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Report - Dalton Mills – Keighley – Apr 2011

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by sho, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. sho

    sho 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Dalton Mills – Keighley – April 2011

    This was a bit of a gem when it hit the scene over the last few years. A very naturally decayed and relatively untouched place, with a few distinctive areas that really set it aside from the average mill. Then there was the mysterious fire over New Year which ravaged the building. I kept meaning to get back and find out what the extent of the damage was and crucially if the workshop had survived. I ended up visiting solo recently on a lazy afternoon.

    Access was pretty amusing as per usual. After some minor pretending and a bit of sneaking I was soon pleased to find that the place was still pretty stunning and the internals of the main buildings still largely intact, By UE standards anyway.


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    History


    Dalton Mills was once the largest textile mill in the region, employing over 2000 workers. It was built by Joseph Craven in 1869, replacing the original mill which was owned by Rachel Leach in the 1780's. In its heyday between 1869 and 1877 the mill provided jobs for workers all over Keighley and the Worth Valley.

    In 1904, the flywheel which transferred the power from a huge beam engine (the largest in the world) to drive the looms exploded. Desperate not to lose production, the owners brought in droves of traction engines to stand outside the buildings, linked by belts to the power system, and the clatter of the spinning works went on. Two new beam engines were commissioned and delivered in record time.

    As the textile industry declined, the fortunes of Dalton Mills changed and up until 2004, it had been virtually empty for almost a decade. John Craven, the great-great grandson of Joseph, who had built the mill, eventually chose to sell Dalton Mills to Magna Holdings, to ensure its survival.

    Part of the renovation of the Clock Tower has included restarting the landmark clock which has not ticked for 25 years. In the mill's heyday, thousands of workers relied on the clock to get to work on time, but the hands had not moved for a quarter of a century. Magna Holdings repaired the clock, and illuminated the faces, so it can display the time to the whole of Dalton Lane once again. They are yet to find a suitable developer to take on the redevelopment.


    Pics

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    I checked out the fire damaged area, lots of burnt wood and rubble lying around in places. This section of the mill is completely destroyed but luckily the fire didn’t spread into the main long buildings.

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    Burnt out lift

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    I climbed the water tower. Bit of a tight squeeze but the views were great. This shot also shows the fire damaged area of the mill.

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    Chilled up here for a bit..

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    As the light was fading I made it to the workshop. This room is spectacular. Although I was alone, even my subconscious was lost for words. I would love a workshop like this one day. It’s fully catastrophic but warm and beautiful at the same time. Really glad this survived.

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    So in conclusion, this is still a great mill and well worth seeing.

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    Thanks for looking, Sho :thumb
     

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