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Harbottle's Mill

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in Ancoats, Manchester

Later renamed Beswick Street Mill.

Bancks's 1831 map shows 'Harbottle's Cotton Mill' located between the Ashton Canal and Ashton Street. The north eastern boundary was Beswick Street, and to the south west was Clark's Cotton Mill.

The 1848/1849 O.S. maps show the mill as 'Beswick Street Mill (Silk)', and the adjacent bridge taking Beswick Street over the canal is marked 'Harbottle's Bridge'. The neighbouring mill (to the south west) is identified as Hope Mill, and Ashton Street has been renamed Pollard Street.

1829 'ALARMING AND DESTRUCTIVE RIOTS. It is with the utmost regret announce that the riotous proceedings which have been going on during the last week in some the neighbouring towns (and of which some particulars will be found below), have now extended to Manchester; and that we had yesterday a recurrence of that system of mischief and devastation which existed in the year 1826, — with even more ruinous consequences than any which, on that occasion, were experienced in this town or its immediate neighbourhood. The vengeance of the rioters, however, has not now, as in 1826, been directed against power-looms, but against certain establishments for hand-weaving; and, we understand, the hostility to them originated in the following circumstances:— About a fortnight ago, several persons engaged in the manufacture of shirtings by hand, amongst whom were Mr. Thomas Harbottle, in Pollard-street, Mr. Twisse, in Mather-street, and Mr. Guest, in Union-street, Ancoats, reduced the price for weaving shirtings, by taking off a bounty of threepence paid on each piece beyond a certain number which each weaver produced in week. When this reduction was announced, we believe the majority of the hands in those establishments left their employment; but, after remaining out until the latter end of last week, generally returned to their work. On ascertaining that they had done so, Messrs. J. and T. Parker, who are engaged in the same line of business, but who had not previously concurred in making the reduction, gave notice to their hands (on Saturday) that they should reduce their prices also,—the reduction to take effect from yesterday. In consequence of this announcement, all the shirting weavers employed at their factory, in Dyche-street, Angel-street, left their employment on Saturday evening, and did not again return to it.
These reductions created great dissatisfaction amongst the shirting-weavers; and, on Saturday evening, as are informed, threatening language was used in various assemblages of weavers which took place in the streets in the neighbourhood of New Cross. ….. …..After remaining assembled rather more than hour, the meeting broke up: and the persons who composed it proceeded towards the factory of Mr, Twisse, in Mather-street; where, after pouring a volley of stones into the windows, they forced their way into the building, and began to tear the cloth and warps out the looms, and greatly damaged the looms themselves. From this factory they proceeded to that of Mr. Harbottle, in Pollard-street; where also they commenced their operations by smashing the windows; then, forcing their way into the building, they destroyed nearly all the hand-looms, throwing part of them, with the cloth and warps, into the canal. It is perhaps, not unworthy of notice, that Mr. Harbottle’s factory contained a number of power-looms as well as hand-looms, and the former were left untouched, whilst the latter were destroyed. We understand, however, that the mob destroyed a number of carding-engines, which had no connexion with the looms against which their hostility appeared to be directed. From Mr. Harbottle's factory, they went to that of Mr. Guest, in Union-street; where they proceeded, in the two former instances, breaking the windows of the building. destroying the looms, and dragging out all the cloth and warps which they could find, throwing part of them into the canal, and strewing the remainder about the streets.....'[1]

1840 Advertisement: 'Auction. Valuable Freehold Land, Cotton Mill, Loom Shed, Steam Engine, Cottages, By Mr. T. M. FISHER, (by order of the mortgagees, with power of sale,) on Monday, the first day »f June next, the Albion Hotel. Piccadilly, in Manchester, five o'clock in the afternoon, suhject such conditions as will then and there be produced: All that Fire Proof COTTON MILL eligibly on the bank of the Ashton Canal in or near Ashton-street, Ancoats, in Manchester, with the engine-house, sizing-house, extensive loom shed, warehouse, stove, smithy, lodge, and other buildings, yards, appurtenances belonging thereto, occupied therewith, now in the occupation Mr. Thomas Harbottle; together with the steam engine of 26 horses’ power, now being in or upon the said mill, with the apparatus thereof; and the millwright work, boilers, pans, drums, shafts, and gearing thereto belonging, all in excellent condition.
And also all that substantial Messuage or Dwelling-house, situate in the yard of the said mill, suitable for a manager's residence, with the outbuildings thereto belonging, now in the occupation of Henry Broome. And also all those seventeen Dwelling-houses, situate near the said mill, and fronting to Ashton-street aforesaid, now in the respective occupations of Jacob Parker, Richard Sadler, and others, with the weaving shop underneath the same.
The site of the above property contains 4331 superficial square yards land or thereabouts, be the same more less, and is bounded on the south-easterlv side thereof and including two yards in breadth the whole length thereof into Ashton-street aforesaid; and on the north-westerly side thereof by the Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Oldham Canal. It is freehold of inheritance, and is not subject to any chief rent, or similar charge. The mill is seven stories high, exclusive of the attics.
The buildings are in good repair, and to parties wishing to embark on the business of cotton spinning and manufacturing, and to capitalists desirous of investing their money with a prospect of a liberal return, the present affords an opportunitv but seldom met with.
Further particulars may be had on application to the AUCTIONEER: or to Mr. BRACKENBURY, Solicitor, Brown-street. Manchester, at either of whose office a plan of the property may be seen.'[2]

1842 Reference to 'The silk-mill of Messrs. Peter Joynson and Co., in Pollard Street (known as Harbottle’s Mill).....'[3]

1851 Adshead's 1851 Maps of Manchester, Map 15, shows that the mill had been divided into two, the south western end occupied by Thomas Joynson (as a silk mill), and the other end, fronting onto Beswick Street, being the cotton mill of Fletcher, Woolley and Co. Access to this mill was via Spectator Street, which branched off Beswick St. Comparing the 1831 map with later maps, the mill appeared to have been extended by the addition of a small L-shaped wing at the junction of Beswick Street and Spectator Street. At some point this extension was used as Ancoats Lads Club [4]. Surprisingly, the shabby building still exists (2014).


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Mercury, 5 May 1829
  2. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 23 May 1840
  3. Manchester Times, 20 August 1842
  4. [1] Manchester Local Image Collection: 1963 photograph (click image to enlarge) showing Ancoats Lads Club (and a pair of Ancoats lasses)