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RAMSDEN WOOD MILLS

RAMSDEN WOOD MILL AND SPRING MILL

(otherwise known as T' Top Shop and T' Bottom Shop)

Walsden

Map Ref. SD 929212 (Ramsden Wood Mill)

Map Ref. SD 928213 (Spring Mill)
   

The two mills working side by side

   
   
Known occupiers
   

Ramsden Wood Mill

1820-1856

LAW Thomas, Robert and Samuel

1843

HUDSON Eli and LAW John

1853-1856

For sale

1856

BOTTOMLEY Thomas

1860-1880

BOTTOMLEY William

1881

GABBOTT William

1884-1885

MARSHALL BROOKS and Co.

1890

VARLEY Henry

1907

Disused on 25” OS map

Spring Mill

1820-1852

BOTTOMLEY Thomas

1852-1879

BOTTOMLEY Bros.

1881

GABBOTT William

1884-1885

MARSHALL BROOKS and Co.

1890

VARLEY Henry

1894 - after 1901

HARTLEY Isaac

1907

Dyeworks on OS 25” map
   
   
Illustrated history
   

Samuel Law (1744-1824) and his wife Sarah Crossley had a long and successful life. Samuel trained as a clogger at Toadcarr in Todmorden and then married the boss's daughter. They moved to live at SQUARE in Walsden and went on to have ten surviving children. Samuel saw the importance of the emerging cotton trade in his town and together with his brother and two other gentlemen, invested in LUMBUTTS MILL. He passed his entrepreneurial spirit on to his sons who all made good in life.

   
Three of their sons, Thomas, Robert and Samuel Law, were in partnership at a small mill at SMITHYHOLME, but by 1819 their business had outgrown the premises. They sold Smithyholme to the FIELDEN BROS. OF WATERSIDE and leased land at Ramsden Wood in Walsden where they erected a brand new purpose-built mill for carding and spinning cotton, and 11 cottages.
   

Abraham Ingham, a stonemason, known locally as Old Billy from Millwood, was the mason in charge. The site was perfect as the water rushed down Ramsden Clough at a speed ideal for powering a water wheel, and although not on the main highway or canal bank, just a half mile from these places.

Samuel (1779-1845) and his wife Nancy Ingham originally lived at SQUARE, close to his parents and Nancy's father, corn miller, William Ingham. After they began cotton spinning at Smithyholme, Samuel and his family moved to Lawhey Farm near the mill. When they built the mill at Ramsden, the family moved to live in one of the eleven cottages the brothers erected opposite the mill.

Robert (1774-1842), the main man of the partnership, and his wife Betty Crossley also moved to live at the mill and Betty - apparently a big lady - opened a grocery shop. She sold flour, apples, treacle, turnips, butter and cheese in large quantities to her friends and family. She employed her daughter and son-in-law, William and Martha Fielden, to run it for her.

Thomas (1776-1842) and his wife Alice Jackson began married life at Henshaw Barn, later moving to Woodbottom where Thomas had built a house. By 1816 they were living and farming at DEANROYD in Walsden and remained there the rest of their lives. Thomas was known widely as "Tummy O'Deanroyd". He was the trading partner of the firm, and the cashier, and was well known all round the district for the way in which he carried the firm's pay-money to the works on pay-day, on the top of his flat topped hat. Alice was known to be a kindly woman who kept a good and clean house.

   

Deanroyd Farm

On 6th February 1820 the celebration party for the opening of the mill was held at the home of Thomas at Deanroyd. The night was well remembered as it coincided with the birth of a nephew of the brothers, Jimmy Crossley, son of their sister Sally and James Crossley of NORTH RAMSDEN FARM
   

Old Samuel Law and his wife Sarah, their parents, would have been there, and more than likely their youngest brother, Abraham, who lived on Square and later built and opened the CROSS KEYS on Rochdale Road. Maybe they had a toast to their other brother, Jimmy, who had recently migrated to Canada. (story HERE)

Meanwhile, another family was working the mixed corn and cotton mill at Inchfield, also known as TRAVIS MILL. They were the Bottomleys, headed by Thomas (1784-1852).

