Greenside Mill pictured sometime before 1923... (Picture source)
I couldn’t resist jumping on this one while I knew it was still accessible and intact. Having tried and failed on a number of mills over the last few years I was determined not to miss out on this. Given the amount of stuff still left to see inside - particularly in the way of machinery - I’m working on the assumption that the very recent lapse in security perhaps means that it’s due an imminent clearout, so I managed to engineer some time to nip across, on my own, to take a look. I wasn’t disappointed...
First, the history… and I’ve made attempts to dig up a bit more detail on this place, if only to justify putting up another report on it so soon.
Greenside Mill was built circa 1770 by William Marsden. His daughter married Richard Field who then traded there for a number of years until forming the partnership of Field & Bottrill in the 1880's.
‘Richard Field, born in 1804, the son of John Field, had worked in the family business from a young age, but at 14 became apprentice to William Marsden at Greenside, eventually marrying Marsden’s daughter, Ruth, and taking full control of the business, which he gradually changed from fancy weaving to shawl production [...] a staunch Methodist, he was also involved in the running of the Old Town School and Sunday School. His son, Samuel, inherited the business. He had, like his cousins, attended Sheffield Wesleyan College.
In 1861 he expanded the Greenside works. He employed, and later took into partnership, the designer, Thomas Gothard Bottrill, forming the company “Field and Bottrill” in 1872, concentrating on pile fabric and astrakhan production. But an import duty imposed by the United States government in 1889 badly affected the company. Samuel was a trustee and secretary for the Weslyan chapel and, when the building became dilapidated, helped erect a new one on the same site. He was a member of the local school board and the water board too. Having no direct heir, he brought his nephew, Percy Richard Jackson, into the company and it was he who steered the company to safety, taking on a partner, Francis Child, in 1901 (although the name “Field and Bottrill” remained). It was, however, taken over by the Keighley company, Haggas, in 1967.’
Here are a couple of adverts for Field and Bottrill... (the second of which seems to feature a family of fake fur ghosts...)
The staff of Field & Bottrill's formed a male voice choir in order to take on their rivals at Edwin Field's to decide who was best. The winners were men of Field & Bottrill. Largely as a result of this village competition the Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir was formed. The photograph is taken in front of the finishing department.
Dawson Fabrics were the most recent and final business to occupy the mill. Although it’s uncertain when the company opened, an archive bio from their now defunct website gives some info on the company:
Dawson - a new generation textile business, geared for the way the world operates today.
Dawson is a £30million business, specialising in the 'Circular' and 'Sliver' Knitting processes, operating three sites in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 a multi million pound buy in began to turn Dawson from one of the leading suppliers in its markets, into a flexible resource driven by creativity and best practice.
Dawson is a first choice partner in textile innovation. We work closely with designers, retailers, manufacturers and industrial customers all over the world. We are constantly developing new techniques and finding fresh applications for our fabrics.
In Feb 2006 it was reported that most of the 70 strong workforce were made redundant.
However, the company continued until 2016 when, in May they went into liquidation.
In October 2017 an initial plan to demolish the site to make way for housing was refused.
I’ll start with the Circular Knitting Machines, which resulted in a bit of a sploregasm...
Made by Monarch, the company formed in 1961 and are still operational: http://www.monarchknitting.net/ These machines are found in various states of disrepair in different parts of the mill.
And the rest.. (or at least some of it - it’s such a big place I won’t attempt to cover the whole thing, just a few highlights).
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