|Richard Ingham senior began as a worsted stuff maker before starting in the cotton spinning business at CASTLE MILL and then at CINDERHILL MILL. He died about 1810, leaving his three sons, Richard, John and William to continue. They traded under the name of Richard Ingham & Sons for many years after the death of their father before eventually becoming Richard Ingham & Brothers. About the time of the death of Richard senior, a third mill was added to the collection. This was Millsteads, and all three mills were located in the Castle Street area of Todmorden.
The family home of the Inghams was Castle Lodge. John was the only one to marry. He and his family lived nearby at Castle Naze, which is where his sons, Richard and John Arthur, were born. These two sons continued the family concern in later years.
In 1830, the three brothers bought a plot of land in the Castle Street area. Trading as Richard Ingham & Sons, they built Woodhouse Mill as a steam powered cotton-spinning mill in 1832. It faced onto the canal, with a tier of doors designed to take in goods directly from the boats. These doors were situated in the middle of the front wall. The hoist above these doors was attached to a small triangular pediment, which is inscribed 1832.
Woodhouse Mill 2005
The engine house and boiler house, together with the warehouse, were detached from the main building, as is the chimney. The mill was 5 storeys high, ten bays long by four bays deep. There was no weaving shed at Woodhouse, so initially all the weaving was put out to local handloom weavers. When its sister mill, Cinderhill, had a weaving shed added, the two mills ran in conjunction and home weaving was discontinued. In the 1850's they added an extension to the side of the mill, 4 storeys high with a flat roof that carried a cast iron reservoir.
John Ingham had responsibility for Woodhouse Mill, remaining at the helm until about 1860 when his sons John Arthur and William took over. John Arthur looked after the boilers and machinery whilst William took care of the paper work. By 1863, the mill had a 45hp steam engine and 2 boilers, each of 40hp. One of these boilers was new, but the other was 15 years old and recently patched up.
3rd November 1863 there was a dreadful accident at the mill
when the old patched-up boiler exploded. One girl died and 6 other people
were seriously injured. The dead girl was Sarah Greenwood. The
accident was well covered in the local and national press
as can be seen from the following extracts, kindly supplied
by John Alan Longbottom.
of the mill from above Castle Naze 2005
Boiler Explosion at Todmorden.
of these frightful contingencies to which all manufacturing districts
are liable, occurred at Todmorden, on Tuesday morning, in the
shape of a boiler explosion. Although in this case the loss of
life has fortunately not been large, yet the circumstances under
which the explosion occurred, involving as they did the narrow
escape of scores of lives from certain destruction, coupled with
the frightful havoc created by the explosion, concur in rendering
the accident one of the most memorable that has occurred for some
time. Woodhouse Mill, Langfield, is, or rather was, occupied by
Messrs. Ingham Brothers, as a cotton mill, and stood in that part
of Todmorden called Castle Street. It stood flanking the hillside,
was a substantially built edifice, five storeys in height, 30
yards long, fifteen yards wide, and had been built about 25 years
ago. Detached from the main building and standing close against
the hillside, to which it had a lean to roof, were the boiler
house and engine room, a partition wall dividing the two. This
edifice fronted the mill, a paved yard, or passage, only five
yards in width dividing them. The mill was full of valuable machinery
and the engine was one of 45 horsepower. In the shed were two
boilers, one of comparatively recent make, the other an old boiler
of 40 horse power, which had been in use 15 years, and had recently
been patched up by the insertion of new plates. It was this latter
that caused the catastrophe.
to the cotton famine, the mill had been standing up to Wednesday
week, but the boiler fires had been kept in. On Tuesday, however,
the mill was to commence running short time, and the hands were
to assemble by eight o'clock. The engine tenter, William Sharples,
was at his post the first of any, getting up steam and putting
all in readiness for resuming work. Between ten minutes to eight
and five minutes to that hour, Miles Parker, Sarah Walton, Charles
Wilson, Sarah Heyworth and Sarah Greenwood, arrived at the spot
and prepared to commence work.
