Objectives, Activities and History

Until 2019 The Cotton Textiles Research Trust had been named The British Cotton Growing Association Workpeoples’ Collection Fund, and had operated under that earlier name since 1974, when it began to consider applications for funds. Much of the funding offered by the Trust has historically been for medical research related to the sort of respiratory conditions that used to be suffered by British cotton textile workers. As those issues have become less prevalent the trustees have expanded the brief to improved processes, systems and knowledge that helps the wider textile industry within the UK. We welcome applications to fund or partially fund research and projects that follow these objectives.

British Cotton Growing Association Workpeoples’ Collection Fund – The “Day’s Wage” Scheme.

The British Cotton Growing Association was founded in 1902 in order to promote the growth and cultivation of cotton within the British Empire. The background to its formation was the difficult position of the Lancashire Cotton industry and its over-dependence on the United States for raw cotton. The BCGA was inaugurated (in February 1902) with a guarantee fund of 50,000 pounds, and consignments of seed, machinery and cotton experts were dispatched to different countries to undertake pioneering work and conduct experiments. In 1904 the Association was granted a Royal Charter and was reconstituted with a capital of 500,000 pounds so as to ensure adequate funding for the extension and success of its operations” (Bassett 2000)

In order to fulfil its mission the BCGA had to raise additional capital, primarily from the textile industrialists but it also sought capital from the workers and the Co-operative Movement. Jonathan Robins (2005) has documented the history of the BGCA and the following is taken from his paper: “Unlike their employers, Lancashire mill workers participated in fund-raising campaigns with enthusiasm. … Organised labour raised more than £3,200 by August 1904, with another £4,500 invested by Lancashire cooperative societies. … When Hutton and Macara announced the 1905 levy on spinning and weaving mills, they asked mill workers to join the empire cotton movement through a “Day’s Wage” scheme which collected one day’s pay annually for five years. Workers raised more than £24.000 during the first campaign; this was 27 percent short of Hutton’s goal, but it was much better than the 39 percent shortfall in levies paid by FMCSA mills. The second “Day’s Wage” appeal in 1910 raised another £21,500, falling 35 percent short of the goal. … All told, Lancashire’s workers raised about 10 percent of BCGA’s total capital.”

In 1972 the BCGA was wound up, and according to Bassett (2000) “In 1973 its ginning facilities were acquired by Ralli International, a firm of Liverpool cotton traders…. In 1980 Ralli was taken over by Cargill and the Association subsequently incorporated into Cargill Technical Services Ltd.”

1972 was about the time that the trusteeship of the BGCA Workpeoples’ Collection Fund was passed to The University of Manchester, where it remains to be administered, but not as a Trust of the University. The shares allocated to the workers collectively had value (although no details are to hand) and that now represents the capital of the Trust. The Charity is able to fund a broad range of work/research that the Trustees consider beneficial to workers in the textile industry, taking account of the Fund’s origins as contributions by Lancashire cotton workers. Funding in the past has included such things as research on respiratory conditions, archiving mill records, textile industry history and innovative technical work.

The CTRT currently has a project being managed by North West Textiles Network Ltd., offering “innovation” grants to textile industry companies to research new elements to grow their Business. The grants will be assessed by industry experts. Depending on the quality of the first tranche of applications the scheme may be extended to a second phase.


Phil Bassett (2000), The University of Birmingham Research Libraries Bulletin (Number ,7, Spring 2000)

Julie Froud, Stephen Hayes, Hua Wei and Karel Williaams (2017), “Coming Back; Capability and Precarity in Textiles and Apparel”  Alliance Manchester Business School & School of Materials, University of Manchester

Jonathan Robins (2015). Lancashire and the “Undeveloped Estates”: The British Cotton Growing Association Fund-Raising Campaign, 1902–1914. Journal of British Studies, 54, pp 869-897doi:10.1017/jbr.2015.115


Alan Bond

Alan Bond
Alan Bond

I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Manchester and in 1964 I took up an appointment with the University of Manchester working on the development of Financial and Management Accounting Systems and the further development of Investment portfolios. After a long career at the University I took early retirement in 2000 and became a Director of Tradition (UK) Ltd, a large international organisation operating in the Capital Investment and Treasury Management Sector.  I specialised in advising clients in the Charities, Universities, Colleges Sector.  I retired from Tradition in 2019. I have been a Trustee of St. Ann’s Hospice for over forty years, serving as Treasurer for thirty years. I have operated a small Accountancy, Taxation Practice for some years helping individuals and small businesses with their financial affairs.

Prof David Colman OBE (Chair)

David Colman

From a very early age I wanted to become a dairy farmer, but while studying for a degree in agriculture at Wye College, London University, I became interested in economics. That led
me to become a research assistant at the University of Illinois where I obtained an MS degree in agricultural economics in 1965. I returned that year to the University of Manchester as an assistant lecturer in agricultural economics to do my Ph.D. I then stayed at Manchester University until retirement in 2005, becoming Head of the Agricultural Economics Department in 1980 until it merged with two larger departments into the School of Economic Studies in 1994. I was the first Head of that School until 1997, and then took on that role again in 1999/2000. I had an exciting career working on studies for various governments and international agencies. I became President of the Agricultural Economics Society in the UK in 1994/5 and by a succession of three year posts in the International Association of Agricultural Economists became its President in 2006-2009. From 2005 until 2014 I was deeply involved leading research projects on UK and EU dairy policy and undertaking private consultancy connected to the dairy industry,

Prof Roger Green

I gained my medical qualifications in Sheffield in 1965, and held house appointments there. I came to Manchester in 1966 as temporary lecturer in physiology, aiming to become a surgeon. I did not become a surgeon, but became well known as a physiologist in the field of kidney research. I spent two years as a research associate in Yale, returning in 1973 to set up the renal laboratory at Manchester. I became chair of physiology at the University of Manchester in 1981 and later served as head of the department of physiological sciences and dean for undergraduate medical studies. In 1997 I was appointed dean of the Manchester Medical School.

Andy Ogden

I am General Manager of English Fine Cottons, the first operational UK cotton mill for over 50 years, responding to global demand for British made luxury goods.

Bill Sampson

Bill Sampson is Professor of Materials Modelling in the Department of Materials at the University of Manchester and Chief Scientific Officer of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at Manchester. Bill graduated from UMIST in 1989 with a BSc in Paper Science; he remained in that department to study for his PhD, which provided theory describing the evolving structure and flow resistance of fibrous materials in filtration processes.  On award of his PhD in 1992, he immediately joined the Faculty as a Lecturer, becoming Senior Lecturer in 2004 and Professor in 2013. Bill was Head of the School of Materials at Manchester from 2015 to 2019.

Bill’s research involves the application of scientific methods to the modelling and characterization of heterogeneous materials, with emphasis on their structure and its influence on properties. Bill has worked extensively on the properties of paper, nonwoven textiles, composites and fibrous filtration. More recently, he has worked on modelling the structure of electrospun polymer fibre networks, microfibrillated cellulosic networks for use in composite materials, silver nanowire net-works for transparent displays and in the development of statistical theoretical frameworks for the self-assembly of aggregating colloidal systems.

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