I grew up in a town full of red brick mills. They were all very similar to New Mill, being very large 4 or 5 storey mills, sometimes in large complexes of two, three, four or even five mills. As the industry shrunk dramatically from the early 60’s onwards, these giants and their chimnies started to vanish from the urban landscape.
Seeing the partly demolished mill reminded me of a gym I used to go to in the early 90’s in Mossfield Mill in Bolton. One half of the mill had been demolished, and left open to the elements, while the gym and a couple of other businesses continued to operate as normal in what I think was the cotton store attached to the other end. The doors off the well worn staircase to the top floor were normally locked shut, but occasionally were open, affording a surreal view of the Bolton townscape beyond the empty mill floor.
Eventually, the gym and other tenants moved out and Mossfield Mill went the way of New Mill and many others, a big pile of rubble and a big empty space for redevelopment. Some of the stone detailing that reads ‘Bamber Bridge Spinning Company’ and ‘1907’, ‘may’ be salvaged and used at the entrance to the regenerated site – I imagine this is if the demolition workers can be bothered to bring it down in one piece, which I’d be surprised at.
Of course, the million dollar question is, what will replace the mill? A Morrisons supermarket. Just what the area needs, another supermarket. Oh wait. No. No it doesn’t. Not even slightly.