In the United Kingdom, the term "mill town" usually refers to the 19th century textile manufacturing towns of northern England and the Scottish Lowlands, particularly those in Lancashire (cotton) and Yorkshire (wool).
Some former mill towns have a symbol of the textile industry in their town badge. Some towns may have statues dedicated to textile workers (e.g. Colne ) or have a symbol in the badge of local schools (e.g. Ossett School).
|Cheshire mill towns|
|Derbyshire mill towns|
|Greater Manchester mill towns||
Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Chadderton, Failsworth, Heywood, Hyde, Lees, Leigh, Manchester, Middleton, Oldham, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom, Reddish, Rochdale, Royton, Shaw and Crompton, Stalybridge, Stockport, Wigan
|Lancashire mill towns|
|Yorkshire mill towns||
Batley, Bingley, Bradford, Brighouse, Cleckheaton, Dewsbury, Elland, Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Keighley, Morley, Mytholmroyd, Ossett, Pudsey, Shipley, Skipton, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden, Yeadon
The list below includes some towns where textiles was not the predominant industry. For example, mining was a key industry in Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester, and in Ossett in Yorkshire.
Spindleage of Lancashire mill towns producing spun cotton between 1830 and 1962
On his tour of northern England in 1849, Scottish publisher Angus Reach said:
In general, these towns wear a monotonous sameness of aspect, physical and moral... In fact, the social condition of the different town populations is almost as much alike as the material appearance of the tall chimneys under which they live. Here and there the height of the latter may differ by a few rounds of brick, but in all essential respects, a description of one is a description of all.— Angus Reach, Morning Chronicle, 1849
Beginning with technological information smuggled out of England by Francis Cabot Lowell, large mills were established in New England in the early to mid 19th century. Mill towns, sometimes planned, built and owned as a company town, grew in the shadow of the industries. The region became a manufacturing powerhouse along rivers like the Housatonic, Quinebaug, Shetucket, Blackstone, Merrimack, Nashua, Cocheco, Saco, Androscoggin, Kennebec or Winooski.
In the 20th century, alternatives to water power were developed, and it became more profitable for companies to manufacture textiles in southern states where cotton was grown and winters did not require significant heating costs. Finally, the Great Depression acted as a catalyst that sent several struggling New England firms into bankruptcy.
|Maryland mill towns|
|Laurel Mill (Laurel Factory)||New Jersey mill towns|
|Alabama mill towns||
Fairfax (Fairfax Mill and Fair View Mill), Lanett (Lanett Mill), Langdale (Langdale Mill), Sylacauga (Avondale Mill), Opelika (Opelika Mill), River View (Riverdale Mill), Shawmut (Shawmut Mill), Valley (Carter/Lanier Mill)
|Arkansas mill towns|
|Georgia mill towns|
|North Carolina mill towns||
Alamance, Bellemont, Burlington, Bynum, Canton, Carolina, Carrboro, Cliffside, Concord, Cooleemee, Drexel, Edgemont (East Durham), Enka, North Carolina, Falls, Glen Raven, Glencoe, Hanes, Haw River, High Shoals, Hildebran, Kannapolis, Long Shoals, McAdenville, Mooresville, Mount Holly, North Carolina, Rhodhiss, Riegelwood, Roanoke Rapids, Sawmills, Saxapahaw, Spencer Mountain, Swepsonville, West Durham, West Hillsborough
|South Carolina mill towns||
Cateechee, Central, Cherokee Falls, Columbia (Olympia and Granby Mills), Fort Mill, Graniteville, Great Falls, Joanna, La France, Lockhart, Lyman, Newry, Pacolet Mills, Pelzer, Piedmont, Slater, Ware Shoals, Watts Mills, Whitmire
|Illinois||Carrier Mills, Harrisburg|
- Company town
- Industrial district
- Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
- Old Great Falls Historic District, Paterson, NJ
- Williams, Mike; Farnie (1992). Cotton Mills of Greater Manchester. Carnegie Publishing. ISBN 0-9487898-9-1
- Powell, Rob (1986). In the Wake of King Cotton. Rochdale Art Gallery. p. 12.
Museums and historic sites
- American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA
- Belknap Mill Society Museum, Laconia, NH
- Berlin and Coös County Historical Society, Berlin, NH
- Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket, RI
- Lowell National Historic Park, Lowell, MA
- Lynn Heritage State Park, Lynn, MA
- The Millyard Museum, Manchester, NH
- Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley National Historic Corridor
- San Jose de Suaita Cotton Mill Museum
- Southern Textile Heritage Corridor, Vir, NC, SC, Ga, Al
- Museum Lewiston-Auburn, Lewiston, ME