Very large cotton spinning and thread-twisting mills set into hillside. Founded 1792, oldest mill dated 1858, large extension on Oldham models 1880-1. Whitewashed brick buildings with segmental arched heads to windows, corbel tables and blocking courses.
West Mill: 5-storey, 8-by 19-bay mill. Off-centre oval stair tower dated 1858 (R J & F Alexander's Glasgow Mill has a similar stair). Some sills of 3rd floor windows lowered. Later lavatory, rest and stair towers added to S elevation. Low multi-ridged roof concealed behind parapet. 6-pane glazing patterns to windows.
No 1 Mill: 6-storey (top floor said to be a last minute addition) 8-by 15-bay mill. Dentil cornice at 4th and 5th floors. Rectangular-section 3-bay stair and water tower to centre of W elevation. Top stage with round headed windows, corbelled balustrade and wrought-iron angle finials. French pavilion roof removed circa 1970. Multi-ridged shallow slate roofs to mill. 9-and 120-pane glazing patterns to windows.
Engine house projects at SW, 2-by 4-bay with 2 tiers of round-headed windows, those at ground altered on insertion of mezzanine. Rope race (with 2 tiers of dentil cornices and pedestrian bridge to site of Pirn Mill)links engine house to mill and square-section hoist tower. Piended slate roof with ridge ventilator. Pend underneath link from engine house to West Mill.
To N: lower 4-by 1-bay block adjoins N elevations of No 1 mill, perhaps also a rope race. Brick gable indicates site of further engine or turbine house. Single-storey and basement 3-bay link (with later gable) to: 3-storey and basement 11-by 6-bay block with tall ground floor, gable dated 1881. 3 piended slate roofs. Loading bay, perhaps originally a boiler house; 6-bay arcaded W elevation. Piended sheet-metal-clad roof. Impressive group of lades and ponds uphill to S, partly 18th-19th century, partly remodelled in concrete circa 1928. High curved squared-rubble coped boundary walls to road which crosses water systems by a rubble-built bridge. Brick-built gatepiers at main road with curved single-storey lodge, circa 1950, windows blocked.
Interior: No 1 Mill fireproof with single brick arches between cast-iron columns and beams. Remainder not seen.
Statement of Special Interest
Established 1792 by Stewart, Orr & Co. In 1859, on the death of James Orr, combined with R J & F Alexander of Duke St Glasgow, to amalgamate in 1898 with English Sewing Ltd (descendents of Richard Arkwright, Masson and Belper, Derbyshire) as a thread twisting mill. The original mill, the largest in the district, and comparable to Cartside Mill, was burned down twice, once shortly after construction, and again in 1880. Later post cards show a cut down part of it surviving, with a later clock tower. The site is now a car park. The architect of No 1 Mill was probably either A H or Joseph Stott, Edward Potts or John Wild, all of Oldham and designers of cotton mills world-wide. In Scotland the only comparable buildings are the Glasgow Cotton Spinners remaining mill at Carstairs Street, Glasgow and the more unusual Anchor and Ferguslie Mills, Paisley. Originally water powered, supplemented by steam engines in 1870s, a steam turbine in 1928 and individual electric drives in 1953. A Pirn mill was added to the South in about 1900 to make bobbins, closed and demolished in 1968, leaving only the gates and railings.