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Adelphi Dye Works

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of Salford

This entry nominally concerns the dyeing establishments of Thomas Bury, but will also include references to other industrial activities in the immediate area.


The Adelphi area of Salford was home to extensive works engaged in finishing cloth by various processes, principally bleaching, sizing, dyeing, and printing. The area was on the eastern bank of the River Irwell, whose course followed a distinctive U-shape here. The presence of these works is perhaps explained by the fact that the Irwell would have been relatively unpolluted as it approached this area. At the bottom of the 'U' was a desirable residential area known as 'The Crescent'.

Referring to the 1848 36-inch O.S. map [1] we find that at the location where the river started to turn north, it was overlooked by a row of large houses with landscaped gardens. The character then started to change, the next group of buildings being the Crescent Bleach Works and the Adelphi Logwood Mill (Logwood is a species of hardwood from South America and the West Indies, which was ground up and boiled in water to produce hematoxylin, from which were produced dyes of various colours). Then came a very long series of continuous factory walls alongside the river, pierced only by a footbridge. The area was also distinguished by some large reservoirs. One of these was on the other side of the river, presumably connected to the Crescent Bleach Works by a pipe running under the river. The largest reservoir served the Adelphi Dye Works and the Adelphi Print Works. Adjacent to this were filtering ponds and a series of three 'Gentlemen's Swimming Baths', marked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Class. Reservoirs were used both to allow settlement of debris and to store sufficient water to maintain production.

Alongside the main filtering ponds was an area of land described as Brick Crofts, and marked as the site of Bank Hall. Bancks's 1831 map shows Bank Hall as a large house in landscaped grounds. To the west, on the river bank the map shows Bank Mill, marked as the Adelphi Logwood Mill on the 1848 map. Bank Mill is also shown on Green's 1787-1794 map.

Subsequent Development of the Area

The site of the Crescent Bleachworks, the Adelphi Logwood Mill and the filtering ponds and brick crofts on the opposite side of Adelphi Street came to be occupied by Adelphi Iron Works, whose products included many of the machines used in cloth finishing. The area immediately north included the large Adelphi Reservoir, and the Mechanical Engineering Dept of the University of Salford is now located here.

A masonry structure standing in the River Irwell has survived at the site of Bank Mill. An archway in the upstream end presumably served to admit water to the waterwheels.[2]

Some Press Reports and Advertisements

1838 Advertisement: 'TO BE LET, and may be entered upon the 25th instant. Salford. ADELPHIA HOUSE, near The Crescent. This House was built by the late Mr. Thomas Bury, for his own residence, and has entertaining rooms, sleeping apartments, servant's offices, closets and fixtures, extensive Garden; and all other requisites on a scale as to number, size and convenience make it suitable for large family of high respectability.—inquire of Mr. THOMAS BURY, at the Adelphi Silk Dye Works.[3]

Note: The detailed 1848 36" O.S. map[4] showed that Adelphi House and its gardens remained as an imposing residence, but probably not for much longer, as industry and cheap housing encroached. The property was on the banks of the River Irwell, immediately adjacent to the Adelphi Logwood Mill and the Crescent Bleach Works (to the south). South of those was a grand terrace of large houses on Adelphi Terrace. Immediately to the north was a series of industrial premises, presenting a practically unbroken wall along the eastern bank of the Irwell. Facing Adelphi House, across Adelphi Street, was the Adelphi Reservoir. The 1915 O.S. map shows that the house was still there, but with a large industrial building attached to it. An extension of Adelphi Iron Works now occupied part of the former garden.

Referring to this 1930 aerial photograph, the white building in the centre foreground (now the University of Salford Mechanical Engineering Dept) occupies part of the site of the Adelphi reservoir. Across the road to the left of that is a three-bay building, and the small building attached to that is the former Adelphi House. In the photo, immediately above the white building is the former Peel Works.

