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STONESWOOD LOWER MILL

Bacup Road (Dulesgate)

Todmorden

Map Ref. SD 922233

 

Known occupiers

1796 - 1811

BARKER Charles & HAMER Luke

1811 – 1815

BARKER Charles

1818-1885

FIELDEN Bros.

(Joshua Fielden’s personal property, bequeathed in trust to his daughter Jane Ramsbottom on his death in 1847 but administered by the Fielden Bros. partnership)

1860

Empty, rebuilt or altered

1890

Empty

1894-1908

WALTON John

1971

CRABTREE E. & Sons Ltd.

1979

P & M Services Ltd., printed circuit manufacturer

 

Illustrated history

 

 

Stoneswood, or more properly, the Inchfield Pasture Cotton Mill, is one of the very early cotton carding and spinning mills. It is situated in the Dulesgate valley (Bacup Road), obtaining its power from the Dulesgate stream. The original mill would have been a small affair with a water wheel. The present mill consists of two adjacent but separate buildings. The higher of the two is the older, and would have replaced the original mill. The lower building was erected much later, about 1900. Both buildings are 3 storeys high. The space between the two is used for car parking and as a loading bay.

   

The older of the two buildings

In 1796 John Greenwood sold the water rights of part of Midgelden Brook at Dulesgate, together with some pieces of land, to Christopher Rawdon of Underbank in Stansfield. Christopher Rawdon sold a 999 year lease on the land to Charles Barker of HANGINGSHAW and Luke Hamer of Knowlwood, cotton weft spinners and co-partners. These two men built the original mill and continued in business, paying Mr. Rawdon £18 a year rent. Luke moved his family to live at the mill and his daughter Mary was born there in 1807.
   
Luke Hamer died aged just 28 years in 1810. His wife Jane (Haigh) became entitled to his half share of the mill and premises and in 1811 assigned it to Charles Barker by way of a mortgage for £400. Charles continued on his own until 1815 when he was declared bankrupt. The lease was sold at auction for £1370 to John Greenwood of North Scaitcliffe who also purchased the freehold from Christopher Rawdon for a further £450.
 

The property was left empty for 3 years until 1818 when Joshua Fielden of Waterside purchased it for a very reasonable price. The Fieldens introduced steam power and had the mill equipped for cotton preparation, throstle spinning and warping.

 

In 1832, the water wheel was still used for power, and there were 42 throstles and over 5,000 spindles. The buildings and power were valued at £3,000 whilst the machinery was valued at £1,777. By 1856, there were 54 employees, comprising 19 children under the age of 13, 25 women and 10 men.

   

The manager at this time was John Haigh who lived at Stoneswood Bottom. John was an interesting character, having worked for the Fielden Brothers for many years, from the bottom up. It was unusual for him to be manager, as the Fieldens normally employed a member of the family for that situation. However, John Haigh was competent and faithful. The Factory Inspectors described him as "a person of superior ability and intelligence, intimately acquainted with cotton spinning."

John would have been well rewarded for his work, in particular through bonuses, commissions or profit participation. Outside his work, John was an active Chartist and anti-poor law supporter alongside his boss, John Fielden MP. He was also a member of the SELECT VESTRY, which was the forerunner of elected Local Government. John was unmarried. He died in 1852 aged 67.

Other workers in 1841 were: John Braman, an overlooker. He lived in the first cottage with his wife and nine children, six of who also worked at the mill. Next door was Thomas Pollard, a carter with four children working in the mill. Next was Alice Hirst with seven children, five of them at the mill. Next were John Haigh and his housekeeper. Next door to John was Matthew Hirst, another overlooker, then Robert Holmes, a 25-year-old engine tenter, and in the last dwelling were Arabella Horsfall and her son, both of whom worked at the mill.

   
Despite the down turn in trade during and after the American Civil war and the ensuing cotton panic, the Fieldens modernized the mill in 1860 and kept it working throughout the bad times. In 1861, the cottages were still occupied by mill workers, including John Sutcliffe, a warehouseman, James Astin, John Pollard, an overlooker, Matthew Hirst, an overlooker and others, including a 13 year old James Sutcliffe who was a donkey driver!
   

