Cockermouth Museum Group
Cockermouth Museum Group
About Us News and Projects Resources Publications Outreach Related Links Contact Us

Back to Articles

Cockermouth Post Article October 2010

The Cockermouth Tweed Mill was an impressive five-storey building that stood in the present Tweed Mill Lane. An old scrapbook of newspaper cuttings donated to the museum group carries a report of a robbery in 1879 from the Tweed Mill by one Henry Mullen, of Robinson’s Yard, Kirkgate, and Thomas Pattinson. Mullen was a hot-potato seller in the town. The pair were charged with stealing a large quantity of tweed cloth and duly appeared at the Court House in Cockermouth. Mullen and a Jane Stout were also charged with stealing silk and satin from Mr Fawcett’s draper’s shop on Cocker Bridge. Unfortunately, the report gives no indication of the punishment meted out, but a local wag put pen to paper and created the following poem as a lesson to all:

The Cockermouth Burglar
Henry Mullen, the Hot Potato Man!

Come all you people who do dwell
All in this Borough town,
And I’ll tell to you a story true,
As you pass up and down;
It’s of a daring burglar,
And MULLEN is his name;
He broke into a Draper’s shop,
And a Tweed Mill just the same.

CHORUS: They’ve sent him off to Carlisle Gaol,
His trial for to stand,
And n’er again you’ll hear him cry:
“Hot taties” through the land.

He did deceive the natives all
As he cried Taties Hot,
But no one knew that it was true
That he the Tweed had got.
He had a female partner,
Her name it was JANE STOUT,
And she did watch the premises
While he the Tweed got out.


They found concealed within his house,
A pistol and a knife,
With which he might have tea’n away
Some precious human life;
He hid the plunder in his house,
Beneath the coal-house floor,
And thought the Tweed Mill Company
Would never see it more.


Now take a warning all Young Men,
Who listen unto me,
Or like the Hot Potato man
You’ll lose your liberty;
Then be content with what you have,
And do the best you can,
There is no wealth to be compared
With being an honest man.


Gloria Edwards

Back to top of page