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Report (Permission Visit) Leigh Spinners Engine House (2014)

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Camera Shy, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. Camera Shy

    Camera Shy Old enough to know better
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    Just backing up some old images and remembered these which I thought a few people might find interesting.....

    Back in 2014 me and @host had kind of given up on seeing the inside of this place, Host had tried many times and resorted to more legit means exchanging tons of emails with the owners about permission, all with the same outcome - no fucking chance.

    Apparently nobody had set foot in the engine house for 20 odd years, it was unsafe, full of asbestos and no matter what we said it was going to stay that way.
    The only images online were from the 80's and we knew there was a beast of a cross compound steam engine still in Mill No2, named the "Mayor and Mayoress" and the third biggest in the UK.

    Anyway i spotted an article online that the mill itself was being handed over to a trust, who had raised monies for necessary repairs and as part of the deal, the business would remain there rent free and the upper floors would be turned into mixed use spaces.

    After a few emails i ended up as a "volunteer" thinking this would be a route into finally seeing it, having to attend some dull meetings when all I wanted to do was get access to the engine house.

    Long story short, I managed to blag it long enough so myself and Host could get in, after much faffing around by the gaffer onsite to find the keys to doors and padlocks that hadn't been opened in 25 years, much warnings that we were going to die, we found ourself inside.
    Nice to finally see it in flesh and in it's original rusty untouched condition.

    The heritage fund has since raised the money to make the engine house safe, remove the asbestos and the engine has been stripped and restoration is well underway - I think it's now open to the public at weekends but I've never been back, we were happy to see it as it was rather than the restored museum piece.

    A BRIEF HISTORY
    Leigh Spinners Mill is one of the largest cotton-spinning mills in Greater Manchester from the last generation of cotton mill building. It is a Grade II* listed building and notably, it is still partly in use as a manufacturing mill, having been owned by Leigh Spinners Ltd since the construction of the first of two mills on the site in 1913. While beginning as a purely cotton-spinning mill, Leigh Spinners Ltd has had to adapt to survive, and began manufacturing carpets in 1969 and laterly, synthetic turf.

    BRADSHAW, GASS & HOPE
    The architects behind the designing of Leigh Spinners were the renowned firm, Bradshaw, Gass & Hope, founded in 1862 by Jonas James Bradshaw. Among the many apprentices of J.J Bradshaw was John Parkinson, who would go on to be a prolific architect in America, designing buildings such as Los Angeles City Hall and the National Bank of Whittier Building, the site of Richard Nixon’s first office.
    Leigh Spinners Mill was one of the final projects J.J Bradshaw worked on as he died in the year of its construction, and the firm changed its name slightly to Bradshaw Gass & Hope. The firm would go on to design buildings such as the Royal Exchange in Manchester and more recently, the Reebok Stadium in Horwich, Bolton.

    GROWTH OF LEIGH SPINNERS
    By the time of the construction of the first half of Leigh Spinners Mill, the east mill, chimney and boiler house, in 1913, there were no fewer than 10 mills in Leigh with approximately 15% of the town’s population working in the textile industry. Leigh Spinners Mill demonstrates that there was still a demand for cotton spinning, as the textile industry had the largest workforce in Leigh at the time.
    The mill’s machinery was supplied by the Platt Brothers, the largest textile machine company in the world. The success of the mill in its early years and the cotton industry on a national scale enabled Leigh Spinners Ltd to construct the slightly larger west mill in 1923. This addition makes Leigh Spinners Mill unique, in that it may be the only double-fronted mill still standing in Europe and possibly, the world in an intact condition.
    Whilst the engine to the original Number One Mill was destroyed in an explosion and has been lost, the engine to Number Two Mill, with its two cylinders, named Mayor and Mayoress, ,has survived. This was supplied by Yates and Thom, and was among the largest they constructed. The engine is still complete and with comparatively little effort could be brought back into working order and is one of only four of its kind still in existence today.

    DECLINE
    Just as Leigh Spinners Mill followed the national trend of the cotton industry’s boom, it also reflected the decline. However, unlike many other mills in the region, it managed to survive. In 1950 the decline was at such a rate that the Lancashire Cotton Corporation merged 105 companies, leaving Lancashire with 53 operating mills but due to its size, Leigh Spinners avoided merger with other companies and retained its spinning operations.

    The Cotton Industry Act of 1959 further attempted to rescue the cotton industry but this failed to halt the decline. While other mills continued to close or faced demolition, Leigh Spinners managed to adapt, and in 1969 began manufacturing carpets as well as continuing to spin cotton. Leigh Spinners continued cotton spinning until 2005, and its spinning machinery was either stripped and scrapped or sold to the emerging Indian market.

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  2. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    I'm incredibly envious that you got to see it before it was touched. It's actually wonderful that it is being preserved, but as you say there is a certain magic in seeing it with the cobwebs intact.

    Beautifully shot as always too...
     
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  3. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Just bloody lovely that fella....isn't parts of it open on a weekend and available for viewing now by volunteers? Great pics BTW :thumb
     
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  4. Snake Oil

    Snake Oil go in drains
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    That is so very much full of win! A few of us have tried unsuccesfully to get a visit there, so nice one for persevering :)
     
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  5. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
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    Wow that's stunning, well worth digging these snaps out....what a place :thumb
     
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  6. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    It's a shame it wasn't found as the result of some epic explore but none the less its one of the best derelict buildings ive ever seen tbh.
     
    Camera Shy likes this.
  7. TheTimeChamber

    TheTimeChamber The other one
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    That's rather sexual tbh o_O
     
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  8. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Cracking report mate and shots are fantastic too...It really did pay off in the end.
     
  9. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    I did try a few times and looked at it from time to time, the ground floor is used to make false grass(not weed) so made access to hard.
     
  10. Eric Fleming

    Eric Fleming 28DL Member
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    I am a volunteer at the engine house we are open 10am-2pm every saturday come and have a look we have cleaned it up and made it safe for visitors to look round
     
    Snake Oil and Speed like this.
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