 
In 1819 The Law brothers formed an agreement with Thomas Bottomley to sub-lease a portion of the land a little higher up the Clough so Thomas could build a second mill. The second mill was raised and became known as Spring Mill, or T' Top Shop.

Spring Mill, with overhead water trough

   

The Law brothers went from strength to strength and built up an exceptionally successful business over the next 20 years. They enlarged the mill, adding power looms. It wasn't just the local spinners and weavers who found employment, but also mechanics, labourers, carters, blacksmiths and boatmen. One of their favourite carters was William Southwell, a young man who endeared himself to the extended family and who lodged at Deanroyd with Thomas and Alice.

Thomas was not a man to be messed with, and had little time for the "Gentlemen" of the town. This became public knowledge in 1839, when on the 23rd May he was having a quiet drink with his stonemason friends in his local, the Waggon & Horses at Bottoms in Walsden.

Joshua Fielden of Fielden Brothers, brother of John Fielden M.P., and his friend William Sutcliffe, called at the Waggon & Horses with the intention of seeing a Mr. Bottomley. William Sutcliffe was a "Gentleman of independent means" and lived at the stately Stansfield Hall. The three men began a conversation about the merits of the "Ten Hour" bill that Joshua's brother was trying to push through Parliament. Joshua asked Thomas Law if he would sign the petition to the House of Commons supporting the bill. Thomas refused to sign it, and accused Joshua of popularity hunting amongst the working people - the petition being an excellent method of achieving this, but if he really thought the bill would be passed he would not be so ready to advocate it. Another arguement followed during which Thomas called William Sutcliffe "flash".

Thomas then seized William by the collar and pushed him towards the door, and in so doing, tore his coat from top to bottom. They argued and Thomas struck William over the ear, and was about to repeat this when the rest of the company intervened.

William Sutcliffe took the matter to a civil court to sue for damages to his coat. Thomas produced a witness, John Howarth, road contractor and labourer of Walsden. John said the arguement occured about a quarter to twelve at night and none of the gentlemen in question appeared drunk, although they had been drinking ale. He said the assault was something and nothing, that Thomas had not struck William Sutcliffe very hard and did not injure him. After all, Sutcliffe was half Law's age.

The judge was surprised the matter had ever come to court, and that a Gentleman of William Sutcliffe's stature had deeemed it necessary. He ordered Thomas to pay one shilling by way of compensation, and said he wished he could charge William with the costs of the case.

   
In 1831, the Laws and the Bottomleys were joined in marriage. Robert Law junior, son of Robert the co-founder, married Mary Bottomley, daughter of Thomas. This must have seemed like a marriage made in heaven to the two families - a joining of their adjacent businesses with a possibility of keeping it all in the family.
   

However, after two children the marriage fell apart. In 1839, Mary left the marital home and returned to her parents, leaving her two babies behind with their father. Robert worked for his father and uncles at the mill and lived with his family at Newbridge in the valley, where they kept a grocery shop. Why Mary left him and her children may never be known, but Robert was obliged to place the following notice in the press:

 

The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser Saturday, October 5, 1839

PUBLIC NOTICE

Whereas my wife MARY LAW of Winterbottom in the township of Walsden has left her home without any just cause, I hereby caution the public against trusting her, since I will not be accountable for any debt that she may contract after this public notice. Witness my hand this 2nd October 1839, ROBERT LAW jnr.

   

Two years later, the couple were still separated and the children were with their father. By now, he had returned to Ramsden Wood and was living with his parents. Mary was also at Ramsden Wood with her parents. Sadly, Robert died in 1842 at the age of 33. Within less than 11 months, Mary gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, the presumed father being a William Fitzpatrick. What the Law family thought of this is anybody's guess.

It is a well known fact that all mills employed children. The reasons are obvious - they were cheap and their parents needed the money. In 1833, Parliament passed the Factories Act, making it compulsory for all children under the age of 14 and employed in textile mills to attend school for at least 2 hours a day, and for the mills to provide this service. Rules were set in place for this, and children had to be given certificates to prove they received this education.

