OK it’s a visual cliche, but it’s a scene that will soon vanish. Beehive Mills, a grade 2 listed twin mill in Bolton will soon be demolished for more housing, so I thought it prudent to go and have a look while I still could.
The first mill was built in 1895 with the second one added in 1902. It closed as a mill relatively late (for Bolton) in 1967 and was subsequently used up until 2011 by Shop Direct as a distribution centre. This was a fairly common use for some of the larger, later Bolton mills, with the likes of Littlewoods and other catalogue companies using several mills in the town for that purpose, and indeed a couple still remain in use. However, with the inexorable rise of Amazon and other online shopping outlets, and the advent of large, modern out of town sheds closer to the motorway network, the use of old Victorian mills has declined.
It’s disappointing that Bolton council is allowing this to go ahead on several fronts. Firstly, following the controversial Horwich loco works development, it is the destruction of yet another example of Bolton’s landmark industrial heritage. If this was in ancoats, conversion would be already underway into apartments. And secondly to overturn listed building status on a building in sound condition sets a worrying precedent.