LETTER: Our industrial heritage counts for nothing

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I AM sad Spring Gardens Mill may be destroyed.

It would seem our industrial heritage counts for nothing.

Mills were central to the prosperity of Colne when “Cotton was King”.

In Victorian times, there were 27 cotton mills in Waterside (17 in the South Valley, east of the railway viaduct up to Carry Lane; 10 to the west of the viaduct to the boundary with Nelson).

In 1900, there were 55 cotton mills in Colne, nearly half of them in Waterside.

Today, not one remains as a cotton weaving mill.

Most of these mills have been demolished.

In the South Valley, the oldest was St Helen’s Mill, next to the Lord Rodney, opposite Mill Green, built in 1832 and demolished in the 1930s.

Spring Gardens Mill was opened in 1840 and both mills were owned and run by the England family.

Their daughter, Anne, married Robert Shaw, the largest mill owner in Colne, the biggest being Stanley Mills in Shaw Street in the South Valley.

Stanley Mills were not fully operational until 1881 with access to Colne Water for essential water supplies.

This massive complex had 3/4/5 storeyed warehouses and two large weaving sheds with 1,200 workers, 60,000 spindles and 2,600 power looms.

Robert Shaw also purchased Great Holme Mill, further along Shaw Street to the west – now the site of the Millennium Green.

Both mills were still in use until 1987 and finally demolished in 1990.

Spring Gardens Mill is a relatively rare five storeyed mill in Pendle occupying a site by Colne Water in the heart of the South Valley.

This mill was also known as Haslam’s Mill, where the owner, Harry Haslam tragically hanged himself from a beam on the fifth floor, near the Water Tower, in 1933, when he became bankrupt. The Mill was forced to close with hundreds of workers made redundant during the “big depression”.

I hope English Heritage will “spot list” this iconic building and award it conservation status.

The council should then implement its South Valley Masterplan, which would involve making the mill a central waterside feature for regeneration (apartments and workshops) with affordable housing built nearby on the Walk Mill site.

This would go some way to restoring the South Valley of Waterside as a both a traditional working (industrial) and living (housing) area.


Noyna Street, Colne