Owner early 20thC - A J King
Manager 1900-1911 - Edward Seynor Stone
Ingersley Vale and its mills have
a long and illustrious history. There were once three
mills in the vale, a waulk mill (wool processing), Ingersley
Vale, often known as Clough mill, and Rainow
to a fire in 1908 and with J. McNulty's glass works
on the site for many years, and now a joinery workshop.
Vale or Clough mill has been altered many times over the centuries.
The remaining structure carries a date stone of 1809 (right). When
originally built by Edward Collier in 1792/93 as a cotton spinning
mill there was a row of cottages and the mill manager's house located
along the valley floor upstream of the mill. George Longden, the
well informed local historian, established that there was an apprentice
house on the site, as there still is at Styal, though he could
not identify its location within the complex. Edward Collier developed
the mill and his date stone shows 1809 indicating a re-building.
He became bankrupt in 1811 and the mill was sold to the adjacent
landowner, Thomas Gaskell. It was tenanted to Chadwick, Clegg &
Co. of Manchester; in 1826 J & J Fearnley plus
Martin Swindells I went into partnership here, but was dissolved
in 1830, all cotton spinning. Since the mid 19thC, dyeing, bleaching
and finishing has been the main occupation of the mill, particularly
by A. J. King
between 1878 and 1929. The original mill was accompanied by an
apprentice house, one of only four in Cheshire - you can visit
the restored apprentice house at Styal village.
The mill was again rebuilt after a fire
in 1819. Also in the 19th century the cottages and house were
removed and additional mill buildings erected over the river upstream
of the main mill. In the 20th century these were altered and extended.
The mill is located at the narrowest point in the valley. All
these mills were located in the river Dean valley because of the
availability of water to drive their waterwheels and mill machinery.
mill was water powered until the 1950s. In 1803 the power of the
river was increased by the construction of Clough pool and the
waterfall (left) which stored up enough water to drive the wheel
at maximum power throughout the day. Overnight the reserves in
the pool were restored while the mill was idle. See the
page on mill ponds. The water wheel
(below) directly powered the machinery until 1895 after which the
water drove a dynamo and the machinery was powered by electric
motors, providing much greater flexibility in the layout and types
of machinery that could be used. This was one of the very first
mills in the country to be powered by electricity.
there was a smaller wheel house containing two overshot water wheels,
one above the other, one of 22ft diameter, the other of 32ft, designed
to use the water twice. When more power was required the wheel
house was enlarged to what we see today and a single 56 foot diameter
by 9 foot wide wheel (right) was installed. The wheel at Ingersley
mill is famous for the fact that it was, at 56 feet in diameter,
the largest in England, and only beaten in Britain by the wheel
at Laxey in the Isle of Man. This was undoubtedly one of the most
powerful water wheels installed anywhere. The power of the water
was taken through the rim of the wheel enabling the light weight
bicycle wheel type structure visible in the picture. Regrettably,
some decades after it became redundant, the wheel was removed and
The leat supplying water from the pool to the wheel is still in
place and contains a 2ft 6inch diameter cast iron pipe to carry
the water along the hillside. The aqueduct which took the water
across the road to the wheel house is still in place. This is
a rare and important feature of this historic site.
Graham Plant, who lives in Kerridge, remembers that his uncle
worked at the mill in the early 20th century. The mill was running
what were known as 'beetles'.
These were tilt hammers that pounded the cloth in a row of containers
which also contained a liquid and the process was designed to put
a sheen on the cloth. Graham recalls that in his young days Rainow
mill (the 'modern' building adjacent to Mill Lane cottages) was
a cloth store and this was connected to Ingersley mill by a continuous
overhead wire on pulleys and used to convey the rolls of cloth
from the store to the mill.
First record of a cotton spinning mill on the site is for 1792
when there was a water powered mill with a small reservoir. The
reservoir was enlarged, creating Clough Pool and a new leat constructed
by 1803 by Edward Collier and this powered two waterwheels, one
placed above the other. There was also reference to an 18hp steam
engine although it is uncertain as to whether this powered the
mill machinery directly or was used to replenish the reservoir
at times of low water supply. The spinning mill block was probably
built at this time. The mill was bought by Thomas
of adjacent Ingersley House (as it was then), in 1811, after Collier
became bankrupt, and was damaged by fire in 1819. The buildings
on the site at this time included the owner's house, a warehouse,
a smithy and a pauper apprentices house.
