The town was affected by a period of severe depression following the “Cotton Famine” of the early 1860s, as the American Civil War disrupted imports of cotton from America. Some mills were forced to close, and soup kitchens were set up to feed redundant workers faced with starvation. On our left is the derelict site of the former Oxford Mills, built in 1845 by Thomas Mason. During the Cotton Famine of the 1860s, his son, Hugh Mason, kept the workforce employed in these mills at his own expense. Unfortunately, a fire in July 2019 completely destroyed the building.