Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,411 pages of information and 245,908 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

McConnel and Kennedy

From Graces Guide
2024. Royal Mill, Sedgwick Mill, and Kitty Bridge across the Rochdale Canal

McConnell and Kennedy's of Ancoats, Manchester

1791 John Kennedy began business in a small way in Manchester in 1791, as soon as he had completed his apprenticeship, in conjunction with two other workmen, Sandford and MacConnel. Their business was mule-spinning which was very profitable at that time. They used any low-cost garrets they could hire for mule-spinning.

Their business became machine-making and mule-spinning, with John Kennedy in charge of the machine department.

For many years they were the sole makers of Crompton's "mule".

After some time, they took part of a small factory in Canal Street, and carried on their business on a larger scale. Later McConnel and Kennedy occupied a little factory in the same street, which was subsequently demolished to provide room for Fairbairn's large machine works. The progress of the firm was steady and even rapid, and they went on building mills and extending their business.

1794 A mill was first constructed on this (Ancoats?) site.

1797-9 The seven-storey Old Mill was built on Henry Street, Ancoats, for James McConnel and John Kennedy, alongside Union Street and the proposed Rochdale Canal. Its floor plan measured 54m by 12m. A 16 HP engine was ordered from Boulton and Watt in June 1797. McConnel and Kennedy only used half of the mill until 1802, renting the other half out to Peter and Andrew McCandish[1]

1801, with improved profitability after several lean years McConnel and Kennedy commissioned the building of the Long Mill on the opposite side of Henry Street from the Old Mill, completed in 1806. Initially known as the New Factory, it had 8 floors and covered an area of 650 square yards. The south western face of the mill extended over the full 100 yd length of Pickford Street between Union Street and Jersey Street. Gas lighting was installed in 1809 by Boulton and Watt.

By 1811, with a downturn in trade, like many others McConnel and Kennedy went bankrupt.

In 1815 James McConnel and John Kennedy purchased land on Union Street in Ancoats to construct the new Sedgewick Mill, which was commissioned in 1819, designed by James Lowe. It initially had four blocks (main block, east wing, west wing, and north block). Sedgwick New Block was added in 1868.

1818 McConnel and Kennedy constructed Sedgwick Mill as a spinning mill, in conjunction with Fairbairn and Lillie, who undertook the millwork, following their successful introduction of high speed shafting at the neighbouring mills of A. and G. Murray.

In the 1860s the buildings were altered by William Fairbairn, to accommodate larger automated spinning mules. By this time McConnell and Kennedy's was the biggest mill in the Manchester region. Further buildings were added in 1868 and 1912 to cope with the demand for increased output.

Later became McConnel and Co.

The large mill buildings on Redhill Street (formerly Union Street) have been saved and converted to apartments and commercial premises. The outcome of a very thorough survey of the history and design of this and neighbouring mills is available in a book published in 2007 [2]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'A & G Murray and the Cotton Mills of Ancoats': I Miller & C Wild and S Little, R McNeil, K Moth: Lancaster Imprints, pp50-1
  2. 'A & G Murray and the Cotton Mills of Ancoats': I Miller & C Wild and S Little, R McNeil, K Moth: Lancaster Imprints: ISBN 978-0-904220-46-9