four first named went into the mill, but the unfortunate girl
Greenwood having got her clothes wet, went across the yard to
the boiler house to hang her damp garments over the boilers to
dry. Meanwhile other groups of the workpeople were approaching
the mill. Suddenly and without the least previous warning, a horrid
roar strikes upon them and the boiler shed is seen to burst open
like a gigantic shell, evolving immense clouds of steam and vapour,
and streams of fire and ashes, whilst the huge and dark mass of
an enormous boiler is seen to fly like a rocket against the mill
side, striking it fair in the centre. With a fearful crash the
walls give way, the whole mill side from the bottommost to the
topmost storey, along with the flooring and roof, shuttering down
into one mass of ruin. The whole occurrence occupied but a moment's
time, and took place at three minutes to eight o'clock. Had a
single minute more intervened the loss of life would have been
deplorable, inasmuch as the various groups of workpeople approaching
the scene of a disaster would have come within reach of its influence.
it was the effect was fearful. The massive boiler had been ripped
into two parts, one being driven over to the bank and over a cottage
house to a distance of nigh upon 25 yards, whilst a flange and
a part of the manhole, each weighing a hundredweight, were forced
on the hill-side fully 100 yards distant. The boiler house was,
of course reduced to a complete wreck, the debris lying about
in all directions. The mill, except a portion of each end, presented
a complete wreck, roof, floors, and side-walls being heaped together
in one heterogeneous mass of ruin. As speedily as possible search
and enquiries were made for the injured. The four parties in the
mill, although much bruised and shaken, escaped with their lives,
being at the end of the mill when the explosion occurred. The
escape of Sharples the engine-tenter, was most wonderful. He had
only just left the boilers and was entering the engine-room when
the fearful crack and crash, together with the quivering of the
floor, told him what had happened. With great presence of mind
he ran to the window, dashed it open, and jumped out. Fortunately
the window was at one end of the shed, and so he escaped the falling
mill. Had he made his escape into the yard, he would have inevitably
been buried beneath the debris.
it fared ill with the poor girl Greenwood. She was engaged in
hanging up her clothes at the time the explosion occurred, and
was thus in the very midst of the fearful scene. A search was
made for her, and she was found many yards from the spot. Contrary
to expectation the poor girl was alive, but was in such a terrible
shattered condition that it was evident she could not long survive.
As quickly and as gently as possible she was conveyed to the Rose
and Crown Inn, which is adjacent to the mill. Messrs. Cockroft,
Foster, Sutcliffe, and Hardman, surgeons, were quickly on the
spot and attended to the injuries of all. Nothing, of course,
could be done for the girl, who gradually sank and expired about
half-past ten o'clock in the morning. The rest of the injured
parties were doing well. As the news of the disaster become known,
crowds of people flocked to the spot, and viewed the ruin made.
A body of police was early on the ground and maintained order.
As to the causes of the catastrophe the evidence at the inquest
fully proved this. The custom of working an old boiler with a
new one, at the same pressure, appears to be conducive to an explosion,
judging from the many that have occurred lately. The loss to Messrs
Ingham will be a severe one, and will amount to several thousand
Guardian 7th November 1863
of Manslaughter Against the Mill Owner.
Wednesday afternoon, the inquest on the body of the deceased girl
was held at the Rose and Crown Inn, before J. B. Ingram, Esq.,
deputy coroner, and a respectable jury. The following is a resume
of the evidence given.
