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British Industrial History

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John Smith (of Morton Mills)

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1878 Bankrupt - Details of the auction of his premises.[1]

SUNNY DALE MILL is stone built, and has been used for the purpose of manufacturing the paper prior to sizing and finishing, it comprises boiler-house, engine-house, broken paper room, dusting-house, two rag boiler-houses, rag engine-house, bleach-house, and machine-house, and contains a circular boiler, with two flues, of 40-horse power, steam-engine of 25-horse power, with double cylinder (one high pressure and the other condensing), made by Whitham and Co., of Leeds, and put up in 1853, wrought-iron crane and jenny, two iron rag-boilers (measuring respectively 12 ft. 6 in. and 11 ft. 6 in. in length, and both 5 feet in diameter), two stone rag-boilers, one lime-water pump, six rag breaking-engines, four beating-engines, two hydraulic presses with pumps, portable steam-engine of 4-horse power, one paper machine (Fourdrinier's patent), with patent double acting pumps, and vacuum boxes (originally cost about £800), two stone stuff-chests with agitators, two elevators with copper, buckets, pump for pumping into stuff-chest, 22 cisterns (16 stone and 6 iron), for hot water, lime water, bleach liquor, &c., wooden bins for stowing dressed rags, with all the necessary shafting, driving gear, drums, water, steam, and gas-piping, taps, fittings, and burners.

In addition to the two steam engines, there are two large over-shot reversed wrought-iron water-wheels, which supply power to the mill, one being 50 feet in diameter by 6 feet 6 inches wide, and the other 44 feet diameter by 7 feet wide. The water-wheels are worked, and the mill supplied, with water from 6 reservoirs, the main one fed from two sources, and draining a large expanse of moorland, containing an area of four acres er thereabouts, and having in some places a depth of nearly 90 feet of water. The waste water descends into the valley beneath, by a waste weir 80 yards long, over a very handsome and solidly constructed flight of 204 stone steps, each let 5 feet into the ground.

The water in one of the reservoirs, called the Sweet-Well Reservoir (containing an area of OA. 1R. 24p. or thereabouts), is derived from a spring on the adjoining moor, from which it is conducted by 4-inch iron pipes to the reservoir, and has never been known to fail in supply either in winter or summer. This water is peculiarly adapted, and cannot be surpassed for paper making. It is of the same quality as the water of the far-famed Old White Well at Ilkley, only about three miles distant.

The right of easement to the spring, and all the underground piping connecting the several reservoirs, with their feeders and the mill, amounting altogether to about 1550 yards in length, will form part of the property put up for sale.

The gas used in the mill can be made upon the premises, there being the necessary retort, coolers, purifier, and gasometer.

There is an open quarry of valuable stone on the estate, out of which the mill, &c., have been built.

Several acres of the precipitous ground adjoining were converted some years ago into plantations of forest trees.

LOW MILL has been employed in sizing and finishing the paper manufactured at Sunny Dale. It is stone-built, three stories high, 134 feet in length by 66 feet in breadth, at the east end, and 31 feet 6 inches at the west end. It comprises size house, drying room, callender house, finishing room, charging room, felt, wire, and model room, rough rag house, rag cutting room, turning shop, low size house, spetch house, mechanics' shop, size boiling house, lower counting house and upper counting house. The machinery, &c., consists of Ransom's patent sizing machine, Ransom's patent parting machine, Ransom's patent drying machine, with 31 drums, all made in 1851, by Bertram, of Edinburgh, costing about £1000. Two 3-pair roll callenders, two 1-pair self-acting callenders, two Brown's patent cutters, made by the patentee; Wilson's patent cutting machine, upright drilling machine, five hydraulic presses, with pumps, &c., complete; two turning lathes, circular saw and stand, hoist and fittings, wrought iron jenny and chain, one boiler of 25-horse power, with steam engine of 6-horse power; copper size heater, large iron boiler, double copper boiler, lead lined cistern for alum, two iron cisterns, four large stone cisterns, iron steam stove in the lower counting-house, and iron safe in the upper counting-house, shelving, bins, finishing tables, with the necessary shafting driving gear drums, water, steam and gas piping, gas burner, taps, and fittings.

The mill is supplied with water from an adjoining reservoir, and Morton Beck runs within a few yards of it.

There is a gasometer near to and belonging this mill, with retort, purifier, and all the necessary apparatus for making gas.

Morton is about two miles from the Bingley Station of the Midland Railway Company, and one mile from the Rushforth Bridge Wharf of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, thus affording ready means of transit to and from the mills by rail or water.

All the machinery in both mills is on the most approved principle, and in excellent working condition.


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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Gazette Issue 22186 published on the 28 September 1858. Page 19 of 32