There were textile mills, including cotton spinning alongside Balm Beck at back of Hunslet Chapel.7
Hunslet’s industrialisation started in the 18th century. The Aire and Calder navigation opened to Leeds Bridge in 1700 providing a trade link with the outside world and from about 1758 the Leeds to Wakefield road surface was improved by a turnpike trust. There was also local coal and clay; the latter was used to make bricks and pots.7
During the 1700s other industries in addition to cloth manufacture developed, such as flax spinning, iron working, chemicals and pottery. These may have been encouraged by the growth of coal mining in Belle Isle and Middleton.2
The Fentons were an important local family and coal owners. In 1739 Abraham Fenton opened a colliery in Hunslet.
Charles Brandling inherited the Middleton Estate and its collieries. He built the famous Middleton Railway to get coal more easily and cheaply to the Leeds market. It began in 1755 with a wooden waggonway for horse-drawn vehicles to the river at Thwaite Gate, probably via Woodhouse Hill. It closed in 1807.
A new waggonway was built that branched from the 1755 line at Belle Isle and ran via Old Run Road to Old Run Cottages and along Moor Road to the river near Meadow Lane south of Leeds centre. It was the first railway to require an authorising Act of Parliament. The waggonway was still horse-drawn, except for the incline down to Hunslet Moor, which was operated by a winding engine. From 1812 steam locos replaced the horses.11
Six potteries followed the coal mining. Then iron founding (from 1770, and by Salt and Gothard from 1772). There was a brewery by 1763, and chemical works in Jack Lane 1798.7
John Wesley preached at Hunslet Parish Church on 30th July 1769.
1700 to 1800
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