Lizzie's Lollop

Elizabeth Drake was buried in Kirkheaton Churchyard and a monument was erected in remembrance to the other children who died at the same time. The monument was erected to commemorate the seventeen girls that perished in the fire that ravaged Atkinson’s mill, at Colne Bridge, on the 14th February 1818. The fire was caused by a young boy called James Thornton who went downstairs with a normal uncovered candle which set fire to a loose bit of fabric or cotton fibre particles. This soon turned into an inferno and the girls were trapped in the upstairs accommodation. The rumour-mongers said that the girls were chained up in a locked upstairs room, but the fire spread so quickly that the girls had no chance of escape. The outrage which was caused by the gossip had one good outcome. A campaign started and, led by local man Richard Oastler, the Child Labour Acts were reformed.