Report - - Kearns Mill, Waterfoot, Rossendale, Lancashire. | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Kearns Mill, Waterfoot, Rossendale, Lancashire.


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This was the only mill still standing in the district which has a history dating back to the 18th century.

The business was established by James Livesey for finishing wool products from handlooms, and the mill was one of the few in the woollen trade to remain so throughout the last century.
James Ashworth and his brother Richard married two of James Livesey’s daughters. and by 1828 Richard Ashworth was partner of his father-in-law, having already started business in 1814 at Holt Mill in partnership with David Ashworth.

About 1830 steam power was introduced, and the work in nearby cottages ended.
At the same time the mill was extended and business grew.
The raw wool was obtained from Rochdale, and they began to market the finished product independently in Ireland, and as far afield as South America.
However only eight years after the improvements there was a disastrous flood.
It is perhaps surprising that so high up, the water could have enough force to sweep away part of the mill and several cottages, which it did.
By this time James Livesey had died, and the mill was run solely by Richard Ashworth — ‘Owd Dicky’.
He ran the mill very successfully for over 40 years. and when he died in 1874 his son, Edward, took over the business at Cowpe and Holt Mills. Only two years later a leakage of gas as Cowpe Mill was being lit up started a fire which burnt the mill to the ground an estimated £20,000 worth of damage.
This was one of the worst mill fires there has ever been in the district but the mill was immediately rebuilt, and the present mill dates from that year.

The business was continued by Edward Ashworth until 1897, when the mill, with land and water rights, was sold to Bacup Corporation for the construction of a reservoir, largely at the instigation of Henry Maden.
Nevertheless the mill stayed in the textile trade, and has been run for most of the present century by Kearns, a firm specialising in dyeing.
The Mill has now closed and awaits redevelopement.
A revised scheme recently approved will now see 19 new apartments created in the original mill building and 20 big family houses on reclaimed parts of the site.
Some demolition has taken place, but since then, the developers have pulled out and the old mill has been left in the state it is today.

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