   

The Law Brothers came to an arrangement with a newly built school at Bottoms in the valley, whereby their child employees would attend that school for the required 2 hours a day. The schoolmaster was Thomas Fielden, and he duly completed weekly registers of the children employed at Ramsden Mill who attended his classes.

Opposite is a copy of the register for 10th to 14th August 1840, and below is a transcription. It is thought that the letters B, T, and S refer to the mill - Bottom Shop or Ramsden Mill, Top Shop or Spring Mill, and STRINES MILL in the valley.

   
Bottoms School Room 1840. This is to certify that the undermentioned children have attended here to receive instruction from 10th to 14th August inclusive, each day as follows
    Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Thomas Newell B 2 2 2 2 2
Samuel Crossley B 2 2 2 2 2
Mary Crossley T 2 2 2 2 2
James Eastwood B 2 2 2 2 2
John Newall B 2 2 2 2 2
John Jackson B 2 2 2 2 2
Mary Stansfield B 2 2 2 2 2
Susan Howarth B 2 2 2 2 2
Hannah Crossley B 2 2 2 2 2
Zachariah Heyworth B     4   2
Mary Fielden T 2 2 2 2 2
Elizabeth Craven T 2 2 2 2 2
Hannah Newall T 2 2 2 2 2
John Pearson T   2 2 2 2
Paul Greenwood T 2 2 2 2 2
Betty Sutcliffe T 2 2 2 2 2
Robert Law S 2 2 2 2 2
Samuel Law S 2 2 2 2 2
Hannah Kershaw S 2 2 2 2 2
Betty Jackson S 2 2 2 2 2
Abraham Newall S   2 4 2  
Susan Pickles S 2 2 2 2 2
        signed Thomas Fielden
   
   
The above two documents are pages from the Ramsden Mill account book for August 1840 and mention several names of men who may have been working at the mill, or hand weaving at home on behalf of the mill. Names mentioned are John Stansfield, William Law, John Fielden, Richard Sunderland, William Priestley, James Horsfall, John Sutcliffe, William Wadsworth, Mary Taylor, Betty Greenwood, Ann Sutcliffe, Ann Law, Martha Howarth, Esther Taylor, John Holden, Samuel Farrar, Thomas Law, William Dawson, James Holden and William Chadwick.
   
Amongst the occupants of the cottages in 1841 were: John Schofield (overlooker), Henry Sutcliffe (cotton carder), James Hurst (engine tenter), Samuel Newall (book keeper), John Law (mechanic), James Eastwood (warp-winder), William Crabtree (cotton carder), Matthias Law (mule spinner), Samuel Law (manufacturer), Robert Law (manufacturer) and Samuel Craven (straw rug maker).
   
According to the Todmorden and Walsden Survey of 1843, the mill included gardens and yards, an orchard, a pig yard, a reservoir, a plantation and a fir bank, occupying a total of 1 acre, 3 rods and 8 perches.
   

Robert Law junior wasn't the only second generation of the Law family to be involved in scandal. His sister Sarah also had problems. She had married William Priestley in 1818. On 1st November 1848, Sarah was seen out in the Lord Nelson Public House in Todmorden very late at night with a near neighbour, Abel Marland of Strines Mill. They set off to walk home together along the canal bank. They reached a point just above Smithyholme Lock when for some reason they both fell in the water. Abel managed to get out, but seeing Sarah in the water, he jumped in and dragged her to the edge, but was unable to pull her out. He called for assistance, but by the time she was pulled out, she was dead.

The inquest was held on 4th November 1848 and was repoted as follows:

Manchester Times Tuesday, November 7, 1848;
Inquest.