Binns - I am a widow, and
live in Centre Street, Todmorden. I work for Messrs. Richard Ingham
and Sons, but not at Woodhouse Mill, the one where the explosion
occurred. Sarah Greenwood, the deceased was my sister. She was
28 years of age, and worked at Woodhouse Mill as a dyer frame
tenter. I saw her about a quarter past eight o'clock yesterday
morning, as she was going to her work. I went to Cinder Hill mill
where I work. I had not been in more than five minutes before
I heard the explosion. I went to the spot, and she was got out
in a minute or two after. She was insensible, and never spoke
Horsfall - cordwainer, Millwood,
said - I heard of the explosion and went to the spot as quickly
as possible. Assisted to search for the deceased. We found her
doubled up in a crouching position, ten yards from the mill, and
about forty from the boiler. It seemed as if she had been blown
there. She was about four feet from the yard wall. She did not
speak, and seemed insensible. I looked to see if there was any
water about, but did not see any beyond what might result from
a rainy day.
Helliwell - stone mason,
Castle Street. I know Woodhouse Mill. There were tow 40 horse-power
boilers, I set both of them. The one that has not burst I set
about three years ago. It was quite a new boiler. The other, the
one that burst, I set in the year 1848. It was then a new one.
Mr. John Ingham, the old gentleman who is since dead, gave me
my orders three years ago. There are now the two sons in the concern.
I believe John Arthur Ingham looks after the boilers and machinery,
and his brother, William looks after the books etc. William Sharples
is the engine tenter and his uncle, James Sharples is throstle
overlooker. Sometimes James used to give William a help. William
Sharples is over 20 years of age, and has been firer up since
his grandfather died. Before that he used to help a bit about
the boiler. I never heard any doubts expressed about the safety
of the boilers. In the year 1848, when I put in the boiler that
has now burst, it replaced one I had set in the year 1846.
Sharples - said, I am employed
as a throstle overlooker at Woodhouse Mill. Mr. William Ingham
was generally in the warehouse, and Mr. John Arthur Ingham looked
after the machinery. William Sharples was engine tenter. He was
21 years old, and had 15s-6d a week, for six working days. He
had been engine-tenter since last April. He had no assistance
and managed all himself. I went sometimes to look over, and if
I saw anything wrong I told him. William managed very well, and
I never saw anything wrong until the explosion. Yesterday morning
I saw nothing wrong. I was in the mill when the explosion took
place. Latterly we did not begin work until eight o'clock. I first
came to the mill at seven o'clock, and there seemed plenty of
water in the boiler. I looked, for I threw coals on the fire.
William Sharples was about, getting the steam up. I never noticed
a leak about the mid feather. The boiler rested on bricks, right
up the centre, and I was not aware of any leaks in the part resting
on the bricks. A plate was put on underneath, where it rested
on the bricks and other plates over the fire, some months ago.
They were put on because the boiler leaked. Messrs. Buckley, boiler
makers of Gauxholme did the work. I went to breakfast, and got
back to the mill at eight o'clock. After the explosion William
told me he had not started the engine when it happened. The shafting
had not run round. I saw the water moving in the glass gauge,
and it was within a very little of the top of the tube, half an
inch or so. I cannot say what water was on the top of the flues
from what was indicated in the gauge glass. There were two floats
on the boiler. One had been out of gear for some time, the stone
being off - it was the one indicating the depth of the water.
At seven o'clock the steam was at 15 to 20 inches pressure. I
do not know at what pressure it generally worked. When the engine
was standing, the boilers were fed from a cistern near; there
was a pipe and a tap on it. When the engine was working, the water
was supplied by a pump from the canal. The fires had gone out
since Wednesday, and I do not know when they were lit. No water
had been put in the boilers whilst the fires were out. There was
one lever and weight safety valve to each boiler. I do not know
if they were blowing off at the time of the explosion. On Monday,
the boilers were heated, and steam turned on to warm the mill.
After the explosion there was not much water about.
