One Lancashire custom which seems, regrettably, to have died out, but which was very popular among boys and youths engaged in the textile industry in Rochdale more than half a century ago, was the annual dressing of the Pack Sheet. This was a practise believed to have had its origin at the beginning of the 19th century when textile merchants displayed samples of their goods to prospective customers.
The dressing of the Pack Sheet always took place during the week before Rushbearing, and one year, (1924) my pals and I in the Weaving Department at John Bright Bros. Ltd., made a special job of it.
Artistically laid out on the sheet were two of each shuttles, picking sticks, reed hooks, weft forks, scissors, pick-glasses, oil-cans and hand-brushes, together with various coloured cops and miniature warps. The centre-piece was a beautiful little working model of a Northrop loom.
After touring the district round our homes, our final venture was to the Rochdale Agricultural Show held on the Athletic Grounds, where the star attraction was a number of Canadian cowpunchers fresh from their great success at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley. Needless to say, we had a field day.