Howard & Bullough, Cotton Machinery Manufacturers.

The firm of Howard & Bullough, was formed in 1851 from the partnership of James Bullough (1799-1868), a quiet West Houghton weaver with a genius for mechanical design, and John Howard (1815-1866).  The company was based in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north west of England.

James Bullough's son John (1837-1891) joined the business in 1862 at the age of 25.  He built the company up to be the employer of over 2000 workers.  John was a totally different person to his quiet retiring father, outgoing and sporting, fond of politics.

John Bullough was twice married and Elsie's husband Ian was a child of his second wife.

At the height of the business the Globe works employed almost 6,000 workers and covered 52 acres.  75% of production was exported.

During WWII Howard & Bullough, along with many other engineering companies, took on Ministry of Supply contracts for armaments.  They produced shells, gun carriages, mine sinkers, aircraft components, and bayonets. (Precisely 161,026 bayonets in fact!) The Globe works formed the main centre of activity, but Stevenson Street works were also involved.

Howard & Bullough later became part of the Textile Machinery Makers Limited group. This in turn was later taken over by Platt's then Platt Saco Lowell. It was as Platt Saco Lowell that the Globe works ultimately closed to textile machinery manufacture in 1993, exactly 140 years after John Howard and James Bullough founded the company.


There was an established company trading as Bullough Ltd (later plc) that went into administration in 2006. However, we believe there was no connection between that concern and Howard & Bullough.


The Bullough Family.

John Bullough senior (1838-1891) made his fortune with Howard & Bullough, manufacturing machines for cotton spinning factories. The company was based in Lancashire in the heart of the north of England textile industry of that time.

Some of that fortune was spent purchasing Scottish country estates. In particular, the Meggernie estate in Glen Lyon, Perthshire and the Isle of Rum (or Rhum) off the west coast. John Bullough had leased the shooting rights on the island from 1879 and when the island as a whole came up for sale in 1888 he purchased it for 35,000 (22,500 $US or Euro).

He already had 2 sons from a previous marriage when he married Alexandria (Alec) Marian Mackenzie in 1883. She was then eighteen years old and still only 20 when she had his third son John (or "Ion", being a Scots Gaelic form of John.) She remarried the year following John Bullough's death. Throughout his adult life John junior ("Ion") used the name Ian and we shall do so here.

When John Bullough died, aged 53, in 1891 he left the 50 square mile Meggernie Estate with its 16th century castle to son Ian, then aged just five years old. Ian also inherited a 50% share in Howard & Bullough which brought him an annual income equivalent to about 3m (5.5m $US or 4.3m Euro) in today's terms.

20 year old George Bullough, later Sir George, inherited the other 50% of the family business and the isle of Rum and subsequently built Kinloch Castle there. This fine residence was completed in 1900.

John senior's other son, George's full brother, Edward Bullough inherited nothing from the business. There has been a suggestion that this was due to a practical joke that backfired. Hpwever, we can dismiss that as Edward was only a baby when his parents split up in a very acrimonious divorce. Since John Bullough cited one Albert Nentwig in the divorce counter petition it may be suspected that John thought Edward wasn't his. The counter petition wasn't heard as the judge deemed Bertha's petition sufficient to grant her a divorce. She was allowed to keep Edward with her but lost custody of the older children (this was normal in those days). Edward was brought up in Switzerland and Dresden, and later became professor of Italian Studies at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge.

Birth registered: within the district of the British Legation at Berne, Switzerland.
Born: Bellevue, Thun, Switzerland, 28 March, 1880.
Name: Edward.
Sex: Male.
Name and surname of father: John Bullough.
Name and maiden name of mother: Bertha SCHMIDLIN.
Rank and profession of father: Machine Manufacturer.
Signature, description and residence of informant: Federal Chancery.
When registered: 6 July 1880.
Signature of consular officer: Francis Carew.

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