Report - - Dawson's Fabrics, Greenside Mill, Skelmanthorpe, West Yorks, May 2021 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Dawson's Fabrics, Greenside Mill, Skelmanthorpe, West Yorks, May 2021


28DL Regular User
Regular User
1. The History
Greenside Mill was built circa 1770 by William Marsden. Born in 1804, Richard Field, became apprentice to Marsden at the age of 14 in 1828. A staunch Methodist, Field married Marsden’s daughter, Ruth, and gradually changed the business from a ‘fancy’ weaving operation to shawl production. When he died in 1861, aged just 57, his son Samuel inherited the business, expanding the works then later, in 1872, formed the company “Field and Bottrill” with designer Thomas Gothard Bottrill, concentrating on pile fabric and astrakhan production.

With no direct heir, Samuel brought in his nephew, Percy Richard Jackson, into the company in 1901.

Two images from 1922-23 Graces guide showing the company’s products:

General view of the mill, circa 1923:

The mill was taken over by the Keighley company, Fur Fabrics Ltd, in 1967 and then in 2001, it became Dawson Fur Fabrics, specialising in "the preparation, spinning, weaving, and finishing of textiles and produced fake fur fleece linings for jackets and blankets", including regular orders from Marks and Spencers

However, in February 2006, with the company struggling, the mill suddenly shut, costing the majority of the 70-strong workforce their jobs. The company went into administration as Leicestershire-based insolvency firm Elwell Watchorn and Saxton sought a buyer for the business. They were successful and the ensuing multi-million-pound management buy-in (MBI) saved the company from closure.

Although the company was fully incorporated in February 2012 the reprieve was short-lived as the financials continued to be an issue. Things were very far from calm at t’mill, and the company was subject to a winding up order in October 2014. This was dismissed the month after and the company struggled on for a little longer. Having filed what turned out to be its last accounts in April 2016, Dawsons filed for voluntary winding-up shortly after, on 29th April 2016, with unsecured creditors of just under £300,000 against uncharged assets of just over £4,000. Needless to say, there wasn’t much of a pay-out to those owed money!

Since then, the former Greenside Mills/Dawson Fabrics site has been stuck in limbo for the last five or so years. There was an attempt to redevelop the site into housing in 2017, with plans to build 55 new dwellings, but saw Kirklees Council refused planning permission. However, in January 2019 they changed their mind when a new application was tendered late in 2018 and gave the green light for the historic site to be pulled down.

Over two years later the site remains abandoned, and nothing has happened.

2. The Explore
So this place was on the tour-bus route for a while a couple of years back. I had a stop off here in October 2019, but after a half-arsed attempt, gave it up as a bad job and then subsequemtly forgot about it.

I’d thought it had long gone but then @tarkovsky gave me the heads up about this place still being a thing so big up to him, and of course to @tweek who did a lot of the ground-work and scoping at this place. So, me and my non-forum mate rocked up here early one May morning, got on site easily enough and started to have a look round. Once on site it was a bit round the houses to get to the various parts, but it was mostly doable and still with a lot to see. While there is still an effort to keep the individual buildings sealed up, there's no active on-site secca amd if you look hard enough you can find ways in.

So nothing here you haven’t seen before but hopefully you haven’t tired of seeing this place. It might not be around for too much longer.

3. The Pictures

A few externals first:

(A) Office/admin blocks
These were the most smashed up and arguably least interesting part of the complex:

Company safe:

Loads of old paperwork:

Yellow pages:

The company tea set:

And some blank cheques:

This was the smelliest room with serious pigeon ingress:

On we go:

The adjoining building:

Time for a coffee?

(B) The Labs
This was a real bonus. Expected it to be smashed up but there was still a lot of things of interest here.

Last edited:


28DL Regular User
Regular User

Contacts list:

A Stuart Scientific Hotplate SH1D – presumably used to test fibre’s reaction to heat:

A Zellweger Uster Tester 1 unit for testing yarn including a spectrograph, imperfection indicator and control Unit

And the accompanying monitor:

An Instron Model 1011 tensile/compression tester:

An ICI Burst Strength M/C:

A Messmer Buchel Burst Strength M/C:

A James H Head Pilling Tester:

Fibre stress-strain chart:

A Nu-Martindale abrasion and pilling tester:

(C) The Factory floor storage area

And after what can only be described as a bit of struggle, on to:

(D) The Spinning Room

The best bit of the factory:

And on to these beauties - five Monarch circular knitting machines:

Last edited:

Similar threads