Clarence mill was one of the last in Bollington to have
significant work done to enlarge or improve it. The chimney
we see today was built in 1914 and further improvements were
carried out to the structure of the mill in 1920.
chimney was the third to grace the mill. Right from its first
construction in 1830 the mill was steam powered. But as the
mill got larger and the spinning and weaving machinery got
more sophisticated so the power requirements increased. The
need for more power was answered by installing more and bigger
boilers and furnaces. The first chimney was on the bank behind
the mill where the houses in Clarence Terrace are situated
today (right hand chimney in picture, above right). Later
a second boiler house was built behind the then newer part
of the mill, approximately where the multistory car park
is today (left hand chimney in top picture, right).
By 1910 the mill was feeling the need for a big upgrade
in its boilers and furnaces and a new facility was built
at the entrance to the canalside mill yard. The brick chimney
we see today was to serve that. The chimney is the only part
of that to survive, the boiler house having been decommissioned
many decades ago after the mill turned over entirely to the
new fangled electricity. For a time all three chimneys
were standing around the mill but the two redundant ones
were later removed (second picture, right).
The brick chimney was built by H. Cumberbirch & Sons,
a local building company established in 1900 by Harold
Cumberbirch, grandfather of today's directors of the company
(2010), who oversaw the work personally. The first stone
was laid by Mr G. H. Swindells,
on 6th July 1914. Harold Cumberbirch is in the group picture
(below right) - he is second from right, front row.
In 1977 the chimney was giving cause for concern and the
then owners of the mill proposed to demolish it. Fortunately,
I understood at the time, they could not afford the £12,000
that demolition would have cost and so they had the top
few feet removed. This seriously spoilt the look of the
chimney because, like most factory chimneys of old, this
one had a most attractive floral finish to the top. This
was the bit that was removed - they broke it up and tipped
it down the flue, so it lies there today broken inside
The history of Clarence mill
is on another page.
Pictures from Bollington Civic Society collection available
online and at the Discovery
Centre. The Cumberbirch pictures are not yet
in the system.