Croft, Inspector of Police,
Hebden Bridge said - When I got to the mill I saw William Sharples,
the engine-tenter. He stated to me that at five minutes to eight
o'clock he noticed the steam gauge to be near 35 pounds. He usually
worked it, so he said at 40. He was in the engine-room when the
explosion occurred, and seeing the steps had been blown away,
got out by the window. Sarah Greenwood called to him and said
Bill, the door is blown open. I
got some men to help me, and found the deceased laid ten yards
from the boiler house. The boiler had been in use 15 years, and
was ill eaten about the rivets and very much cankered. George
Sharples, grandfather to the engine-tenter, complained to the
late Richard Ingham about the boiler being in a bad state last
year. Mr. John Arthur Ingham said to me that the engine tenter
William Bailey, principal
engineer at Messrs. J. Crossley and Sons, Dean Clough Mills Halifax,
said - I have carefully examined the exploded boiler and the locality.
The hinder part in connection with the two flues, or fire-boxes,
I found to be forcibly removed from its place, as was part of
the shell and front end, caused in my opinion, from a rent in
the plates in the seventh ring from the front end. The plate where
the rent took place had been materially reduced in strength by
external corrosion, which must have been going on for some considerable
time - too often the result of boilers being placed on centre
walls or mid feathers. To my mind that method of setting boilers
cannot be too much condemned. If any leakage takes place, the
slighter the more danger, the brickwork holds the moisture, and
so prevents detection. The thickness of the plate the jury now
see is about that of a new penny piece. I have frequently seen
similar cases, produced by the same cause. The weak place, where
the rent commenced, was in the seventh ring from the front end.
A great deal of internal corrosion had gone on, which, however,
had nothing to do with the explosion. There appears to have been
an ample amount of water in the boiler at the time of the explosion,
and as far as I can judge, the gauge was in working order. The
fact of little or no water being noticed about the exploded boiler,
would not indicate positively the fact of there being a deficient
supply in at the time of the explosion, because when the iron
burst open, the greater portion of the boiling water would fly
off in the shape of steam or vapour, and the rest would be projected
in all directions. I found two safety valves, one three inches
and one four inches - the former a spring balance, and the latter
a lever and weight. I found the steam would blow off at 40 pounds
pressure, as indicated by the state of the lever balance. I have
ever reason to believe, from the statement made by William Sharples,
that there were other weights, besides the one alluded to, on
the lever at the time of the explosion. After much search, we
found the weight two fields length off the boiler. Sharples told
me there were other weights on besides the one found on the lever.
The steam gauge was of bad construction - an old compressed air
gauge, liable to get wrong, and give false indications. The boiler
was a large one, eight feet diameter, and would be likely to rupture
at a very low pressure. If the boiler had been properly examined
before the explosion, the weakness would have been found out.
a boiler should not have been used, and an ordinary engine tenter
would have detected a rupture. It was very easy to detect. The
corrosion had extended over two plates. At Messrs. Crossleys,
we remove our boilers every 10 years. We are very sensitive. Boilers
ought not to be worked for 15 years.
John Arthur Ingham said -
with regard to the decayed plates, Mr. Buckley, our boiler maker,
went through the boiler in April last, and we were not aware of
any defect or leakage. We regret the occurrence exceedingly.
part where the corrosion must have taken place, must have corroded
very suddenly and since April. We had no knowledge of it.
Sharples , after being duly
cautioned added - I say Buckley mended the boiler twice. I never
saw anything wrong with the boiler except at that time.
Buckley of Gauxholme, said
- I have been in the habit of doing work for Messrs Ingham. I
know the boiler in question, having repaired it once in June last.
We took four plates out of the fire-boxes, and put new ones in,
and put fresh doors in the boiler. Nothing more. My foreman examined
the boiler, and reported what was wanted. Mr. J. A. Ingham wished
me to give the boiler a thorough examination. I went under the
flue to see if any places were bulged. I found it flattened in
many places, but nowhere sufficient to indicate danger. I went
under the bottom, and found one place where the boiler had leaked,
but it did not appear to have done so for any considerable time.
I told Mr. Ingham I considered it safe at the pressure at which
they were working. Many of our best engineers are at fault in
regard to leaking in the middle feather being easy of detection.
