Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

Craven and Dearnley Mill, 1884
Somerset and 8th Streets, Philadelphia PA 19133
(northeast corner)

Carmen A. Weber, Irving Kosmin, and Muriel Kirkpatrick, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

The first mill buildings in this complex, still standing, were erected in the fall of 1884 and surveyed by Hexamer in 1886, who stated "Buildings put in very substantial manner, elegant style, and on the slow burning principle." 1 Called Craven and Dearnley's, owned by J. H. Dearnley, the mill produced worsted and woolen yarns. Neither man was mentioned at any location in Blodget's 1880 survey of textile firms; nor were any mills listed on Somerset, although there were a number located on Lehigh Avenue one block to the south, but further east. In 1886 the spinning operations were conducted by 220 hands—25 men, 10 boys, and the balance girls according to the Hexamer Survey.
Another large building was added parallel to the first in 1889,
2 completing the complex as it is seen today. Another 30 girls were added to the employment rolls. In the 1910-1911 textile directory the operations were listed as Dearnley Worsted Spinning Company. In 1925 a Bromley atlas named this complex the Somerset Mill of John and James Dobson. 3
By 1943 the original company had become Dearnley Brothers Worsted Spinning Co., and had moved to Chelten Avenue and Baynton Street in Germantown, employing 247 people.
4 The company was still there in 1957, 5 but by 1965, it was no longer listed in business directories of the city.

1   Hexamer General Survey #1970 (1886) "Craven & Dearnley's Mill."
2   Hexamer General Survey #2346 (1890) "Craven & Dearnley's Mill."
3   Bromley, 1925
4   Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade, Philadelphia, p. 43
5   Chamber of Commerce Business Directory, (Philadelphia, 1957), p. 20

Update May 2007 (by Torben Jenk):
Demolished. Replaced by row houses.