Inchfield Road


Map Ref. SD933210


Known occupiers



FIELDEN Robert & Sons


Picker works on OS 25” map



Robert Fielden began picker making with his brother James between 1820 and 1823. James is credited with having invented the first modern picker. In 1823, they were living and making pickers on SQUARE in Walsden, and remained there until 1827 when they moved to Inchfield Fold. James then moved to CLOUGH MILL whilst Robert continued his own picker making business at Inchfield. He brought his sons into the business and the firm traded as Robert Fielden & Sons.

About 1854, Robert and his sons branched out into the cotton manufacturing business and took on BIRKS MILL in Walsden. They ran the two businesses side by side, continuing the picker making at Inchfield Fold.

Three of his sons died as young men and before Robert (James in 1852, Josiah in 1860 and William in 1867). When Robert died in 1874, his eldest surviving son was Robert junior and he took over as the senior partner, joined in the firm by his brothers Thomas, Samuel and John. They continued to trade as Robert Fielden & Sons well into the 20th century. Even as late as 1936 the firm was described as the largest picker making firm in the world.

Thomas died in 1896.

Rochdale Observer Saturday 29th February 1896

Death of Mr. Thomas Fielden

At 10 o'clock on Wednesday night, the death occurred of Mr. Thomas Fielden JP of Birks House, Walsden, after several weeks illness. Deceased was highly respected  and widely known. He was a salesman and partner in the firm of Messrs. Robert Fielden & Sons, pickermakers of Inchfield, Walsden and was 66 years of age.

He had been a member of the Todmorden Local Board and District Council for over 20 years, representing the Walsden ward and it was hoped by a large number of residents that he would be spared until the charter of incorporation of Todmorden arrived, so that he might be appointed the first mayor.

At the time of his decease he was chairman of the district council and by virtue of that office, had a seat on the bench. He was a churchman and a Conservative, but he at no time took any prominent part in political matters. At various times he had fulfilled office in connection with Walsden church and was always a ready worker in any good cause for the welfare of the town. He was an energetic businessman and full of tact and far seeing ability. His loss will be keenly felt in the district and the place he leaves will be hard to fill.

Robert died in 1897. His death was reported in the local press as follows:

Mr. Robert Fielden of Inchfield Fold (senior partner in the firm Robert Fielden & Sons picker makers and cotton manufacturers, Birks Mill, Inchfield, Walsden) died very suddenly on Bacup railway station whilst hurrying to catch the 5-40pm train. Deceased was 70 years of age and was interred at St. Peter's Church Walsden on Monday 22nd.


Additional information


researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


White 1837

Robert Fielden, picker maker, Inchfield.

1841 census

Robert Fielden, Inchfield Fold, farmer and picker manufacturer

White 1842 and 1843

Robert Fielden, picker maker

1851 census

Robert Fielden, Inchfield Fold, picker manufacturer employing 32 men and 8 boys.

White 1853

Robert Fielden, picker maker

1861 census

Robert Fielden, Inchfield Fold, cotton manufacturer, picker maker and farmer.

White 1866

Robert Fielden, picker maker

Walsden Rates Book 1860-1892

Owner and occupier Robert Fielden; dyeing house, shed, warehouse etc. Inchfield Fold; rateable value £13.8s.4d.

1861: additional hide house £5.8s.4d.

1866: rateable value £48.1s.0d.

1868: new warehouse and engine £28.11s.6d.

1871: new tanning shop £3.13s.0d.

1880: rateable value £110.

1890: additions to works £13.10s.0d.

1892: additions to works £19.10s.0d.