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Report - Brook Mills, Slaithwaite - April 2014

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by tweek, May 29, 2015.

  1. tweek

    tweek Huddersfield Tourist Information Board
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    Jun 14, 2011
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    Brook Mills, Slaithwaite - April 2014

    with Fudge and Hidden


    In March last year I moved back this side of the Pennines. My local pub is The Swan in Crimble, a small and seemingly insignificant junction in Slaithwaite. It's a mile walk from my new home. At the pub, I got into a conversation with a regular. He told me he's lived here 40 years and they still regard him as a 'comer in'.


    The man also told me a little story about the whereabouts of the clocktower that once stood proudly opposite the pub, in the courtyard of Brook Mill underneath the railway viaduct. He said that one evening, he was driving home down the valley into Slaithwaite, and coming up the hill on the other side of the road was a truck with the tower strapped onto the back heading up to the appropriately named Scapegoat Hill, and presumably, on toward the M62 to Leeds. He made this assumption because a firm from Leeds had been working at the then vacant mill building, with a view to developing the site into residential apartments. This plan did not come to fruition needless to say. It seems they left the place with a decent piece of architectural salvage for their troubles, and unfortunately for me, one of my favourite little curiosities of this small junction at Crimble is now gone. UPDATE: I have since heard that the clock was not in fact stolen, but sold. And now resides in Belgium.


    I met another man at the same pub. He told me he was asked to get the clock working originally by a Mr. Longbottom, who owned the yard. I believe he was the last occupant to be in the in textile business. I'm sure in my college days over a decade ago, the last time I frequented the area, the business here was some sort of chemicals manufacturers.

    Now, for some reason, I properly got stuck in with reading around the history of this mill. I'd known it was part of a group of mill buildings sometimes referred to Crimble Mills and a mill the opposite of the pub we'd explored in 2011 called Clough Road Mills. But it was when I started chancing upon references to the one time millowner of Brook Mill, George Haigh, that I really started to get a connection to the story unfolding.


    I actually chanced upon the man's grave, totally randomly, while taking a secluded ginnel as a shortcut for covert smoking related purposes. This quite grand headstone just stood out among the overgrown smaller headstones. The top of the inscription reads, "George Haigh, of Field House, Golcar". Well, this is Field House...



    And sandwiched between the railway viaduct and Mr Haigh's house in the photo above is Brook Mill. The perfect outpost for an overseeing mill owner you might think. A silk mill owned by William Wanklyn of Manchester had existed here from the mid-19th century, but at the same time as the house is built, ‘Crimble in Slaithwaite’ tenders for the erection of woollen mill, boiler and engine houses, long chimney - John Kirk & Sons, Lion Arcade, Huddersfield.


    In 1871, William and Elon Crowther had established a firm at Fall Lane Mills in Marsden called W and E Crowther. Crimble Clough Mill is built around the same time for the company. And within a couple of years, Crimble Mill is in their stewardship.


    In 1879, George Haigh dies.


    Thomas H. Haigh, eldest son of late George Haigh, took over the mill with his brother. The venture didn't last long. In 1885 there is an article about a 'coming of age' treat for employees of Brook Mill. In 1886, there are references for stock to be sold. And in 1887, there are references for machinery to be sold. By 1889, more machinery. Later, the remaining Haigh's are looking to let the mill. Until, finally...

    The following advert appeared in the Huddersfield Chronicle, 22nd March 1890 -

    'IMPORTANT FREEHOLD MANUFACTURING PREMISES, BROOK MILLS, SLAITHWAITE. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, ….. the very important and extensive WOOLLEN MILLS, known as " Brook Mills," situate at Crimble, Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, and consisting of the main mill, five stories high, each floor 45 yards by 15 yards. supported by iron columns in 10ft. bays, with outside staircase 17ft. by 16ft. 6in. Hoist and entrance to each floor...

    ...The estate is conveniently situate near to Slaithwaite Station, is well roaded, and furnishes an opportunity for acquiring a modern and well-arranged manufactory ready for work, which is rarely to be met with. Lithographed plans of the property (which will be ready 10 days before the sale) may be had, with any further information, from Messrs. John Kirk and Sons, Architects John William-street, Huddersfield; of the Auctioneers' High-street, Huddersfield ; or of MILLS and BIBBY. Solicitors, Estate Buildings, Huddersfield.'

    By 1899, guess who'd bought Brook Mill? W & E Crowther. Field House would become Crowther property too. It seems Elon Crowther moved to mills in Brockholes and the Holme Valley around this time, leaving William to his Crimble empire. I wonder if the residents of Crimble regarded William as a "comer in"?

    - John Sugden's Slaithwaite Notes Past and Present.. (Sugden, 1905)

    This mill itself is long since empty of machinery and, as I've mentioned, hadn't been used for textiles for maybe a couple of decades. There's still a few clues lying around though, as always.














    Hidden was so enthralled by my storytelling he couldn't wait to hear more...


    :Not Worthy
    #1 tweek, May 29, 2015
    Last edited: May 30, 2015

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  2. fb

    fb big in japan
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    Feb 12, 2011
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  3. host

    host 28DL Regular User
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    Nov 19, 2009
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    Another outstanding report mate, i cant believe my eyes is that really the legend…Hidden….He never was any good at getting over fences just ask him about Lostock power St…Ha
    tweek likes this.
  4. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Apr 6, 2012
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    Really nice report there, and some great shots to go with it. Cheers :thumb
  5. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Jul 17, 2010
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    Interesting one tweek..as for hidden them skills will take him far!
  6. ZerO81

    ZerO81 Moderator
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    Mar 7, 2010
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    Very nice indeed and very thorough as well!

    I thought hidden was long retired!
  7. tweek

    tweek Huddersfield Tourist Information Board
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    Jun 14, 2011
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    Nah, he's very busy with work and real life but he still gets out exploring more than most.
    ZerO81 likes this.
  8. pdsteveo

    pdsteveo 28DL Member
    28DL Member

    Jun 24, 2012
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    This site is now up for sale.
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