In many cases it is difficult. The mode, Mr. Bailey recommends
is the one I adopt, but that, though the best, often fails in
detecting leaks over the mid-feather. The whole weight of the
boiler resting on the mid-feather, a thin plate will not give
the same sound as if resting on a surface. I have seen the boiler-plate
and I think it has been corroded in the way Mr. Bailey states.
In some instances, but not always, an engine-tenter of ordinary
skill, and with fair care, would detect them. The corrosion of
plates on mid-feathers and at the bottom of boilers is generally
confined within the breadth of the mid-feather, and when so are
exceedingly difficult to detect. I put no plate under the mid-feather
when I repaired the boiler. The corrosion on the next plate is
not so bad as where the rent
is, and extends a little wider than the mid-feather. I am not
aware that we ever repaired the boiler more than once, and certainly
not where it rests on the mid-feather.
jury returned the following verdict - We find that Sarah Greenwood, the woman whose body we viewed,
died from injuries received from the bursting of a boiler at Woodhouse
Mill, on the 3rd instant. We also further find that John Arthur
Ingham employed an incompetent person as fireman or engineer,
and consequently is guilty of manslaughter.
then made out his warrant for the committal of Mr. Ingham to York
Assizes. He was admitted to bail, himself in £200 and two
sureties of £100 each.
Arthur Ingham made application to quash the verdict of the
Coroner's Court on the grounds that the cause of Sarah Greenwood's
death was not recorded, nor the time the offence was committed.
His application was refused by Mr.
followed a lengthy and expensive trial in London, and although
John Arthur was finally acquitted of the manslaughter charge,
he was never fully forgiven. So,
it seems that the concept of Corporate Manslaughter is not
a modern one.
Arthur Ingham died in January 1900 aged 75. He had suffered
from Brights Disease for a number of years. He was a Magistrate
and a member of the School Board. He is buried in the family
vault at St. Paul's Cross Stone. He bequeathed his mills at
Woodhouse, Cinderhills and Millsteads to his sons, John Arthur
junior and Henry Mitchell Ingham. His estate was £163,500. I wonder how much money the family of Sarah Greenwood had?
Shaw, Langfield about 1900,
residence of John Arthur Ingham
The manager of the mill in 1880 was Elias Barker. He entered into a formal partnership with James Greenwood, an engineer from Halifax, and trading as Barker & Greenwood they took out a lease on both Cinderhill and Woodhouse Mills. The partnership was dissolved in 1884, from which time Elias Barker continued alone. He was last mentioned as a tenant in 1897 when his place was taken by Wilson Greenwood. It seems the mill was later purchased by Wilson Greenwood, possibly after the death of John Arthur Ingham in 1900.
photo (by kind permission of Roger Birch) shows the mill,
Bank Cottages, and the mill's detached chimney about 1906.
On 11th August 1897, the
following piece appeared in the local press:
work people employed at Woodhouse Mill by Mr. Wilson Greenwood,
to the number of about 80, presented their respected Master with
a handsome marble time-piece bearing the following inscription:
"Presented to Mr. Wilson Greenwood on the occasion of his marriage
by the workpeople at Woodhouse Mill, August 12th 1897." The members
of the cotton spinning class held under the auspices of the local
Technical Instruction Committee also presented Mr. Greenwood,
who had been their teacher, with two ornamental equestrian bronzes,
to match the time-piece, and a silver crumb tray and brush."
Mr. Greenwood was still running the mill in 1930. It then closed and was left derelict for many years. The mill was made a Grade II Listed Building and became a possible candidate for restoration and conversion to a textile and industrial museum.
© Chris Allen,
licensed as such for further reuse.
after the fire
However, in 1994 an accidental fire gutted the interior and
left it without a roof and end wall. This
put paid to any conversion, but more recently a businessman
purchased it and has restored it faithfully to its former
glory on the outside of the building, whilst converting the
interior into residential apartments.