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Mushrooming of Cotton Mills

From the early nineteenth century raw cotton was exported from the Bombay port to China and England.

  • In 1854 the first cotton mill in India was set up as a Spinning mill in Bombay. By 1900, over 84 mills started operating in Bombay. Many of these were established by Parsi and Gujarati businessmen who had made their money through trade with China.

  • In 1861 the first mill in Ahmedabad was started.

  • In 1862 the first mill in Kanpur was started.

Mumbai Textile Mills

Textile Mill Rollers


Growth of cotton mills led to a demand for labour. Thousands of poor peasants, artisans and agricultural labourers moved to the cities to work in the mills.

The textile mills faced some problems initially

  • The mills found it difficult to compete with the cheap textiles imported from Britain.

  • In most countries, governments supported industrialisation by imposing heavy duties on imports.

The first major boost in the development of cotton factory production in India was during the First World War. During this time textile imports from Britain declined and Indian factories were called upon to produce cloth for military supplies.

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