On 23rd July 1861 the following valuation of Stoneswood Mill was made:

    floors yards drive value
Mill 81ft x 66ft x 6ft 3 1746 17 £138.4s.6d
Staircase 16ft x 9ft x 6ft 3 50 17 £3.19s.2d
Scutch room 30ft x 27ft x 6ft 1 150 17 £12.0s.8d
Engine house 37ft x 15ft x 6ft 1.5 95 16 £7.2s.6d
Boiler house 35ft x 12ft x 9ft 2 93 14

£6.4s.0d

Wheel race 27ft x 9ft x 16ft 2 98 1 £4.18s.0d
   
In 1880, the carding machines were replaced, and in 1885, ten new ring throstles were installed at a cost of £2,028. However, by 1889, the Fieldens decided it was no longer an economical mill and closed it. The building was left derelict once again for several years. The machinery, boilers and engines were sold to Smith Starkie, machine broker.
   

On 1st June 1893, the mill, together with its 6 cottages at Stoneswood Bottom and building land, came under the hammer at the White Hart, where the auctioneer was Mr. Gledhill. The lot appears to have sold for £500, although that seems a paltry sum even for that time. The cottages appear to have fetched £550.

   

 

Original sale advert and plan of the site, taken (with permission) from the current owner/occupiers' website

http://www.p-m-services.co.uk/index.htm.

Lot 19

With detached scutching and waste rooms, situate and known as Stoneswood Mill, Todmorden, together with the reservoir, water wheel, double-flued steam boiler and economisers, horizontal high and low pressure steam engine, shafting and gearing, steam, gas and water piping. The premises (including the reservoir) cover an area of 5653 superficial square yards. The lot is very well adapted for ring spinning, and is suitable for a woollen mill, the ready-mde clothing trade, or almost any textile industry. This lot is now vacant.

   

The next occupier was John Walton, a picker manufacturer of GAUXHOLME PICKERWORKS. 

   
John Walton ensured his firm was known through out the valley by daubing the end of the building in white painted advertisements, which can still be seen today. This firm remained there until about 1906 and was responsible for building the lower of the two buildings.
   

First floor of the mill about 1905

Mr. Walton is the man in the dark suit.

Photo by kind permission of Roger Birch

   
   
Sometime during (I think) the 1950's, the mill was used by the Cairns Cycle and Accessory Manufacturing Co. Ltd. for the manufacture of a motorised bicycle, the Mocyc. The selling features of this machine were: it did up to 225 miles per gallon, the tyre wear was negligible, road tax was just 17/6d a year, the engine, which was mounted on the front wheel, could be removed at any time for conversion to a normal bicycle, and the cruising speed was 18 to 20 miles an hour.
   

In 1971, the mill was occupied by E. Crabtree & Sons Ltd. and then in 1979 the present family purchased the mill. They are P & M Services (Rochdale) Ltd. and are concerned with the manufacture of Printed Circuit Boards. The firm owns both of the buildings and have converted them for modern use, leaving the exteriors faithfully authentic. We are very grateful to them for the use of some of their photographs and memorabilia.

click on map for an enlargement

The present owners and occupiers of the mill, P & M Services (R) Ltd. have their own website at http://www.p-m-services.co.uk/index.htm. This site is well worth a visit to see lots more old photos, and of course what the present owners are up to.

 

Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group

 

Indenture 3rd September 1796

From the deeds of Fern Cottage and Higher Stoneswood Mill.

Christopher Rawdon paid the sum of £210 to John Greenwood for the water rights arising from Midgelden Brook downwards from Higher Stoneswood Corn Mill for 341 yards, and certain pieces of land along this water course in the area of Dulesgate.

 

Indenture 1st March 1804

From the deeds of Fern Cottage and Higher Stoneswood Mill.

Between Christopher Rawdon of Underbank (1) and Charles Barker of Hangingshaw and Luke Hamer of Knowlwood, cotton weft spinners and co-partners in that trade (2). The indenture gave Charles Barker and Luke Hamer a 999 year lease as tenants in common and not joint tenants from 1st May 1804 on the water rights and lands purchased by Christopher Rawdon by the indenture dated 3rd September 1796. This also included the “new erected mill or factory late built by Charles Barker and Luke Hamer”. The rent on the whole property was payable to Christopher Rawdon and amounted to £18 in two equal half year payments.