1838 Advertisement: TO PRINTERS, BLEACHERS, DYERS, AND OTHERS.—TO BE LET, for a term of years, the PREMISES lately used a Silk Dye Works. Situate at the end of Blackburn-street, Adelphi, Salford, near to the river Irwell. —There is an excellent dye-house, fitted up with pipes and taps complete; a good drying-stove, with cast iron grated floor; condensing steam engine, nearly new; drug-rooms, sheds, &c.; and an abundant supply excellent of filtered water from a reservoir.—The above premises might, at a very moderate expense, be converted into extensive brewery, for which the quality of the water is peculiarly adapted.—Apply to Mr. THOMAS BURY, the Adelphi Silk Dye Works.[5]

1839 Report of hurricane damage in the area: 'A few minutes after six o'clock, the workpeople at the dyeworks of Mr. W. Fletcher, Adelphi, observed the large chimney, which was about forty yards high, to be oscillating in such a way as to leave no doubt that it would fall. Immediately afterwards it cracked near the base, and fell forward, partly into the reservoir….[6]

1845 Auction Notice: 'The Adelphi Print Works, in the occupation of Messrs. Wilson and Barton, with the large reservoir adjoining the same ; also the pumping engine set up on a plot of land lying between Adelphi-street and the River Irwell, used for supplying the said reservoir with water, with the Engine and Boiler-houses, and two Dwelling houses, and other buildings on the same plot.—The printworks are erected on freehold land, the site of which contains about 7897 square yards, and they are intended to be sold indemnified against the said chief rent f £176 16s. 5½d. The reservoir and chimney are on leasehold land, ......

'....Lot 4. The ADELPHI BATHS, with the filterer adjoining the same, situate in Peru-street and Canning-street, the site of which contains about 3353 square yards. Also, a plot of vacant Land behind the baths, fronting Canning-street, containing about 479 square yards. Also, four well-secured chief rents, .......

'....Lot 6. ADELPHI HOUSE, situate in Adelphi-street. and the Garden and Land thereunto belonging, and occupied therewith, extending to the river Irwell The land including the site the building, contains about 3,907 square yards, ..... further particulars obtained, on application to Mr. Robert Dickinson, at Mr. Bury's, Adelphi Dye Works.' [7]

1852 'A YOUTH SCALDED TO DEATH. -On Monday last, an inquest was held at the Royal Infirmary, before Mr E. V Herford, on John W. Barlow, aged 14, son of John Barlow, of Tyldesley's Court, Brown-street, Salford. The deceased was in the employ of Messrs. Dewhurst and Sagars, at the Adelphi dyeworks. About half-past three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, some of the hands were washing out the dye-house, prior to ceasing work at four o'clock. A stool had been placed on a cistern of boiling fustic. The deceased was told to take the stool from the cistern, and is doing so he over-balanced himself, and fell into the boiling liquid. He was immediately helped out by a man named Hyams, but was so badly scalded that his injuries proved fatal. -John Bell, the overseer of the works, stated that the men had no authority to order the boy to remove the stool from the cistern. -The jury returned a verdict of Accidental death;" but expressed an opinion that greater caution should be observed in the employment of young and inexperienced hands about open liquor vats. [8]

1852 Sale Notice: 'Lot 2. All that ENGINE-HOUSE and BOILER-HOUSE, with the Calendar Works behind the same, and the Dwelling-house adjoining, situate in Adelphi-street, Salford, in the occupation of Messrs. Thomas Bury and Co. together with the steam-engine of 50-horse power, and the two steam-boilers, one of 48-horse power, and the other of 35-horse power, as now fixed complete.—....

'.....Lot 6. The ADELPHI PRINT WORKS, bounded by Blackburn-street. Silk-street, Canning-street, and Cannon-street, the site of which contains about 7867 square yards of freehold land, together with the small plot of leasehold land whereon the large chimney used for the said works stands,.......

