Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Churchgate Mill, Stockport

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of Stockport

1848 'FALL OF THE CHURCH-GATE FACTORY CHIMNEY, AT STOCKPORT.-TWO MEN KILLED. On Tuesday, about noon, a lamentable accident occurred at the Church-gate Factory, Stockport, belonging to Messrs. Elkanah and Samuel Howard Cheetham, by the falling of a large chimney attached to the works there, and which, in its descent, unfortunately caused the death of two men, and seriously injured two or three others. The chimney stood in the yard behind the Church-gate Factory. It and the surrounding buildings have probably been built between 40 and 60 years; It was originally about 40 yards high, square built, with a base of unusually large dimensions, which rested upon arches and pillars of brickwork. Up each of these pillars ran a flue, and the chimney was divided down the centre by a partitioning of brickwork. There were two small rooms at the base of the chimney, one of which was used as a counting house, and the other as a drying-room. Close by the base of the chimney was a boiler-house, and boiler at work at the time.
The chimney had for some time been in a very dilapidated state, and it would seem that the recent hlgh wind and dampness had rendered its state still more dangerous. On Monday, nearly a cart load of bricks fell from the top on to the roof of a turning shop and factory below, in consequence of which the hands refused to work, and the engine was stopped. Next morning it was determined to take it down, and several men were engaged for this purpose from an early hour. About noon, they had probably taken down about five yards of it, and most of the men and factory hands had left for dinner, when the whole mass suddenly fell, in a south-westerly direction, carrying down the boiler-house, and almost entirely filling with bricks, timber, and rubbish, the yard and smaller reservoir. A sweep named Joseph Smith, aged about 40 years, was at the top of the chimney at the time, engaged in the work. Finding it going, he leaped off, but was followed by the mass of brick-work, and thrown with tremendous violence into the water, at one corner of the reservoir, a great weight of bricks falling upon him. He was extricated from his situation as soon as possible, but remalned insensible for a long time afterwards; indeed it was understood that he was very much injured about his head, chest, and shoulders. The other two men, who were killed, were found under the brick-work quite dead. Their names are- Thomas Edwards, engineer, of the Carrs, aged about 55. He was much injuured about the head and other parts of his body, and had received a most dreadful wound over the right temple. He has left a wife, with whom he was not at the time living. Daniel Edwards (his son), engineer, of the Newbridge Lane, aged 26. He has left a wife and one child. These two, it is supposed, were standing near the base of the chimney at the time.
Altogether, it is perhaps fortunate that the chimney fell in the direction it did, as, if it had fallen in any other direction, it must have caused an infinitely greater destruction of both life and property. - Manchester Guardian[1]

1891 Directory: Listed. More details

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Sources of Information

  1. Derby Mercury - Wednesday 13 November 1844