 

Crompton’s 1811 spindle enquiry

Stoneswood; 480 mule spindles (20 x 20 doz); 480 throstle spindles (4 x 120); 1440 mule spindles (6 x 20 doz).

 

Indenture 25th September 1811

From the deeds of Fern Cottage and Higher Stoneswood Mill.

Mortgage between Charles Barker of Hangingshaw, cotton spinner (1), Jenny Hamer of Dean, widow (2) and others  …  whereas Luke Hamer lately deceased intestate, Jenny Hamer his widow obtained Letters of Administration granting her the personal estate and effects of Luke Hamer, and as such she became entitled to “one undivided moiety of the premises” for the remainder of the term of 999 years  … she assigned her moiety to Charles Barker for the consideration of £400 using the premises as security. Charles Barker also borrowed against the property from John Crossley of Great House, Stansfield, gentleman, John Hamer, cotton spinner, and John Haigh of Chadderton, farmer.

 

Indenture 1st December 1815

From the deeds of Fern Cottage and Higher Stoneswood Mill.

Between the assignees of Charles Barker of Hangingshaw, bankrupt. The bankruptcy was awarded 7th March 1815. John Barker of Woodfield Top was appointed provisional assignee. Sale by auction of leasehold premises, and was purchased by John Greenwood of North Scaitcliffe for £1370.

 

Indenture 1st Feb 1816

From the deeds of Fern Cottage and Higher Stoneswood Mill

Christopher Rawdon of Underbank sold to John Greenwood of North Scaitcliffe the lands and water rights previously leased to Charles Barker and Luke Hamer for the sum of £457.

 

Fielden papers

20th March 1860

Letter to Earnshaw & Co. complaining that the connecting rods for the Stoneswood engines arrived at “very untimely hours”. Will only receive during the working hours of the mill:- 6am to 6pm and 6am to 1pm Saturdays.

 

Todmorden Rates Book 1860

Empty. Owners Fielden Bros. Stoneswood Mill; cotton mill; rateable value £148.2s.8d

 

Todmorden Rates Book 1861-65

Occupiers Fielden Bros; owner Ramsbottom; Stoneswood Cotton Mill; rateable value £153.5s.11d.

3.25hp water power

3.5hp steam

 

Fielden papers

30th April 1863

Letter to Earnshaw, Barlow & Holt – boiler at Stoneswood still defective

 

Todmorden Rates Book 1866-79

Owners and occupiers Fielden Bros; Stoneswood; mill and power; rateable value £158.8s.0d

 

Halifax Courier 5th July 1879

Work people at Stoneswood Mill stopped for indefinite period.

 

Todmorden Rates Book 1880-85

Owners and occupiers Fielden Bros; Stoneswood; mill, steam & water power; rateable value £139.

 

Todmorden Rates Book 1890

Empty; owners Fielden Bros; Stoneswood; mill, steam & water power; rateable value £139.

 

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st August 1879

Stoneswood Mill, spindles running 3 days

 

Notes from John Travis (Chapters of Todmorden History)

Stoneswood Mill formerly Fielden bros. but given up many years ago and machinery moved to Waterside. Stood derelict for many years then machinery sold to Smith Starkie. He removed the engines and boilers and sold what remained to John Walton, picker manufacturer of Gauxholme who began to prepare the place for a fresh type of work.

 

Views and Reviews 1896

Thomas and John Walton, picker manufacturers, Stoneswood Mill. Business established in 1870 by brothers Thomas and John who developed a large industry at GAUXHOLME PICKERWORKS. They moved to Stoneswood about 2 years ago. Stoneswood premises cover 2 acres; main building originally a Fielden cotton mill and is substantially built. Steam and water power. Thomas died about 7 years ago, surviving partner John.

Todmorden Rates Book 1894

Owned and occupied by John Walton; picker maufactury and water power; Stoneswood; rateable value £51.

 

Kelly 1897

John Walton, Stoneswood Mill, picker makers

 

Kelly 1908

Thomas and John Walton, Stoneswood Mill, picker makers

 

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