An inquest was held at the house of Mr. John Bentley, Waggon & Horses, Bottoms, Walsden, on Friday last before T.F.Dearden Esq. and a respectable jury. (James Fielden Esq. foreman) over the remains of the unfortunate Sarah Priestley, aged 50, whose death was recorded in our last. Mr. Abel Marland who accompanied her at the time of the accident which caused her death was placed in no enviable situation by the evidence produced. The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, after which the coroner gave Marland a severe castigation and made him to understand that though there was not sufficient evidence to warrant his committal, it did not exonerate him in the eye of the public, as to his foul and disgraceful intentions in persuading, or even allowing, the deceased to go by such a dangerous road in the dead of night. Mr. Fielden cautioned him to be more careful of his conduct in future.

 

In Sarah's defence, she was related by marriage to Abel Marland, but what was she doing at the Lord Nelson Inn late at night without her husband? She is buried alone in a grave at St. Mary's church. Her husband is buried with the rest of their family at St. Peter's ... another strange fact.

Following her death, her husband William remained at Ramsden Wood until his own death 15 years later, but there was little love lost between him and his wife's family. Tradition has it that one day whilst William was out and about on Ramsden Wood Road, one of the Law family was approaching the mill on his horse drawn trap, carrying the money to the mill for the wages pay out. The horse was struggling up the hill and the driver gave him a good thrash of the whip. William was so incensed that he grabbed the whip and began to beat the driver, giving him a taste of his own medicine.

   
In the midst of this, not only had the locals turned out to see what the commotion was, but the trap overturned, spilling the money over the road. Most of it was recovered and returned, but a certain amount was missing. In the end, William was prosecuted for Highway Robbery and sent to jail.
   

During the 1840's, the three Law brothers died within a few years of each other. Robert was the first to go in 1842, followed by Thomas 10 months later, and lastly, Samuel in 1845. This is when the problems began. The brothers had a great number of children between them. In hindsight it would have been prudent for them to sell the business prior to their deaths, leaving cash for the family, or maybe leaving the business to eldest sons, but this is not what happened. Robert left his one-third share virtually equally between his wife and children. The cousins squabbled. Some wanted their share immediately and others wanted to work the business. WILL OF ROBERT LAW.

Samuel saw the problems and attempted to do something about it. He tried to sell the whole of his third share before he died in order to protect his own children. He offered it for sale to his nephew John Law and two nephews-in-law, Eli Hudson and John Marland. This new partnership took over the running of the business and tried to raise the necessary money to complete the purchase of Samuel's share and the remaining two thirds. John Marland must have dropped out as in 1843 "Law and Hudson" were running the business.

When Samuel died, the new firm was still unable to complete a purchase. His will was complicated by the "will they - won't they" situation, to the extent that he was forced to make provisions in the event of a sale, and in the event of no sale. WILL OF SAMUEL LAW

John Law and Eli Hudson tried their best to run the mill, but in the end had to declare themselves bankrupt.

Brother fought sister, and cousin fought cousin until the young Laws resorted to the law and the matter was followed with such virulence that the whole concern was swallowed up. Expensive court cases ensued and Mr. James Stansfield, a Todmorden Solicitor, was left with the problem of selling the concern. An order of Chancery was obtained and the mill was offered for sale at auction at the WHITE HART INN. The following advert appeared in the Manchester Times on 7th September 1853:

Sale by Auction

Ramsden Wood Mill near Todmorden

By Mr. Wm. Greenwood at the White Hart Inn Todmorden on Thursday 22nd. Day of September 1853 at 7 o’clock in the evening

All that substantially built cotton mill called Ramsden Wood Mill situate near Bottoms in the Township of Todmorden and Walsden with the scutching room, sizing house, engine and boiler houses, warehouse, smithy, gasometer, gas apparatus, waterfall, dams, goits, waterwheel, steam engines, privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, lately in the occupation of Messrs. Law.

Also all that plot of vacant land and garden lying in front or on the southerly side or easterly end of the said mill, containing by admeasurement 3,000 square yards or thereabouts.

Also all those eleven dwelling houses or cottages situate near to the said mill in the occupations of William Law, William Priestley and others.

Also all that annual ground or chief rent of £18 15s reserved and made payable in respect of land, hereditaments and privileges underleased by the late Messrs. Law to the late Mr. Bottomley for the term of 998 years.

