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Report - D & H Mallalieu Ltd. Bailey Mills, Delph 22/11/08

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Rookinella, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. Rookinella

    Rookinella I should have danced all night
    28DL Full Member

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    I was delving through the Dweeb Chronicles yesterday in search of some good industrial stuff to visit in the cold afternoon sunshine and this one came up trumps. It took us a while to find the exact location due to the plethora of derelict mills in the area (it was minus numbers outside and I didn't want to be aimlessly wandering around :p)

    I think we missed quite a bit looking back at the old reports but the carding machine was a stunner to see. It is just like they stopped production "mid-spin".

    A bit of history about Oldham's cotton mills from a reputable source

    Oldham from Glodwick by James Howe Carse (1831), depicts the early skyline and industrial activities of Oldham. All the green space has since been urbanised.

    Much of Oldham's history is concerned with textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution; it has been said that "if ever the Industrial Revolution placed a town firmly and squarely on the map of the world, that town is Oldham." Oldham's soils were too thin and poor to sustain crop growing, and so for decades prior to industrialisation the area was used for grazing sheep, which provided the raw material for a local woollen weaving trade. By 1756, Oldham emerged as centre of the hatting industry in England. The rough felt used in the production process is the origin of the term "Owdham Roughyed" a nickname for people from Oldham. It was not until the last quarter of the 18th century that Oldham changed from being a cottage industry township producing woollen garments via domestic manual labour, to a sprawling industrial metropolis of textile factories.

    The climate, geology, and topography of Oldham were unrelenting constraints upon the social and economic activities of the human inhabitants. Located 700 feet (213 m) above sea level with no major river or visible natural resources, Oldham had poor geographic attributes compared with other settlements for investors and their engineers. As a result, Oldham played no part in the initial period of the Industrial Revolution, although it did later become seen as obvious territory to industrialise because of its convenient position between the labour forces of Manchester and southwest Yorkshire. Cotton spinning and milling were introduced to Oldham when its first mill, Lees Hall, was built by William Clegg in about 1778, the beginning of a spiralling process of urbanisation and socioeconomic transformation. Within a year, 11 other mills had been constructed, and by 1818 there were 19 – not a large number in comparison with other local settlements. Oldham's small local population was greatly increased by the mass migration of workers from outlying villages, resulting in a population increase from just over 12,000 in 1801 to 137,000 in 1901. The speed of this urban growth meant that Oldham, with little pre-industrial history to speak of, was effectively born as a factory town.
    Royd mill, built in 1907, and seen here in 1983, was one of Oldham's peak of 360 textile mills which operated night and day.

    Oldham became the world's manufacturing centre for cotton spinning in the second half of the 19th century. In 1851, over 30% of Oldham's population was employed within the textile sector, compared to 5% across Great Britain. It overtook the major urban centres of Manchester and Bolton as the result of a mill building boom in the 1860s and 1870s, a period during which Oldham became the most productive cotton-spinning town in the world. By 1871 Oldham had more spindles than any country in the world except the United States, and in 1909, was spinning more cotton than France and Germany combined. By 1911 there were 16.4 million spindles in Oldham, compared with a total of 58 million in the United Kingdom and 143.5 million in the world; in 1928, with the construction of the UK's largest textile factory Oldham reached its manufacturing zenith. At its peak, there were over 360 mills, operating night and day; Oldham's townscape was dominated by distinctive rectangular brick-built mills.

    Oldham was hit hard by the Lancashire Cotton Famine of 1861–1865, when supplies of raw cotton from the United States were cut off. Wholly reliant upon the textile industry, the cotton famine created chronic unemployment in the town. By 1863 a committee had been formed, and with aid from central government, land was purchased with the intention of employing local cotton workers to construct Alexandra Park, which opened on 28 August 1865. Said to have over-relied upon the textile sector as the importation of cheaper foreign yarns grew during the 20th century, Oldham's economy declined into a depression, although it was not until 1964 that Oldham ceased to be the largest centre of cotton spinning. In spite of efforts to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of its production, the last cotton spun in the town was in 1998.


    Here's the pics

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