He started work at the age of seven in a ropeworks, attending the wheel of a rope-spinner for ten hours a day, and on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings toiled in a barber's shop. He afterwards became a gasworker, and in 1889 he helped to found the National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers, becoming its general secretary.
The town possesses agricultural implement works, coachbuilding works, breweries, ropeworks, planing and sawing mills, and corn and oil-cake mills.
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