The property is held under a lease for 999 years, dated 30th January 1819 subject to an annual ground rent of £50 and exclusive of the land underleased to Mr. Bottomley, comprises an area of 10,629 square yards.

The mill (one part of which is five and another part four storeys high) is 105 feet long and 39 feet wide and has been worked by both water and steam power. The waterpower is estimated at about 11 horse, and may be considerably augmented by a small outlay, and the adoption of modern improvements. The steam engines are respectively of 14 and 8 horsepower, with boiler of adequate capacity. The adjoining land affords ample scope for the erection of a loom shed, and if required, for the enlargement of the mill.

The property is situate about 2 and a quarter miles from the town of Todmorden, three quarters of a mile from the Walsden station of the L & Y Railway, and is approached by a good road leading from the Todmorden turnpike road at Bottoms in Walsden. The Rochdale Canal also passes a short distance from the premises and coal can be had at a reasonable price in the immediate vicinity. The estate well deserves the attention of the cotton spinner, the manufacturer and the capitalist, to whom it will afford a safe and desirable investment.

The property may be viewed, and further particulars obtained on application to Mr. Matthias Law, Dean Royd, Walsden; Mr. William Law, Ramsden Wood; or at the office of Mr. James Stansfield, solicitor Todmorden, where a ground plan of the property may be inspected.

There was such poor bidding that it was withdrawn from sale. Although the reserve price fixed by the court was never made public, the business eventually changed hands privately, bought by Thomas Bottomley of the neighbouring Spring Mill.

Robert, Thomas and Samuel Law were well endowed with the world's goods, yet remained simple folk to the end. They enjoyed the hard earned fruits of their labours. It is a pity their children wasted these fruits.

   

Thomas Bottomley also became very successful, living and working at Spring Mill where he erected ten good cottages. He and his son, Thomas junior, lived there with their respective families, Thomas senior as the main man, junior as a book keeper initially, and later as a partner.

By 1851, he was employing 61 men, 26 women, 19 girls, and 23 boys, and he occupied 40 acres.

 

Spring Bottom, the Spring Mill cottages

   

Sarah Bottomley, wife of Thomas junior

Sadly, Thomas junior died in 1850 of an epileptic fit, aged 39 years. His young widow Sarah continued to live at Ramsden Wood. She lived to be 83 years old, raising five of her seven children then her son William's two boys after their mother's death. Two of her daughters died as babies, her son Robert died a young man aged 37, and her other two sons emigrated to Canada with their families. It is little wonder she looks glum on her photograph!
   
In 1851 The Ramsden Wood cottages were occupied by Zachariah Jackson (weaver), George Priestley (roller maker), John Scholfield (overlooker), James Eastwood (twister), William Law (mule spiner) and John Jackson (labourer).
   

Also in 1851, the ten cottages at Spring Mill were occupied by Thomas and his family, John Highley (scutcher), Abraham Jackson (powerloom manager), James Bolton (warehouseman), Abraham Crossley (mechanic), William Fletcher (cotton carder), James Hollows (cotton spinner), Samuel Crabtree (blacksmith), William Ogden (engine tenter), and Sarah, the widow of Thomas junior.

One of the above residents, James Hollows, was faced with a family tragedy in October 1848. His fifteen month old son, John, was playing outside Spring Mill where his dad was working. He somehow fell into a cystern of hot water from the steam engine. This cystern had been placed outside the mill without the protection of a cover.

The child was terribly scalded and died a few days later. The inquest jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death with a recommendation to Thomas Bottomley to have the place made safe from danger. Today he would have been charged with manslaughter at the very least.

James Hollows remained employed at Spring Mill for many more years, and whilst still there, in May 1864, another of his sons was tragically killed at Walsden railway station. The newspaper reported the extraordinarily gory details:

The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Monday, May 23, 1864

Melancholy Accident at Walsden Station

A melancholy accident occurred at noon on Saturday at Walsden Railway Station, near Todmorden. A boy was crossing the line as the express train, which leaves Manchester at 11-30, passed down. He was caught by the engine, knocked down, run over, and carried a distance of thirty yards down the line. He was frightfully mangled. And one portion of a leg was found at a considerable distance from the body.

