Why was cotton so important in north west England?

Printing block, 'Chattel House' trademark

Made by W Mosedale, Manchester, for Stavert, Zigomala & Company, Manchester, about 1903-1911
Copper alloy and pear wood

Object number 2002.36.36
Given by Roger Cooper, 2002

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Printing block, 'Chattel House' trademark

Stavert, Zigomala & Company, established in about 1837, was a Manchester-based textile merchant-converter, buying cloth straight from the loom and arranging for it to be finished before selling it. It traded mainly in South and Central America, with trading offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Havana, Cuba. The firm traded in cotton piece goods and was known as a high-quality brand. The business suffered, however, as a result of the declining Lancashire cotton industry and never recovered after the Second World War. It ceased trading in cotton in the 1960s, although the name survives as an investment holding company.

This trademark printing block was made for the company by W Mosedale, and was used to distinguish Stavert, Zigomala's goods from those of other manufacturers. ‘La Casita Criolle’ is Spanish for the little Creole house. The term Creole was originally used to distinguish people born in the colonies of European descendants, from European-born immigrants, but later came to mean people of mixed race or those from various Caribbean islands. However, it is possible that the illustration is of a chattel house where enslaved workers rested after a day’s labour on the plantations. The man standing outside the house is clearly an authority figure but the key to understanding this image may lie with the woman at the window.

This information was provided by curators from the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI).