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NEWBRIDGE MILL

Walsden

Map ref. SD 934214

See also WINTERBUTLEE MILL and BOTTOMS MILL. The three mills formed part of the Bottoms Mill complex.

 

Known occupiers

c1856-1862

WALMSLEY Robert

1863-1881

HAIGH Reuben

1884

For sale or to let

1884-1890

DUGDALE John & William

 

History

This mill was built before 1824 at which time James and Titus Gaukroger were the tenants. It lay on land between the Turnpike Road at Newbridge in Walsden and the river known as Walsden Water, partly fronting the road, but mostly alongside the riverbank.

 

Nothing is known about its history until about 1856 when Robert Walmsley bought it. It was a small concern, employing just 36 hands, and was confined to weaving. Robert had always been a grocer and baker, so what made him turn to cotton manufacturer is anyone's guess. The most likely explanation is that his second wife, Mary, was a daughter of the Bottomley family who ran the successful SPRING MILL at Ramsden Wood. She was also the widow of Robert Law who inherited a share in his father's mill, also at RAMSDEN WOOD. Therefore, Mary and her children were born and bred in the cotton business.

Her son, Thomas Law, was just embarking on a career in cotton manufacture in partnership with Samuel Fielden at a newly built mill at WINTERBUTLEE - adjoining the mill at Newbridge. Thomas was unmarried and still living at home with his mother and stepfather, and maybe this was the spark Robert Walmsley needed to try the trade out for himself. Simultaneously, he and his stepson took on two adjoining mills as quite separate concerns - an odd decision unless the two men had agreed some form of co-operation.

In August 1857 there was a terrific thunderstorm in the district, with the ensueing floods causing several serious and fatal accidents. It was reported in the Liverpool Mercury that:

... several houses were flooded, as was also the mill of Mr. Walmsley, at the Bottoms ...

 

In 1861, Robert was doing well. He employed 36 hands at the mill and was able to afford a live-in servant at the family home at Newbridge. However, unfortunately for him, it was just at the start of the American Civil War and the ensuing Cotton Panic, which caused such a severe down turn in trade that many mills failed. Robert did not last long in his new venture, and by 1863, he finished, and the more experienced Reuben Haigh came down from the virually inaccessible Waterstalls Mill to take over. Robert returned to his old trade as baker, grocer and confectioner. Mary died in 1868 and he followed ten years later. They are buried at St. Peter's.

 

Reuben Haigh had run SQUARE MILL with partners Edmund Barker and Edmund Lord for 10 years. The mill was successful and the partnership sold out whilst there was still a flourishing business. He then took on a lease at WATERSTALLS MILL but found the cost of carriage too high and did not remain there long. He bought the premises and machinery at Newbridge about 1863. He weathered the Cotton Panic, managing to increase the workforce from 36 to 66 by 1871, and back down to 54 by 1881.

   

Beswick Street today. Most of the houses have gone

Reuben and his family lived at Clough, later moving to Beswick Street at Bottoms in Walsden. His son (also Reuben) helped him run the mill along with William Taylor who married Grace Haigh, Reuben's daughter.
   

Reuben sold up in 1884 at the age of 73. He placed the following advert in the Todmorden Advertiser on 11th January 1884:

To sell or let; premises and machinery at Lee Bottom Shed, Walsden, Apply James Stephenson, Garden Street, or Thomas Fielden, Gauxholme Place.

He died at Newbridge in 1887 and is buried at St. Peter's Church in Walsden. His son, Reuben junior, went on to occupy the larger mill known as ALBION MILL on Halifax Road. William Taylor turned to farming.

William Dugdale, who already owned the adjoining WINTERBUTLEE MILL, snapped it up.

   
William seems to have combined the two buildings to make one large mill, the whole site being known as Winterbutlee Mill. This was the end of Newbridge Mill, and nothing remains today. It is now the site of the car park for Gordon Rigg's Garden centre.
   

Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group

 

Todmorden and Walsden Rates Book 1860-62

Owner and occupier Robert Walmsley, Newbridge, loom shop 5.5hp rateable value £36.9s.4d.

Walsden Rates Book 1863-65

Owner and occupier R. Haigh; shed 5.5hp; Lee Bottom, rateable value £36.9s.4d.

Walsden Rates Book 1866-81

Owner and occupier Reuben Haigh; shed 5.5hp; Newbridge, rateable value £42.15s.0d.

Owner and occupier Reuben Haigh; new shed and warehouse; Bottoms, rateable value £11.10s.0d.

(1870 RV £74.9s.0d; 1874 – house Newbridge; 1880 RV £83.10s.0d.)

White 1866

Reuben Haigh, cotton manufacturer.

1871 census

Reuben Haigh, Newbridge, cotton manufacturer employing 66 people.

Slater 1875

Reuben Haigh (Walsden Mill) cotton manufacturer

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st August 1879

Newbridge Mill; 150 looms, full time at present, lately played 20 weeks.

Walsden Rates Book 1884-85

Owner John Dugdale; loom shed and power; Newbridge, rateable value £43.15s.0d

(1885 – part barricaded off, engine standing, rateable value £38.10s.0d.)

Walsden Rates Book 1886-90

Owner and occupier William Dugdale; shed and steam power; Newbridge, rateable value £74.15s.0d.

 

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