Report - - may 2015 ellen road chimney | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - may 2015 ellen road chimney

mr pink

building magician!
28DL Full Member
Ellen road chimney stack, Newhey

Ellenroad mill was a cotton spinning mill built in 1890 by stott and sons based in oldham who also built 5 other mills in the area.
It was originally fitted out as a mule spinning mill until a fire destroyed much of it and it was then rebuilt and redesigned as a ring spinning mill to speed up production.
The power was provided by a triple expansion horizontal steam engine that at the time was the most efficient and this needed a chimney of 220 ft to provide enough draught, the engine was upgraded to the twin tandem after the fire.
The engine can be seen working every last Sunday in the month when they fire up the single remaining Lancashire boiler as a tourist attraction.
My mother worked in the mill in the 70s and I went to the crèche alongside the mill as a small child. My father who was a steeplejack had worked on the chimney itself when the mill was running along with Peter tatham a local jack.
The majority of the mill was demolished in around 1982 but they left the engine room and chimney intact to preserve the enormous steam engine it contained inside which is funded by the ellenroad trust who have put an enormous amount of money into the restoration knowing they would never recoup these costs.
Some great information can be found on the restoration and other industrial heritage on a site called One guy from barlick .

May 2015 on a dreary night we pay the place a visit............

Mc Donald's around 10 pm in Rochdale sat four unsure fellows, the reason was the weather as the current forecast was for light rain followed by a right proper pissdown around about the time we would hit the top of the stack...so here we were looking at each other round the table umming and Arring over if its a good idea. We all have doubts about it if we are honest, myself as much as anyone but this stack was something I've wanted to do since I was a small boy and I'd committed myself to doing it before meeting the lads.
Nobody voiced the thought that maybe we shouldn't although we all thought it and so with that decided we all got up and left with me wondering what ridiculous epic was about to occur...

On arriving at the stack the vehicles were parked down a seedy side street I knew well having been born in the village and we prepared for a wet ascent.
The chimney is beautifully sited right next to the m62 and overlooks the villages of milnrow and Newhey where I spent the younger years of my life, my father who was jack had worked on this chimney and having seen the photographs of him up there always fancied myself on top just for the experience and the view which on this night sadly would be pretty poor due to the moisture and drizzle in the air..
Harnesses were put on and some rudimentary bits of gear clipped on but no rope after all it was laddered.
We scooted down the main road then cut over a fence and down the side of the motorway to the "yard of doom.??" which was nicely lit up for us so we didn't trip over anything..
there was a little drizzle in the air now and again and I don't mind saying I was a little apprehensive looking up at the 200 ft brick dildo that we were about to top out on..
I dived over the barb wire topped wall and made my way across the yard to the stack whilst keeping my eye on the security office at the main gate a couple of hundred yards away, thankfully the guard was engrossed in the porn mag or whatever he was reading and not the bank of monitors in front of him fed by the cameras dotted around and the other lads arrived at the base of the chimney without incident...
I remember that I have no helmet and resolve to be first up just in case and hug the area where we would climb up onto the small slate roof that leads onto the stack...before patience or anyone else got the better of me I hop up onto the roof pulling on a chopped in half fly wheel that was not fixed and nearly pulling the damned thing on top of me which didn't boost my confidence i carried on regardless onto the ladder itself.
Setting off I am super cautious but get in the rytham after a short while and stop frequently to look around the places I wandered about as a snot nosed child with a little nostalgia.
Around halfway the ladders start to swing about a bit and get rickety as the jacks have changed the method of fixing them from the modern day brackets to the old dogs in timber wedges and using the band fixings. These dogs in timber(oak plug) have been in for around 20to 30 years and I ponder if my old man put any of them in.
This is a little disconcerting but these steeple jack lads know what they are doing and after 30ft they firm up again before the top section where the ladders have to negotiate the top stone collar which has the effect of pushing the ladders out slightly the wrong side of vertical, they are also doubled up to cope with the change in direction and this also adds issues with foot placements not being uniformed.
Topping the ladder that has now run out I clip onto the rope fixing the ladder on and get onto the 12" ledge to "relax"and wait for the next man, stonemonkey.
Now stonemonkey for some reason opts out of the easy access onto the slate roof and climbs the drainpipe, he either didn't see the easier way or has a moment of a purism shunning the steps to the left.
He joins me on the "ledge of doom" shortly after and clips into an anchor before we both stand up on the ledge and shake hands as we are both wired to the moon and for some unexplainable reason are happy to be in this Wierd position in the drizzle.
FB is already on the way up and we quickly become concerned about where and how we can accommodate him on this 12"wide by 200ft high stone sofa we are languishing on..
We manage to do a change over with stonemonkey and FB swapping places on the ladder with poor old big jobs being the gentleman he is having to wait for 2 of us to return to ground before he can go up...(much appreciated).
Before I descend I see a flash in the sky, lightning!, and as I am hold of the lightning conductor I selflessly advise FB I am going down next which he accepts like a gent and I get down before being electrically activated..
The very patient mr bigs jobs makes his way up when I'm down and by now the rain is nice and steady which I feel a little guilty about as it was mostly a little drizzle whilst I was up there.
We await the last two lads to return to ground whilst keeping a keen eye on the security office before skulking off back to the vehicles in the most wonderful mood and despite the hour very much awake.
The job was over very quickly and now just another memory along with plenty of other adventures but this was one I will remember often and will make me smile every time it pops into my addled brain..

Many thanks to stone monkey , big jobs and FB for turning out, again as before I have no pictures other than of a certain then young man who did it years before us but got paid for being a plonker,,,but I'm sure the lads will pop some on by way of a reply, the best pictures of the evening remain indelible in my head..

Thanks for reading

ellenroad iggy.jpg

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Nice write up, it does look a good chimney too, ladders just stop short of the top though?


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nice one Mr pink and very true to the mark.

I have a few not so good pics, I could of done better but I didn’t even want to try and get my camera out of my bag (which had no lanyard on) whilst holding onto a sling with one hand and trying to move out the way so fb could get on the collar in the wind and rain trying to climb round the outside of fb so I quickly whipped my phone out and snapped a couple then took some on the ground with my bog standard camera.

What a lovely little adventure that was, thanks lads, was still buzzing for hours, even days after.

Looking forward to the next adventure.

Heres my pics…………..



you can just make out fb on the collar and jobs on his way up!





28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nice write up Mr Pink. Cool pics too FB and Stonemonkey. :thumb Sorry I didn't come along to be ground crew (Jobs has now taught me how to take pics in the dark) but it was raining and I cound't be arsed leaving the house lol

mr pink

building magician!
28DL Full Member
Nice write up Mr Pink. Cool pics too FB and Stonemonkey. :thumb Sorry I didn't come along to be ground crew (Jobs has now taught me how to take pics in the dark) but it was raining and I cound't be arsed leaving the house lol
it would have been miserable for you anyway bit soggy ;)

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