The body was conveyed to the Hollins Inn. The right leg was cut completely off by the hip, and was found about fifty yards distant from the body, only as portion of the foot remaining whole. The left leg was also severed below the hip, and the upper portion cut into fragments, but held to the trunk by some integuments

The face was greatly discoloured and the skull was laid bare from the forehead to the crown. The boy was fourteen years old; his name is John (ROBERT)  Hollows, son of James Hollows, spinner, Ramsden Wood.

When crossing the line he had a basket of groceries on his arm, and a small bag of flour on his head, which he was taking to Nicklety, where his grandmother resides.

 

Another tragic accident occured on 16th June 1850. John Newell, who lived at Strines Barn but worked for Thomas Bottomley as a carter, was killed at Littleborough Railway station whilst loading his cart with cotton for Mr. Bottomley. His death was reported as follows:

Manchester Times Wednesday, June 19, 1850

Man Killed

On Saturday evening last, John Newall, carter for Mr. Bottomley, cotton manufacturer, Walsden, was loading his master’s cart with cotton at the Littleborough station of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway when he fell backwards off the cart, and was so injured on the head that he died the following day. He was a widower, 45 years of age, and has left 10 children.

   

Thomas Bottomley the grandson, and his wife Ellen kindly submitted by Tannis Pond

Thomas Bottomley senior died in 1852. The business was continued by his grandsons, the sons of Thomas junior: William, Robert and Thomas. William became the owner of Ramsden Mill, whilst William, Robert and their sister Susan became the owners of Spring Mill, trading as Bottomley Bros.

   

They re-furnished Ramsden Mill with cotton spinning machinery, principally for weft, and continued there for over 20 years using the water and steam power formerly used by the Law Brothers. In 1871 they employed 113 hands.

On 5th July 1873 the following report appeared in the Haifax Courier:

Flood damage at Messrs. Bottomley, Ramsden Wood Mill, washing away of weirs, walls and removal of cast iron trunk. Damage £250.

   

In 1874, William had a trip to Rio de Janeiro in South America where he intended to grow cotton. He was presented with an inscribed dressing case for the occasion by his friends.

 

Sarah Nuttall, first wife of William Bottomley and mother of his children, kindly submitted by Tannis Pond

 

By 1878 the Bottomley family had hit the slippery slope. First, both mills were put into liquidation as reported in the local press:

Halifax Guardian 18th May 1878

Petitions in liquidation including William Bottomley of Ramsden Wood Mill, Walsden, cotton spinner, liabilities £9592.18s.11d.  Also William Bottomley, Robert Bottomley and Susan Bottomley, trading as Bottomley Bros. at Spring Mill, Walsden, liabilities £12,493.4s.8d.

Then almost immediately afterwards, Robert died aged 37. Thomas and his wife Ellen moved to Manchester where he returned to employment in the corn industry. This left William with all the problems. He was still working in 1881, employing just 14 men, 5 boys and 13 women, but by 1882 he had commenced a new occupation - that of Postmaster for Todmorden. In 1883, Thomas and his family emigrated to Canada, followed in 1890 by William.

William Gabbott, previously the tenant of the mill at WARLAND, took over as a tenant, and ran both mills for a couple of years. After that both Ramsden Mill and Spring Mill were offered for sale about 1885, and the Local Board even considered buying the reservoirs and water rights for use for the town's supply.

The two mills and a large weaving shed, water rights and water falls, steam engine boilers, waterwheels, offices, gas works, 2 good dwelling houses and a cluster of other dwelling houses, farmland, stables, gardens, and the other appurtenances of the business were sold to Messrs. Marshall, Brooks and Co. of Sowerby Bridge, dyers and finishers. This firm made alterations and installed a large quantity of new machinery to suit their business of dyeing and finishing fustians, velvets and other fabrics, which they did on an extensive scale for a few years before dissolving the partnership. Once again, the place was on the market and standing idle.  

