Report - - Centenary Mill Chimney Climb, Preston - May 2010 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Centenary Mill Chimney Climb, Preston - May 2010


Staff member
Centenary Mill Chimney Climb - Ojay, Bigjobs & Over Present.

(CreditZ to Bigjobs for some of the photos used here)

Built by the John Horrocks Company in 1891 to mark 100 years of successful cotton manufacture in Preston it is an imposing building, comprising 5 floors of 50,000 sq. ft. each and is listed Grade 2. It sits on a high escarpment dominating the south and east of the town. The massive power house chimney is a key landmark feature.


With the decline of cotton manufacture the Mill became a warehousing and distribution centre and by the 1980s was disused.

From the founding of John Horrock's first mill, TheYellow Factory, built in 1791 the cotton industry was the main driving force of economic growth in Preston throughout much of the nineteenth century. A new industrial society was created in the process as Preston's population grew from 11,887 people in 1801 to 69,391 in 1851. Preston's favourable location in relation to rural labour became an important factor in facilitating such rapid expansion and by the middle of the century more than half the town's inhabitants had been born elsewhere.

Served by population growth of 40% per decade in the 1830's and 1840's, Preston had 64 cotton mills with more than one million spindles employing 20,000 people. Employment peaked at 25,000 just before the outbreak of the American Civil War and no new mills were constructed in the period after 1860 until the closing years of the century when a series of dramatic takeover and rebuildings culminated in the construction of enormous joint stock spinning mills between 1890 and the First World War. Centenary Mill, built in 1891, was one of four monumental giants erected in this final phase. As the name implies, the opening of the mill celebrated 100 years of successful trading by Horrockses, 'The Greatest Name in Cotton' and the most substantial industrial enterprise Preston has ever seen.

Outwardly, the mill retained the fashionable architectural facade deemed tasteful by the Shareholders of the day, one can imagine its owners admiring its majesty in the soft glow of summer evening light. Inwardly, Centenary Mill had a revolutionary steel frame, allowing a greater weight to be supported within the structure, permitting the inclusion of larger, more numerous windows.

The mill has had the usual restoration/conversion into 1 and 2 bedroom luxury apartments, oh and even the CHIMNEY has had a makeover!

A quick call to Bigjobs and next minute I'm in Preston, brew in hand provided by Pixie (Nice) whilst Over is busy hacking Facebook accounts and Jobs is well, being Jobs LOL...

After a bit of planning and packing we were sneaking about the mill dodging CCTV and security at stupid o'clock to get to the chimney!

It wasn't long before we had ascended upto the first section of the chimney before Over disappeared into the Yonder to setup rope.

Now it was my turn to go up (200ft to go and counting - GULP). No sooner had I started climbing some dude came to the window facing me and was rather surprised to see me on the chimney. I shouted down to Jobs, who suggested I give him a wave, which I did :D The guy just waved back and went and watched TV, it was pure WIN, so I just carried on climbing with Jobs following close behind.

As I neared the top, the steeplejacks rope, which we ended up using was pulling me off the ladder with the tension, it was a grim moment and I had to unclip the safety and free climb the last 20ft. As I got to the top Over was sat there on one of the protruding scaff bars with no safety having a fag, :crazy man!!! I soon passed him and made my way onto the crows nest and quickly got out my camera and started snapping away, whilst we waited for Jobs to arrive.

It was quite a chilled place, visibility was good and we managed some decent shots, it was a very cold night and we were freezing cold, It beggars belief that Over decided to strip off for a people shot, F**K that....

Anyway time to climb down and it was Blue lights and sirens, FFS Police had arrived further up on the main road in force to some random house, looked like some major shit going down as there was shouting, dogs and people running around all over the place.

Trouble was the ladder was facing. It was to be another hour and half before they finally left and we could get back down without being busted.

Up Here, you bonkers?


Looking Down






Call the Cops


HMP Preston, where we nearly ended up....





Bigjobs thought it would be a good idea to hang inside the chimney, so I did!


Now get me down....


All in all another successful outing, just glad to get back down and get off home, it was a long long night - Thanks for looking :thumb
Last edited:


Official Smartarse
Regular User
A Few from me.






One other thing, the scaff came down the morning after, timed to perfection :D

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