Copy of Newspaper Announcement, 7th April 1780, courtesy of Dr. Jane Holmes of Auckland.

The Hall and Tunaley Silk Throwster Firm



On 7th April 1780, a Silk Throwster's Notice appeared in the Derby Mercury on behalf of the "Association of Silk Throwsters." This notice included the nine members of the

association set up to inform that any stealer of silk or silk waste would be prosecuted. One of the nine members of the firm was "Hall and Tunaley" (see table below).




Joseph Needham in the list above was the son of George Needham, Robert Tunaley's father-in-law by Robert's first marriage to Mary Needham (click here).


A background to this notice can be found in the book "The Strutts and the Arkwrights, 1758-1830: A Study of the Early Factory System" By R. S. Fitton, Alfred P. Wadsworth

Manchester University First Published 1958.

It seems the Association of Throwsters was formed by the Strutts themselves in 1778 to deter general unrest caused by developments in spinning jenny factories that were being

set up with the latest machines too big or expensive to be used domestically. It is likely that the Hall and Tunaley firm was one of these jenny factories.

It further appears that Jedediah Strutt and his associate Samuel Need acquired wealth by hiring out weaving frames to home workers providing the home worker with spun silk yarn

at the start of the week and collecting the woven fabric at the end. The worker was duly paid for the work and the fabric sold on to London agents, presumably at considerable

profit. According to the "The Strutts and the Arkwrights, 1758-1830" book, Jedediah left receipts showing that some of the spinning, at least, was carried out by the Old Silk


Hence it is possible that the Hall and Tunaley firm was a similar enterprise but on a smaller scale. Whether the Tunaley in the Hall and Tunaley name was the original Thomas

Tunaley or his son (also Thomas) is currently unknown but one might reasonably assume both Tunaleys were involved with one assisting the other.

There is some irony with regards to the unrest that took place, particularly in Nottingham, which included attacks on Samuel Need's property. Whilst much of the silk spinning

was now taking place in factories, far more yarn was being produced and providing more work for the home weavers.

However, this period was evidently short-lived. From 1778 onwards (click here for Timeline) Strutt and Arkwight were building large factory silk and cotton-spinning factories

and in 1784 power weaving (in addition to spinning) using water power started following the inventions of the Yorkshire engineer and clergyman Edmund Cartwright. Possibly, the

rioters of Nottingham had foreseen the longer-term consequences.

With silk-spinning now in full factory production, it seems it was now the turn of the smaller jenny factories to feel the pressure. Copies of notices provided by Dr. Jane

Holmes show the following:

1. Notice of 4th February 1780: the bankruptcy of Mr. Anthony Wild Jnr. and Mrs. Mary Wild, owners of a silk mill in Full Street. This Anthony Wild is presumably the same person

who appears in the notice put out by the Association of Throwsters 7th April 1780.

2. Notice of 9th February 1781: Sale of the Wild silk mill in Full Street.

3. A further two notices of March and June 1789 show another silk mill owned by a Mr. George Ward evidently in the process of being sold off in Nun's Green, Derby.

It is logical that these small spinning mills would have become obsolete within a short space of time, overpowered as they would have been by the larger mills including those of

Strutt and Arkwright.

(Indeed, by the 1790s and about which the author can find little detail (information generally concentrates on Strutts' Belper mills) William Strutt, one of Jedediah's sons, had

designed a mill that stretched from the Cornmarket in Derby to the Morledge (click here). By 1820, this "mill" was in a reality a cotton mill. a silk mill and a calico mill. The

only reminder of this mill today is a plaque commemorating this mill in what is now Osnabruck Square. (Whilst the mill was designed by William Strutt it was run by another

Strutt son, Joseph, whose residence (Thorntree House) was opposite the mill on the corner of St. Peter's Street and is now the Derby headquarters of the H.S.B.C.).


The Start of Dyeing


Further information provided by Dr. Jane Holmes sheds light on what subsequently took place:

A silk throwster's notice dated 23 June 1785, and similar to the one detailed above, no longer includes the Hall and Tunaley business. Instead, only Henry Hall

(whose business had moved to Nottingham) is mentioned of the original pair.

The notice includes the following businesses:




(N.B. The list contains the name of Lamech Swift who had taken over the management of the Old Silk Mill in 1780 (click here).

4. Given the economic pressures now exerted on the smaller silk spinning businesses as detailed above, it seems likely this was the time the Tunaleys

abandoned the silk spinning business and moved into dyeing.

5. At some stage, the Tunaleys purchased premises, additional to Full Street, on an area of land called "The Holmes". Exactly when the purchase took place is

currently unknown, i.e. whether this was before or after the Hall and Tunaley silk throwing business ceased.

(For detailed information regarding the location of the Holmes premises click here).

6. There is also the assumed death in 1781 of the younger Thomas Tunaley (for details click here) who was married to Catherine Hefford). His son, also Thomas

Tunaley, dubbed here "Thomas Snr." and born 1772, was the fourth child and first son of this family. One might assume Thomas Snr. at the early age of

9/10 years of age then began learning the art of dyeing with the hands-on help of his grandfather, the original Thomas Tunaley.


In any event, the Tunaleys must have prospered in this new industrial climate in order to have subsequently purchased the large Tenant Street premises. Even before the Hall and

Tunaley notice of 1780, John Hezekiah Tunaley had married Sarah Nelson in 1777 at St George Hanover Square, a civil parish in the metropolitan area of London, England. Civil

parish administration, known as a select vestry, was dominated by members of the British nobility until the parish adopted the Vestries Act 1831.

What is also known is that the subsequent Tunaley dye house on Tenant Street backed on to the Strutts' three mills mentioned above. An 1832 plan of this Strutt complex shows

that it had its own dye house but with the mushrooming of the cotton and silk mills would have come a corresponding and considerable demand for dyeing facilities. No doubt as a

consequence, Thomas Tunaley Jnr. was able to set up his own successful silk dye house on Derwent Street with Thomas Snr. evidently concentrating on the dyeing of cotton fabics

at Tenant Street.

Moreover, by moving into dyeing, an area with which they would already have been familiar,, the Tunaleys found an answer to the accelerating industrial developments elsewhere.

Dyeing was not subject to changes of similar magnitude at that time. These changes would occur some years later with the coming of the railways.




The Early Tunaleys and A Timeline

George Sorocold: "The First British civil engineer"

Investigations into the Geographical Origins of the Tunaley Name

Early Tunaleys - the Feltmaker, the Throwster, the Innkeeper and the Merchant Tailor

Huguenot Connection to the Silk Mill

Back to Tree

Phil Tunaley