The next buyer was Henry Varley, late of Frieldhurst Mill. He started to convert the mills back to their original use, and employed cotton spinners and weavers, who were pleased to have the employment. Before his first winter at Ramsden, he laid gas pipes from Todmorden Gas Company's mains at Bottoms in Walsden, less than a mile lower down the lane, but before the work was completed, he left unexpectedly to retire from his "home in the wood" to a "cottage in the village".

   

Top and Bottom Shops

In 1889 both mills were again sold at public auction, the buyer being Isaac Hartley of Springside Mill and Dyeing Works. He made alterations and improvements to the plant and power, mainly by re-arranging the old water wheel, which had previously been discarded in favour of a turbine wheel, and carried on the business of dyeing and finishing fustians, velvets etc.
   
By 1907 the mills were once more closed and disused. In more recent years, Walsden Printing Company occupied them, running them as a textile printing works. They finally closed in 2001.
   
The mills were beautifully located on Ramsden Wood Road, a narrow lane, which twists and turns as it climbs the slopes for less than a mile from Bottoms in Walsden. They were set amidst woods and watercourses a million miles away from the busy valley bottom.

Ramsden Mill shortly before demolition started

   
At the time this photo was taken in 2006, both mills had gone with the exception of one tall building, and the land was being prepared for building a new housing estate. Despite valiant efforts by local people to preserve the mill, the development went ahead.
   

Opposite Ramsden Mill the cottages the Laws and the Bottomleys built are still standing, quaint and charming with their gable ends to the lane and small courtyards to their fronts. The cottages are desirable dwelling houses, each with several stories to tell .

We are indebted to Tannis Pond for the photos and some information on the Bottomley family.

 

Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group

 

Jeremiah Jackson’s accounts books 1819, 1823, 1824

Thomas Bottomley, Spring Mill

Baines 1822

Thomas and Robert Law, cotton spinners

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinner

Pigot and Deane 1824-25

Robert Law & Co. Ramsden Mill

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinner

Baines 1825

Robert Law & Co. Ramsden Mill, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinner

Pigot 1828-29

Robert Law & Co. Ramsden, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Parson and White 1830

Robert Law & Co. Ramsden Mill, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinner, Ramsden Clough

Pigot 1834

Robert Law & Co. Ramsden Wood Mill, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinners and manufacturers.

Power loom returns by Robert Barker 4th Feb. 1836

Thomas Bottomley; 43 cotton power looms, employs 16, average wages 18+ years is 12 shillings. Not difficult to obtain labour.

White 1842 and 1843

Robert Law & Co. Ramsden Road, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Thomas Bottomley, cotton spinners and manufacturers

List of Todmorden voters 30th July 1842

Robert Law (deceased) living Ramsden Clough, lease of house and mill for years, Ramsden Clough.

Thomas Law, Deanroyd, lease of mill for years, Ramsden Clough.

Thomas Bottomley (senior), living Spring Mill, Ramsden Wood, lease of mill for years, Spring Mill.

Halifax Guardian 29th January 1848

Ramsden Mill started work again last week, having stood for more than 6 months.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 5th November 1853

To be sold by private treaty all that valuable cotton mill called Ramsden Wood Mill, with steam engines, waterwheel, eleven cottages, land and appurtenances. Waterpower about 11hp and steam engines 22hp. Apply James Stansfield, solicitor.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 3rd Dec. 1853

As above, with following addition: If desired, a portion of the purchase money may remain on security of the premises £1,000 and several smaller sums to lend on eligible mortgage security.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser February 1856

To be sold or let:

The cotton mill near Ramsden Wood, Todmorden lately worked by water and steam power. Former estimated at 11hp and latter at 22hp. Also 11 cottages at Ramsden Wood. If sold, a considerable proportion of the purchase money may remain on security of premises, and if desired it will be let in separate rooms to several tenants. Apply Matthias Law of Deanroyd, Mr. William Law of Ramsden Wood or James Stansfield, solicitor.

