Friday, 4 December 2015

The Things They Made.

We often associate local industry of the past with the textile trade or perhaps coal mining. A much wider and sometimes unusual range of products was also made in this locality. Here are just a few:

Bed Springs.
              The Britannia Mill at Bugsworth was built as a cotton spinning mill.  In 1903 the Britannia Wire Works Company took over the business manufacturing springs for upholstery and mattresses as well as fro the railway and aviation industries.  It closed in 1969.

Soap and Leather
                In the early 1860’s a hatters leather manufacturer was established in Ringstones Clough by John Scholes and John Handford. The business continued for more than 20 years and at one time employed 21 people. The site was
used as a soap works in the 1890’s and at the beginning of the 20th century the Blandola Company was founded. They processed seaweed and moss, producing alginates for use in the textile trade.

                Messrs Holland and Pass first started hand-making riddles at the Britannia Mill in Bugsworth about 1904. The business was transferred to Ringstones Clough in 1947 under the ownership of Hill and Sons. Large numbers were made for the railways who used them to sieve track ballast. In later years Hills concentrated on the horticultural market. This was the last remaining traditional riddle maker in the country. Sadly the business closed about two years ago.

                The Post Office Directory of 1878 lists John Atkin of Ringstones, a clock maker. Whether this was at Ringstones Farm or Clough is not known. As his name did not appear in subsequent directories the business does not seem to have lasted for long,

Wicks for Miners Lamps. 
                Built in the late 1797, Lumb Hole Mill at Kettleshulme was originally a cotton mill. Following a fire in the 1820’s the building was purchased by Mr Sheldon who converted it for making wicks for miners lamps. The mill was powered by both steam and water wheel, the machinery remaining intact. When business declined after the First World War, the mill for a time manufactured bed linen. Long disused , the building remains in good repair.

Mop Heads
                 Victoria Mill at Newtown was built in 1860 for manufacture of candle wicks. When their market declined they changed to making mop heads. The mill burnt down in 1986

              The building at the end of Lady Pit Road in Furness Vale, originally a colliery building was for some time “The Sausage Factory.

Fire Backs.
               The brickyard of Knowles and Company in Furness Vale specialised in fire bricks which had a market for the lining of furnaces and in fire backs for the domestic market. Every fireplce in the country needed a fire back.  Knowles was to a large degree self sufficient. Their mine at Furness Clough produced coal to fire the kilns and a plentiful supply of fire clay.

                In 1850 Joseph Handford fitted up a printing machine in his own house in Furness Vale and printed handkerchiefs. This was very much a one-man cottage industry.

                 Thomas Williamson’s gunpowder mill at Fernilee was built in 1878 to supply local collieries. It remained a family business until 1878 when a company ws formed with Williamson’s grandson as Managing Director.  The Chilworth Gunpowder Company took over the business in 1898 and continued to operate the mill until 1919 when demand for their products declined following the end of the war.

Paint Products  In the upper Goyt Valley was the paint mill. This postcard is dated 1908 showing the “Paint Mill Cottages”. Here was a water mill used for crushing barytes stone used in paint manufacture. The stone was transported here from another quarry nearby.  The water mill was located in a quarry which produced high quality stone.  Regent Street in London was paved with it as was part of the floor of the Houses of Parliament.


          Whaley Bridge had a wire drawing mill during the 1830’s and 40’s and two mills processing barytes,a mineral used as a whitener in paint were in operation between 1835 and 1860.


            Crist Quarry at Bugsworth produced stone with non-slip properties, ideal for paving flags and stone setts.  The stone was transported by boat from Bugsworth Basin to Manchester from where it was distributed around the country. Crist setts were among the best available and paved the streets of some of our major cities.  The quarry closed in 1928


             Badger’s Clough Farm at Higher Disley was one of the places locally where until the 1920’s, wooden skewers were made.  This had also been the site of Disley’s first Wesleyan school.

A Huge Sheet of Paper

              The Mill at Whitehough dates from 1781 when it was founded by John Booth. Purchasedd by John Ibbotson in 1822 it continued in his ownership until 1838. Various owners continued to manufacture paper but the mill now manufactures plastics products. It was here that John Ibbotson in 1827 produced a record breaking sheet of paper 1000ft long and 7ft wide.


               Nicholas Goddard of Brook House in Kettleshulme was listed in Kelly’s Directory of 1906 as a builder, joiner and wheelwright.  The Tithe map of 1849 shows Nicholas Goddard as owning nearly 20 acres of farming land in Kettleshulme.  There was a regular demand for horse drawn commercial vehicles and Goddards supplied many of our local traders with their well finished wagons and carriages.

Ginger Beer
               William Morten, one time landlord of the Dog and Partridge had established his mineral water business in Whaley Bridge by 1856. His first premises were at Rosey Bank above the Cock Hotel, later Jodrell Arms. Building of the railway required his re-location to Pear Tree Cottage in Canal Street. In 1889 he bought the property from the executors of its previous owner, John Vaux, together with Vaux’s Row, later Johnson Street and the Navigation Inn. The business was taken over in 1895 by Joshua Rhodes, a previous partner.  Mineral waters continued to be manufactured until the business was sold in 1918 to John William Grundy who transferred  production to his Stockport site.
Joshua Rhodes also had a carriage hire business and operated in 1901, the first local bus service between Whaley Bridge and New Mills.

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