Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/251

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merchants, who are the purchasers, have them dressed, dyed, and pressed, for the retail dealers.

The progress of good sense, and gradual growth of notions of utility, within this last century, are marked by the successive improvements which have taken place in the mode of selling this valuable article. One hundred and twenty years ago the mixed cloths were exposed for sale upon the unsheltered battlements of the Aire bridge, open to all the inclemency of the weather, and all the dirt and injuries of passing carriages. It required nearly fifty years to convince the factors of the absurdity of this system, when the matter was but little mended by carrying the article into Brigge-street, and offering it to the merchant, spread on temporary stalls. In 1758, however, the trade had acquired wisdom enough to reform their plan altogether; the mixed cloth hall was built at the expence of the manufacturers; and about seventeen years afterwards, another for the white cloths upon a similar plan.

Nothing can be more judicious, convenient, or systematic, than the arrangement of the wares, and the regulations of the sellers, in these receptacles. The larger or mixed cloth hall is laid out into six aisles, each containing two rows of stalls, amounting in all to one thousand seven hundred