Jane Lawson (2013)

Jane Lawson
Histories of Brierfield


I came to Brierfield with an open mind about what work I would make. I started by finding out about the town, and what I found out was so interesting that it became the focus of my work. Talking to residents about how the town is now and how it used to be, I became interested in the processes that have shaped Brierfield. The town has changed a lot since it first grew up around Brierfield Mill, and continues to change. Some of those changes are parts of general social trends; some are specific to Brierfield; and some are a mixture of different factors.

To help me understand the history of the town I created a timeline of the history of Brierfield, going back to before the town officially existed. The strands included on the timeline are: the Industrial Revolution; the railway and canal; the British Empire; the Tunstill family; the two World Wars; the construction of the Mangla Dam in Pakistan; population levels; changes in local industry; and notable local events such as the explosion at the gasometer on Christmas Day 1948 (where the only fatality was a cat). I aimed, by doing this timeline, to get a sense of how Brierfield, a special and well-loved town, sits within a broader social and historical context.


The timeline is printed on a durable, waterproof, material and is 1m x 12.5m. It has appeared outside Brierfield library, and inside Brierfield mill. It will continue to appear in Brierfield at odd or specific times…


It is subject to change as time goes by…

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to talk to me, especially:

► David and Georgia in the Library
► Geoff Cowell
► Paul Fyles
► Fiona McIntyre
► Lynne Mitchell and all at Brierfield Action in the Community
► Jen and the young people from Marsden Heights
► Joyce O’Reilly
► All at St Luke’s Soup and Social

Apologies to anyone I have missed off!


If you have anything you’d like to see included in the timeline, please e-mail [email protected]

Share This Articles