The Swindells Era, 1821-42
The mill had been rebuilt by August 1821 and
the owner, Thomas Gaskell, formed a partnership with Martin
Swindells I. By 1826, 330 power looms had been installed. The Swindells took
full control of the site in 1830 until 1842 when James Leigh took
The printworks, 1842-78
During this period, cotton spinning ceased on the site and
the buildings were converted to printing calico. It was at
this time that the wheelhouse was rebuilt and a single 56
foot diameter wheel was installed, reputed to be the second
largest in Britain. By 1874, the mill had changed over to
The bleachworks, 1878-1929
The mill was taken over by A. J. King (right) in 1878 and
the buildings converted to a bleachworks. The first floor of the
spinning mill was removed to create sufficient headroom for the
bleaching processes and a range of new buildings replaced the older
structures on the site. There was considerable expansion
of the facilities and in 1895, the water wheel was converted
to drive a dynamo and all the processes were powered by electric
The site was sold to Slater, Harrison & Co.
and used initially as a printworks for litho and letterpress printing.
In 1937, the site was taken over by a number of companies with
varied but textile related manufacturing processes. More recent
history has been chequered with a succession of companies in the
cloth industry including dyers and bleachers renting Ingersley
mill. A fire in November 1999 destroyed the roof and floors of
the original mill building. The last occupants of the site moved
out a few years later and the whole site had descended into dereliction.
Planning permission was obtained to redevelop the entire site
with new structures on either side of the original mill and the
latter developed into 24 appartments. There is lapsed approval
for 66 units in total.
Site A, the open ground between Rainow mill and Ingersley mill,
was once a mill pond providing water to Rainow mill's water wheel.
The pond was filled in decades ago, the only relic being the waterfall
behind the Rainow mill.
Redevelopment of the site began at the end of September 2010 and
all the 20thC buildings were cleared. The only part left
standing are the walls of the original 1809 mill and the big wheel
The development plans included the use of water to generate
electricity. However, there are a couple of changes that will have
reduced the power of the river since the 19th century - firstly
the construction of Lamaload reservoir which is used to store water
from the river and use it for our public water supply, and, secondly,
the silting up of Clough pool so that it is in effect just a river
running through to the waterfall. Clough pool has been sold off
in the early 2010s to a local private owner who is developing it
as a wild life reserve.
The development plans for
the mill site are on hold (2015) due to the national financial
problems and has been sold to HM Government's Homes and Communities
Agency. They are supposed to be getting housing built on sites
such as this but little has happened other than the erection
of a heavy duty, and very permanent looking, steel fence around
In January 2015 HCA have installed scaffolding under the aqueduct
to protect it from any possibility of collapsing into the road.
Martin Swindells I 
Clough mill was the first to be taken in Bollington by the Swindells
family. Martin Swindells I was in partnership with
Thomas Fearnley of Stockport. "The
two partners would appear to have heard something of a cotton mill
in a village called Bollington. They drove into the village by
way of 'Long Lane', 'Cat-ladder' & 'Beeston'
to see the Clough
mill. They took the mill and Martin and his wife Hannah came
and lived at the Clough in a pleasant house, the garden of which
was hedged off from the road by a broad stream of swiftly flowing
water, and a low stone wall." More
on the Swindells family can be seen on their own page.
Letter from A. J. King & Co. Ltd. dated 26:IX:1912 probably to Miss Mellor's solicitor or land agent concerning King's possible purchase of land and buildings from the Mellor estate at Rainow.
The full text reads (with a few unreadable words) ...
Hough Hole Estate
I am obliged by yours of 23rd Inst. with particulars of rentals &c.
I have this morning had an interview with the managing directors of Bleachers x---------x Ld.
I am sorry to say that I find that the insistance for an immediate p-----e g--e operates - thus it may be x----x at any time -
They propose therefore that in sh---x x x the lease on the terms suggested by Miss Mellor to carry out the wishes of the sons as to x----x of p---x xx. x---x that you should ask for the insertion of a clause giving us the option to purchase at any time during the continuance of the lease - at the price of £5000 for the property including the 2 extra fields (15 1/2 acres)
In view of the Rentals & the inaccessible position of the property by road they think this is a liberal offer.
x----x of x--x & you will x-----x your clients in this matter & let me know.
Alfred J. King.
A. x. Bullock
A J King MP
Clicking the reference description takes you back
to the text
Williams and the Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Cookstown, Co Tyrone
Vale LLP, document describing planned development, 2007.
F. Brooke, from notes taken in 1885. Document
My thanks go to those who researched and discovered the history
that is presented in these pages. Please
read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement.
Your Historic Documents
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