'....Lot 7a. All that Plot of FREEHOLD LAND adjoining the above, and fronting Cannon-street, and containing about 743 square yards, with the machine works erected thereon, in the occupation of Messrs. Oddy, Robinson and Co., and marked 7a on plan. Lot 8a All that Plot of FREEHOLD LAND adjoining the above, and fronting Cannon-street, Canning-street, and Silk-street, and containing about 2437 square yards, with the steaming-house, madder dyehouse, bleaching-house, and blue dyehouse erected thereon, …... Lot 9a. All that Plot FREEHOLD LAND, adjoining the above and fronting Silk-street, containing about 928 square yards, with the Block Printing Shop, four stories high, erected thereon, …... Lot 11a. All that Plot of FREEHOLD LAND, bounded by lots 6a, 7a, 8a, 9a, and 10a, with an entrance from Blackburn-street, and containing about 2,703 square yards, and marked 11a on plan, with the Colour Shop and Machine Rooms, two stories high, Calender House, one story high, Fire-proof Machine Printing Shop, four stories high, Engine House adjoining, and Boiler House, with drying rooms over, four stories high,.....

'.....Lot 25. All that Plot of LEASEHOLD LAND near the above, with the materials thereon, forming the site of the large Reservoir, and held for a like term, and bounded by Reservoir Terrace, Cannon-street, Adelphi-street, and Peru-street, and containing about 11,726 square yards, and marked 25 on plan. Further particulars may be had, …., at Messrs. Thomas Bury and Co.'s Adelphi Silk Dye Works, Salford. [9]

1857 Sale notice: Alfred Leigh instructed by the assignees of Thomas Bury, to sell by auction, the whole of the machinery, utensils, &c. for Silk. Cotton, and Worsted Dyeing, &c., on the premises known asthe Adelphi Silk Dyeworks.[10]

1858 Sale notice: 'Preliminary Notice. — Highly Important to Silk, Cotton, and Worsted Dyers, &c. ALFRED LEIGH begs to intimate that he will SELL BY AUCTION, about the middle of the ensuing month of January, 1858, the premises known as Adelphi Silk Dyeworks, situate in Adelphi-street, Salford, by order of the assignees of Mr. Thomas Bury, and without reserve, the Valuable MACHINERY, &c., comprising six hydro-extractors, with baskets, 2ft. 6in., 3ft. 4in., and 3ft. 6in. diameter, Seyrig's patent; hydraulic press, with 8in. ram, pair of double pumps, and two cast-iron carriages, lined with copper, on cast-iron railway; very powerful stretching machine, with four arms and gearing complete; five large-sized copper pans, with grate bars and fixings; several large-sized cast-iron cisterns; round and square cast and wrought iron pans; lead pan, 4ft. 4in. by 2ft. lOin. 4ft. deep, copper bottom; block-tin pan, 3ft. by 2ft. by 2ft. 8in deep, with copper bottom; ten capital stone cisterns, &c. —Further particulars, with date of sale, will be given in future advertisements and meanwhile, for further information, application may be made to Francis Hernaman, Esq., official assignee, 69, Princess-street; Messrs Chew and Son, solicitors, Swan-street; or to the Auctioneer, at his offices, 47, Princess-street, Manchester. [11]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'The Godfrey Edition Old Ordnance Survey Town Plans: Manchester & Salford Sheet 22: Salford (Adelphi) 1848' [1]
  2. 'A & G Murray and the Cotton Mills of Ancoats' by I Miller & C Wild and S Little, R McNeil, K Moth: Lancaster Imprints: ISBN 978-0-904220-46-9. Plate 20 shows the surviving structure
  3. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 10th March 1838
  4. 'The Godfrey Edition Old Ordnance Survey Town Plans: Manchester & Salford Sheet 22: Salford (Adelphi) 1848' [2]
  5. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 7th July 1838
  6. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Saturday 12th January 1839
  7. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 1st November 1845
  8. Manchester Times, Saturday 2nd October 1852
  9. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 20th November 1852
  10. Manchester Times, 14 November 1857
  11. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 2 January 1858