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British Industrial History

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Havelock Mills, Manchester

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of 74 and 76, Great Bridgewater Street, Lower Mosley Street, Manchester.

Originally called Great Bridgewater Street Mills.


This was the last surviving intact silk mill in Manchester. Despite being Grade II listed, it was demolished in 1992. Before demolition, emergency recording was undertaken, and the findings reported by Mike Williams in the Industrial Archeology Review[1]. He states that 'Documentary research and comparison with silk mills in other areas indicates that this was an exceptionally large example which was at the forefront of developments in the mechanisation of silk maufacturing. The oldest parts of the mill dated from c.1825, when Vernon Royle, ordered a steam engine from Boulton and Watt. Royle had gone into partnership with Thomas Crompton.


The 1849 O.S. map[2] identifies the complex as Great Bridgewater Street Mills, its southern walls running along the bank of the Rochdale Canal, alongside Lock No. 89. The eastern end was next to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal where it joined the Ashton Canal. The northern face was on Great Bridgewater Street, while the west end was bounded by a block of properties which included Albion Mill, Trumpet Street, and the still-present Briton's Protection pub.

The 1891/1893 O.S. map shows Havelock Mills (Braid & Umbrellas).

Some Events

1829 'On Saturday there were again some extremely heavy showers, and a repetition of the floods. About four in the afternoon, there was one of the most tremendous claps of thunder ever heard. The electric fluid was discharged immediately over the silk-mill of Mr Vernon Royle, in Great Bridgewater-street; but fortunately he has at the end of his mill nearest to the canal, a conductor which attracted the lightning, and conveyed it into the canal, violently shaking, however, in its progress, the whole of the building and all the machinery in it, and completely burning away the wedges of wood driven into the wall for the purpose of holding the iron fastenings of the conducting-rod. At the same moment the gas-meter, which stood at the opposite end of the building, and to which it could not be perceived that the electric fluid had at all communicated, burst with a loud report.'[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Havelock Mill, Manchester: A case-study in the emergency recording of a large urban mill complex, by Mike Williams, Industrial Archeology Review Vol XVI Number 1 Autumn 1993
  2. 'The Godfrey Edition' 'Old Ordnance Survey Town Plans: Manchester Sheet 33: 'Manchester (Oxford Street & Gaythorn)' [1]
  3. Newcastle Courant, Saturday 18 July 1829