Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Benjamin and William Sandford

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of Manchester

1796 'Water Wheels and Gearing for Water Spinning To be SOLD,
ONE WATER WHEEL, twelve Feet diameter, six Feet wide, with a Cistern and Shuttle for laying Water on the Surface, complete.
One upright Shaft, Oak, with Fly Wheel and Segments.
Ten Cast Iron Shafts, with Drums, Frames, Lying Shafts, and Cog Geering, compleat for turning Water Frames, quite new, only three ever having been in work. A Quantity of Cast Iron Weights, Sizes 8oz. 4lbs. & 14lbs.
One small Water Wheel, seven Feet diameter, one Foot and a Half wide.
One Cistern, eight Feet long, four Feet wide, thirteen Inches deep, suitable for a small brewing Cooler.
Two large Suttles or Flood Gates, with Frames, for stopping Water.
Apply to B. and W. Sandford, Shooter's Brook Factory, or at their Warehouse, Birchin-lane, Manchester.
They have likewise to dispose of,
One Carding Engine, 48 Inch, for coarse Work.
Three small ditto, 18 Inch.
One Stretching Frame, 64 Spindles.'[1]

1821 Benjamin & William Sandford listed as cotton spinners, New Islington, and merchants, Hodgson's Square. Benjamin's house: 20 George Street[2]

1840 Advertisement: 'TO COTTON SPINNERS -Valuable and Extensive COTTON SPINNING ESTABLISHMENT to be sold, with or without the Machinery, as may best suit the convenience of the purchaser. To be sold by private treaty, all those COTTON FACTORIES and PREMISES situate in Canal-street and Sandford-street, Ancoats, Manchester, formerly occupied by Mr. Benjamin Sandford, deceased. The premises consist of a factory, 75 feet long by about 39 feet wide, and seven stories high; another factory connected therewith, 64 feet long by 42 feet wide, and another factory also connected therewith, 52 feet long by 41 feet wide, and seven stories high, the lower story of which forms the boiler-house: a fire-proof building, 39 feet long and 22 feet wide and six stories high, containing twist rooms, warehouses, mechanics' shop, and other conveniences; another building containing picking and blowing rooms, cotton cellars, &c.; a manager house, lodge, seven cottage, and other buildings, the whole in excellent order, and the greater part in recent erection. There a steam engine on the premises, and the factories are fitted-up with gas pipes, and every other requisite for working the concern in the best and most profitable manner. The tenure is freehold of inheritance, and the land (of which a considerable portion is still unbuilt on) contain 4.096 superficial yards ….The machinery consists of mules, containing altogether 35,000 spindles, or thereabouts, with the necessary preparation, and the whole in good working condition. The factories, land and buildings will be sold, either with or without the machinery….. [3]. Note: A very similar advertisement had been placed in 1838 by H. McConnel, and the machinery was being advertised for sale as late as 1843 [4], and the land and buildings were advertised again in 1845, still described as belonging to the late Benjamin Sandford[5]


It is clear from study of maps that Sandfords' mill was on the site of Salvin's Factory. The maps alone do not allow us to say whether the same buildings were used, or whether new buildings were built to replace the old ones. More on this below. Green's 1787-1794 map shows Salvin's factory in meadowland, straddling Shooter's Brook. By the time Bancks's map was published in 1831, the character of the area had completely changed, and the mill was surrounded by back-to-back houses, built on a rectangular block plan. Shooter's Brook had been largely culverted in that area. The dominant feature on the maps which allows us to say that Salvin's Factory became the Sandfords' mill is its orientation.

However, we do not need to rely on geographical interpretation, as there is ample recorded information and archaeological evidence to confirm the development of Salvin's Factory by the Sandfords. This was thoroughly summarised by Miller, Wild and Little in 2007[6]. We learn that the original Salvin building straddling Shooter's Brook was extended north eastwards in 1819, and a separate boiler house was built at the same time, east of the extension. These and other buildings are clearly shown on the 1849 O.S. map. No visible trace now remains of these buildings.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Mercury - Tuesday 10 May 1796
  2. Pigot & Dean's New Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1821-22
  3. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 4th July 1840
  4. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15th April 1843
  5. Manchester Times, 26th April 1845
  6. 'A & G Murray and the Cotton Mills of Ancoats': I Miller & C Wild and S Little, R McNeil, K Moth: Lancaster Imprints, 2007