#433 – The last days of Sunnyside Mills, Bolton

I happened on this article last week and decided to take some time to get a few photographs of this landmark mill tower before it disappeared.DSC_6944

I got there just in time. Demolition contractors were on site and much of the rest of the mill had already gone. It’s a difficult place to photograph as you can’t really get near the place and I didn’t have time to go and speak to the demo team about getting on site. Thankfully the van hire company on the adjacent plot let me take some pictures from their fortified compound, and google maps and street view showed that there was a view from a modern housing estate behind.img015

The mill complex as it was in the 1920’s, with Swan lane Mills at the top of the image. The tower I photographed can be seen in the bottom quarter of the image. 

Sunnyside Mills

A screen grab from Bing Maps. Much of the site was cleared in 1982, not long after closure. New housing has been built to the south, but the site of 4 shed has just been left as wasteland, other than an area used by the van hire company.

The mills were built between 1862 and 1867, and extended in 1872, by Tootal Broadhurst and Lee. This company ran the mill until 1964 when they were acquired by English Sewing Cotton Co. Ltd. At the time, the mill employed 1200 people, a considerable number for any mill at that time.

The mill was one of Bolton’s largest and was a rare example of a vertically integrated mill – having spinning, weaving and dyeing on site, as well as a foundry that was used to manufacture their own looms. It switched to electric power quite early in 1910 and saw investment in research and modern equipment which saw it last until 1980, some 20 years after the huge rationalisation of the cotton industry which saw the majority of Bolton’s remaining mills close. The site

A great engraving, in the typically exaggerated Victorian style, can be found here.


View over the weaving shed wall to Swan Lane Mills, two very large and imposing mills.


Some very nice wrought ironwork. It would be nice if this was removed and preserved before the tower comes down.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Nice photos and accompanying images, helps to get an overall feel for the site before it is lost. What an impressive tower- and yes, it would be nice if that wrought ironwork had been saved. Amazing little details on the ironwork, that couldn’t possibly have been seen by the folk down on the ground- makes you wonder why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. andy says:

      Yes it’s a lovely little piece of ironwork, probably just one of those little extravagances that were put in by the architects and signed off by the owners. Must have been hell of a place in its peak, hard to imagine that there were once loads of places as big as this that have also disappeared.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elsie Hatton-King says:

    I worked in the Personnel Dept. here in the late 60s/early 70s. It was an amazing place and I had a wonderful boss, Jack Middleton.

    Sad to see that Sunnyside is demolished, a whole way of life is (sorrowfully) gone.

    If anyone is interested to see the mill, albeit briefly, it is shown in the film ‘Spring and Port Wine’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. andy says:

      Thanks Elsie!


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