Our mill

Our mill

Our mill

Newsome Mills sits at the heart of Newsome – both geographically and historically. The mill was founded by John Taylor in 1827 and was a working woolen textile mill right up until 1983.

During the 156 years of its operation, the mill made a significant contribution to Newsome. The village has grown around the mill, which was the main local employer for a long time. Many families who live in Newsome today have a direct relationship to Newsome Mills.

The main building on the site was an impressive four-storey mill.

The four-storey mill was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Thursday 17th November 2016. The entire mill interior collapsed at 6.08am. The structure was declared dangerous later that morning and demolition began in the darkness that same evening. We’re still recovering from our loss.

Newsome Mill is the most prominent building in Newsome and its iconic clock tower is also a well-known Huddersfield landmark. At the time of writing, that tower still stands. It can be seen clearly from Huddersfield town centre and the surrounding district. This tower was part of the main mill building and was constructed in the 1880s. It replaced an earlier mill building that was lost to fire in 1872.

The mill is most familiarly associated with the firm of Taylor & Littlewood, formed in 1873 when Ephraim Beaumont Taylor went into partnership with Joshua Littlewood. Under their management, Newsome Mills developed into a “Splendid block of buildings, mills and weaving sheds of great extent and admirable arrangement.”* All cloth manufacturing processes were carried out on the site  – starting with raw wool and ending with the production of fine worsteds. There were 200 looms and 600 employees making trousers, coats and woolen goods.

The collection of buildings which remains today gives a flavour of this range of activity. Sadly these buildings no longer include the main four-storey mill, which has been reduced to its ground floor shell. But the weaving sheds, administrative buildings, ancilliary structures, dwellings and mill ponds remain. When the mill celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1977, it was the oldest privately owned fine worsted manufacturing company in Huddersfield with its own weaving and spinning plants. Taylor & Littlewood’s order books were still full in 1978.

Newsome Mills is a key part of the identity and history of our area – and local residents want to preserve all that remains of it. The mill is a local landmark and a site of special historic value, both on a community level and as an important part of the textile heritage of the Huddersfield area. The resonance of Newsome Mills extends far beyond the familiar chimes of its clock tower, which have fallen silent since the first demolition crew arrived on site during Easter 2007. The latest demolition crew are still here.

When I created this blog, I said:

“If the mill itself were to be lost, the strongest voice of history in our village would also be silenced.”

The lasting impact of this terrible loss for Newsome remains to be seen.

* see: p116, Huddersfield Mills, A Textile Heritage. Vivien Teasdale. [Wharncliffe Books, 2004]

Huddersfield Mills

Huddersfield Mills

Acknowledgment:

The details given here about the history of Newsome Mill can be found in Vivien Teasdale’s excellent book: ‘Huddersfield Mills, A Textile Heritage’ from Warncliffe Books.

If you’d like to read more, you can buy Huddersfield Mills from Amazon.com

Huddersfield Mills – buy the book

Version information:

This page was updated on 22nd November 2016, following the loss of the main mill building at Newsome Mills.

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