Fernhurst Mill, Oldham

Dates Visited: February and April 2011

Fernhurst Mill was built in 1905 for the Fernhurst Spinning Company. Like many mills in the Lancashire area, it was built to the designs of the renowned Oldham architect A H Stott and Sons.

Constructed of reinforced concrete, it was equipped with 112524 mule spindles provided by Platt Bros, also of Oldham, for the production of medium to superfine cotton. Power came from a 1400hp inverted vertical steam engine, provided by Browett & Lindley of Patricroft.

The width of a mill was determined by the size of its spinning mules, and by the time this mill was built they were at least 134 feet wide. This made them much more efficient than the 99 foot mules from the 1860's. However, the wider floors meant there was a greater need for internal light, and so for bigger windows. Luckily this was made possible by the advent of steel beams rather than the brick arches previously used in their construction. Fernhurst is a good example of a state of the art mill using the latest technology of the time, and characterised by its expanse of large flat topped windows.

The mill was to cease cotton production in 1964, after 59 years of production, and I'm assuming this is when the engine was scrapped and the chimney lowered to the stump that we see today. The mill stood derelict for some time, until taken over by a firm called Constellation Luggage, who for the last 20 years, used it for manufacturing suitcases and bags.

Pictures are included in my Shadows of The North book