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British Industrial History

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Leigh Spinners

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Leigh Spinners Mill, Leigh, Lancashire.

The Leigh Spinners Mill has imposing Grade II* Listed buildings. The first phase of the mill was opened in 1915 by the Leigh Spinners Company, who remain in business. The second mill that was completed in 1923, after the delays brought by WW1. Architects: Bradshaw, Gass and Hope.

A major feature of the mill is the surviving original steam engine in No. 2 Mill. It is aimed to restore it, now that repairs have been carried out on the engine house roof, and asbestos has been removed.

The 1800 HP cross-compound mill engine by Yates and Thom, named Mayor and Mayoress, is one of the largest surviving in the UK. Built in 1923, it was the last large engine made by the company. The cylinders were 30" and 61" bore, 5 ft stroke. Flywheel diameter 24 ft, grooved for 45 ropes. 67 rpm.[1]

Currently (March 2018) the engine house and heritage centre is open to visitors every Saturday from 10-12 o'clock, where volunteers are working on restoring the engine and textile machinery.

See Leigh Spinners Mill website.

A Memory[2]

It was just after the “Three Day Week”, probably Late 1974 or 1975 I was speaking to the Managing Director of Leigh Spinners and he took me to see the engines and told me that during the crisis they had maintained their production by generating their own electricity using a alternator driven by the engine. They had installed a alternator and installed a new set of drive ropes to connect the engine to the alternator. Apparently it was difficult to find a company to make the ropes. They had brought back from retirement their old engine and boiler house crews and after cleaning and lubricating the engine ran first time.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain, Vol 3.1: Lancashire' by George Watkins, Landmark Publishing, 2001
  2. RonC 2018/09/20