A bleachfield or croft was an open area of land (usually a field) used for spreading cloth and fabrics on the ground to be bleached by the action of the sun and water. They were usually found in and around mill towns in Great Britain and were an integral part of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.
In the 18th century there were many linen bleachfields in Scotland, particularly in Perthshire, Renfrewshire in the Scottish Lowlands, and the outskirts of Glasgow. One of the stained glass windows made by Stephen Adam for the Maryhill Burgh Halls in 1878, shows linen bleachers at work. By the 1760s, linen manufacture became a major industry in Scotland, second only to agriculture. For instance, in 1782 alone, Perthshire produced 1.7 million yards of linen, worth £81,000 (£8,980,000 as of 2017).
A bleachfield is similar to, but should not be confused with a tenterground.
- Aspin, Chris (1981), The Cotton Industry, Shire Publications Ltd, p. 24, ISBN 0-85263-545-1
- UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)", MeasuringWorth.com.
- Waterston 2008, pp. 27–33
- Wilson 1979, p. 1.
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