(Best viewed large)
Spinning was the final stage in converting wool to worsted yarns which could be woven. The machines drew out the roving to its final thickness (count) and added twist for strength (just like a hand spinning wheel does). There are three main types of spinning machine (flyer, cap and ring) but they all work on similar principles and mainly differ in the way the twist is made and the yarn wound onto bobbins. One of my books has a photograph of the windowless spinning shed in Salts Mill in 1947: 630 feet long, it had 16,380 cap spindles, on row upon row of machines. (See blog post here)
When I think of a textile mill, I suppose it's the spinning machines that I imagine. They would have been tightly packed together and the noise from them would have been incredible. From the picture of the mill on the wall above, you can see how narrow the aisles between the machines were. I imagine that the children, for so long employed in these mills, would have been very useful - their smaller bodies would have more easily been able to move under and around the machines.
I think the photo on the wall qualifies this as a Sepia Saturday entry - for more fascinating entries, see here.