#456 – Mutual Mills

In 1965, Mutual Mills had more than 1,000 people on the payroll and, as well as its textiles operation, had its own Adelaide Engineering division on site (who are still active on site as a sub-contract machining operation). In the 1970s and early 1980s, Heywood’s textile mills were closing down at a rapid rate, blaming…

#455 – Vernon Carus Revisited

I visited Vernon Carus’ old Penwortham Mills site back in 2007, not long after the site had closed and work transferred to a new factory round the corner from my house in Chorley. At the time, there was a full time security guard on site who kindly let me wander round for a couple of…

#453 – Colne Mills

North Valley Road through Colne used to be lined with several sister mills to the Smith & Nephew Brierfield Mills, but all have been demolished and replaced with shiny new supermarkets and car dealerships which gives a veneer of modernity to impress people passing through. But away from this facade is another typical East Lancashire…

#452 – Rossendale Mills – The Lancashire Sock Company

Not too long ago, there were many little mills, bleachers and dyers in the valleys of northern England. The past 20 years has seen them disappear or redeveloped into apartments, as property prices increase and gentrified semi-rural living has become more popular. The valleys of Rossendale though are strangely untouched in this regard, with many…

#451 – Rossendale Mills – The Lancashire Sock Company

I was comforted to discover that a company called The Lancashire Sock Manufacturing Company exist in a mill in Bacup. I’m not saying this in a patronising, sneering kind of way – I’m always pleased to discover traditional, long established manufacturing companies in old mills. There’s also the no-nonsense ‘does what it says on the tin’…

#441 – Brierfield Mill Part 8 – The Shopfloor

I’ve saved the shopfloor to last as, well, there wasn’t much of interest to shoot. 380000 square feet of basically f*** all and pigeons. The mill had been methodically stripped of everything. But as a photographer, that’s fine as it forces me to look beyond the empty space and try harder to see things. It…

#440 – Brierfield Mill Part 7 – Doors and (more) Windows

Like all big mills, Brierfield has lots of windows. Hundreds of them. So here’s a few more, plus a door. Weaving shed floor. This was a more modern portal framed building roof built onto an older weaving shed, giving the place substantially more volume. This wall runs alongside the Leeds Liverpool Canal affording some lovely…

#439 – Brierfield Mill Part 6 – The Clock Tower

The clock tower is an interesting focal point from a photographic perspective. However on closer inspection it doesn’t look quite right. Site Supervisor Paul worked in the mill for a large part of his career and is of the opinion that not only is it a somewhat later addition, but that the design was actually…

#438 – Brierfield Mill Part 5 – The Clock

One of the most interesting (and inaccessible) remains in the mill is the clock. It is electro-mechanical (electricity winds it up, effectively) and a lovely thing to behold. And to top things it off, it rings a large bell, which was inaccessible to a large fellow like myself. Carved into the wood supports for the…

#437 – Brierfield Mill Part 4 – Reception

The timber lined reception had been untouched by the demolition crew that had cleared out the admin building (the entire site is listed so no buildings are getting pulled down). It’s symmetry appealed to me so I made the most of it. Unfortunately all the offices had been stripped and the internal walls reduced to…