Walsden Rates Books 1860-1880

Owner and occupier Thomas Bottomley executors; mill, shed etc. Spring Mill; rateable value £252.18s.11d.

1861 – additional power £7.18s.8d.

1866 – RV £261.9s.0d. Gas works £8.11s.0d.

1869 – new office £4.1s.0d.

1879 – gas works empty

1880 – empty, RV £264.

Walsden Rates Books 1860

Occupier William Bottomley, owner H. Armitage; cotton mill Ramsden South, rateable value £181.4s.0d.

Walsden Rates Books 1861-76

Owner and occupier William Bottomley, cotton mill and power, Ramsden South, rateable value £149.10s.0d.

1861 – new scutch room £4.9s.8d.

1866 – RV £151.9s.0d.

White 1866

Thomas Bottomley executors, cotton spinners and manufacturers.

Slater 1875

Bottomley Bros. and William, cotton spinners and manufacturers.

Walsden Rates Books 1879-80

Empty, owner William Bottomley, Ramsden Wood, mill and power £253. Reservoir £21.10s.0d.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st Aug. 1879

Ramsden Wood Higher Mill is empty. Ramsden Wood Lower Mill, 6,000 spindles closed.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 4th June 1880

Auction of two cotton mills in Ramsden Wood, and 23 dwelling houses. No offers.

Walsden Rates Books 1881

Occupier William Gabbott, owner William Bottomley, Ramsden Wood, mill and power £253. Reservoir £21.10s.0d.

Occupier William Gabbott, owners Bottomley Bros., Spring Mill, 50hp steam; 5hp water; rateable value £123.

Halifax Courier 11th August 1883

Auction of Ramsden Wood Mill and 12 cottages – no offer at all.

Walsden Rates Books 1883

Permanently unoccupied, owner William Bottomley, Ramsden Wood, mill and power.

Halifax Courier 6th Sept. 1884

Rumour that the mill at Ramsden Wood, Walsden, has been taken on a 7-year lease by a firm of dyers and finishers from Sowerby Bridge. Said that 300 hands will be employed.

Todmorden Advertiser 19th Sept 1884

Sale by private treaty; 134 old looms, 1 beaming frame, to be seen at Spring Mill, Ramsden Wood.

Notes of John Travis, contemporary historian:

About 1885, Ramsden Wood Mills for sale. The two mills and a large weaving shed at the higher place with water rights, steam engines etc. sold to Messrs. Marshall, Brooks and Co. of Sowerby Bridge, dyers, finishers etc. Made alterations and put in large new plant for dyeing fustians, velvets and other fabrics. Only continued about 2 years and parted by mutual arrangement. Some of the later additions of machinery sold out, and then the place for sale again.

Halifax Courier 16th May 1885

Dyeing works of Marshall, Brooks & Co. Ramsden Wood, employing labour.

Halifax Courier 5th Sept 1885

Fire at Ramsden Wood Dye Works, Marshall Brooks & Co. little damage.

Walsden Rates Book 1885

Owners and occupiers Marshall Brooks & Co. dye works; Spring Mill, rateable value £234.

Owners and occupiers Marshall Brooks & Co. dye works; Ramsden Mill, rateable value £90.10s.0d.

Halifax Courier 17th October 1885

Since works at Ramsden Wood, Walsden, were begun by Marshall Brooks & Co. dyers, property in area well tenanted. Firm employ good number of hands, but short time in some departments.

Notes from John Travis, contemporary historian:

Ramsden Wood Mills stood empty for some time after Marshall Brooks & Co. gave up. Then purchased by Henry Varley, dyer and finisher, late of Frieldhurst Mill on Burnley Road. Had gas pipes laid from Todmorden Gas Company’s mains but soon gave up and retired to a cottage in the village.

Walsden Rates Book 1890

Owner and occupier Henry Varley; dye works and power; Spring Mill rateable value £234.

Owner Henry Varley; dye works and power; Ramsden Mill, rateable value £90.10s.0d.

Walsden Rates Book 1894

Owner and occupier Isaac Hartley, dye works and power, Spring Mill, rateable value £187.

 

 

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