Despite training as an engineer, and even being recognised by the Engineering Council as a Chartered Engineer, I can be a bit of a Luddite when it comes to new technology. Take sat navs. My theory is that you only really need them for the last 5 miles of a journey as you can get to most places using road signs, common sense and map books, as we have done for generations. However, this does become harder when you’re on your own with no passenger. My refusal to buy a sat nav really bit me on the arse hard when I went to visit Wellington mills in Oldham. I’d arranged to meet Gibbo, Scott, R1 and the legendary Bungle for a look round the Wellington Mill complex in Greenfield near Oldham. As I’m wasn’t even remotely familiar with Oldham and it’s wretched environs, I ended up getting hopelessly lost before somehow finding my way up out of the town and into the nearby mountains that overlook the town. After arriving at the mill an impressive 45 minutes late, I wondered how on earth I was going to get in, before remembering I had gibbo’s phone number from a previous explore. Thankfully he had his phone on, and came to meet me, explaining that they’d already done one mill, and were about to start on one of the others.
Paraphernalia from the workforce – largely Asian I would suggest from this evidence.
The site actually had several mills, although some large sheds had been demolished previously. Like most closed mills these days, the place was largely empty but for the pigeons, but here was some machinery still dotted around the site – an old carding engine on one floor and a modern, but stripped out loom on another. Well, except for the engineers shop was which was full of all kinds of old junk, and appeared to be still in use, although it was unclear how long the message on the white board ‘got bored, gone home’ had been there.
Circles and Spirals
By and large, this was just another empty mill though, with not too much to look at, even the engine house was pretty unimpressive as these things go. This being an evening explore, light was starting to fade, but we thought we’d press on to see the lot, but then someone spotted a PIR, and it looked active, so we legged it. Exit was quicker than the entry which I missed, but basically involved Scott using his climbing skills to access a second storey fire escape before ascending to the ground floor from the inside and letting everyone in. As we were already inside, it was a case of finding a door and then heading back to the main gate.
Remarkably, I found my way home without a hitch. The following year, I succumbed to the inevitable and acquired a sat nav, and my days of magical mystery tours sadly came to an end……
Sadly, the mill complex has been cleared away apart from one small mill, which the owner tells me will be used for something useful. The rest of the site is now a Tesco, and let’s face it, the world has a shortage of Tesco’s doesn’t it……..?
The sunsets on the rooftop Northlight windows. Quite unusual this, all the other multi storey mills I’ve been to have had flat roofs, with Northlight windows just on the single storey sheds.