Maybe as late as ten years ago, I’d never have found a place like this. I often use Geograph to search for places, and came across this place in Ovenden, near Halifax. Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s possible to scout for locations without leaving the comfort of your own home. Tools such as Geograph, Bing Maps, Google Earth, Google Street View and such like allow you to see far more of what’s really there than good old fashioned OS maps, as the map is not the territory.
That said, until these resources are in real time, nothing is ever 100% up to date. Several times I’ve turned up to places that no longer exist, but thankfully, this place was as advertised, and was a geniune ‘walk in’ access.
In all honesty, this falls into the category of ‘another empty mill’, and there is very little left beyond the walls, floors and ceilings. Actually that’s overstating it – this place is just a shell. And that’s what makes photographing these places such a challenge – trying to get something out of nothing. That’s when I try to capture the atmosphere of a place, or try to capture how I felt about a place, but even this was a struggle.
From an architectural perspective, the hipped roof is unusual, as is the latrine tower that protrudes the full height of the mill on one elevation, but ultimately there wasn’t a hell of a lot to see. As this is a listed building I imagine that someone will buy it and convert it, into something useful but at the moment it stands bleak and empty.
Boiler house remains
The mill was of fireproof construction, and the ceilings were brick arched. I imagine that the floor would probably have timbers laid over the stone flags, as these helped absorb the machine oil, but are long gone.
The old engine house is still there, replete with some original features, but sadly, a badly built concrete staricase now fills the room. I’m hazarding a guess that this was for a beam enginer, given the height and the cross member that I think the beam would have pivoted on.
How many thousands of clog clad feet would have pounded up and down these stairs over the years? Enough to have worn away the steps quite significantly, as can be seen on the left.