A NEW booklet has delved back into the history of Honley’s oldest mill.
A relic dating from 1792, Lord’s Mill can be found at Woodbottom off Old Moll Road, just three-quarters-of-a-mile from Moorbottom roundabout which is in the centre of the village.
The 28-page booklet – 19th Century Life at Lord’s Mill – has been written by Caroline Page from Honley Civic Society’s History Group.
It reveals something about the lives of the workers and the mill owners.
The mill was built in 1792 by Lord Dartmouth – the Lord of Lord’s Mill – and occupied since by various clothiers and mill owners. It was extended twice.
Chapters dealing with accidents, fires and social outings paint a fascinating picture of the life of the mill.
Over the years the mill has seen some dramatic incidents.
A blaze broke out on March 10, 1849, in a store or dyehouse. The alarm was spread and many people flocked to the mill and emergency messages were sent for the water engines from John Brooke and Sons in Armitage Bridge and David Shaw and Son of Crossley Mill in Honley. Shaw’s fire engine, Hercules, arrived quickly, drawn by four horses, and they prevented the fire from spreading to the main mill.
Just over 100 years later on August 1, 1952, a severe fire broke out in a carding machine on the top floor at around 12 noon. The flames quickly spread and fire crews from Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Meltham arrived to find the top floor and roof well alight. Two-thirds of the roof was damaged along with half of the top floor and the rest of the building was severely damaged.
In July 1868 a steam engine broke with a tremendous crash. The engine drove all the machinery in the mill and every wheel was immediately brought to a standstill and nearly 100 employees found themselves without work for a while.
Overloading was the cause. The engine was calculated as having a nominal output of 16 horsepower yet it was producing 70 horsepower to run the mill.
Chartism was a movement for political and social reform between 1838 and 1848 and during a Chartist insurrection in Huddersfield Market Place a Lord’s Mill employee suffered a sword injury to the head during a cavalry charge by the military.
In terms of its history, the mill’s first tenants were John and Richard Beaumont and it began as a scribbling, carding and fulling mill.
The fulling mills’ function was to take the clothier’s pieces and to process them to give a dense, felted finish by a practice known as prolonged pounding – and the mill had a water wheel inside it to power the process.
By 1805 the mill’s occupiers were William Elmsall and John Beaumont and the annual rent was £7 and five shillings.
The Heap family – clothiers from Oldfield – took over in 1854. They lived at Crosland Hall and became woollen manufacturers and merchants on a large scale, but by the 1880s times had become tough with a meeting of creditors in 1884 to thrash out the mill’s future and by 1886 the lease had changed to Netherton silk dyer George Oldham.
The mill was in use well into the second half of the 20th century when the building was occupied by Magdale Spinning Company who used the top two floors and by Magdale Textiles on the lower two.
Now, sadly, it is empty and derelict.
Published by Honley Civic Society and costing £3.50, the booklet is available from Holmfirth Tourist Information Office and at the Civic Society stall in Honley Christmas Street market this Saturday.