and machinery and methods were developed to spin finer yarns.

In 1840–43 Marshall built a new mill, Temple Mill on Marshall Street which covers 2 acres. It was designed by the Architect Bonomi in the style of an Egyptian Temple. The roof was made of brick supported on iron columns, and had over sixty conical glass skylights, each 14ft in diameter and rising 10ft above the roof, providing excellent lighting for the factory.  The brick roof was covered by a layer of plaster, and then waterproofed with a layer of lime and coal tar. This was then protected by eight inches of soil, sown with grass seed. The surface was drained through the hollow iron columns supporting the roof. It is said that to keep the grass short, sheep were put to graze on the roof!

Underneath the factory were a brick-vaulted cellar which housed the engines for powering the spinning machinery, and a ventilation system which kept the air at a constant temperature and humidity. There were also tradesmen's shops and private baths for the use of the mill workers. A second building with a façade in the style of the Egyptian Temple at Edfu was built two years later to house the mill offices.

John Marshall amassed a huge fortune, probably between £1½-2½ million pounds. He owned houses in Headingley and London and an estate, Hallsteads, in the Lake District.  He married Jane Pollard of Halifax, and they had five sons and six daughters. He was Member of Parliament for Yorkshire from 1826-1830, and was a founder of the Lancasterian School, the Leeds Philosophical and Literary society, and the Leeds Mechanics Institute. In 1822 he set up a school for the children who worked in his factory. John Marshall died in 1845 aged eighty.


Click images to enlarge
John Marshall
John Marshall
Marshall's factory, exterior
Marshall's factory, exterior
Marshall's factory, interior
Marshall's factory, interior
Marshall's factory, roof
Marshall's factory, roof




Site Map

© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003