Saturday, 19 December 2009

Old Advert for Cordingleys....

Thanks to Ken Sedgwick for kindly sending in this old Cordingleys advert.  (There are lots of old adverts being put on shortly, please keep checking out "adverts and documents"  under separate heading in left side bar.........

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Swinnel Brook - In the late 19th and Early to mid 20th Century, it was probably the Towns most important asset....

"Those becks that sent that gin to bloom,
That helped to power many a loom,
So precious to the marigold,
And sparkles to the stickleback
I can breathe, I can sip, I can swim, I can rejoice,
To a place what’s given this town its voice"  (18th Feb 2015)

This is a map I did in the 80s showing the approximate route the Swinnel Brook takes, and also to summarize its very importance to our local community, especially so in the 19th and 20th Century, providing water to keep our many mills running and in doing providing employment for the many. (Thanks to John Simpson for kindly checking over this map in the 80s and also for making some additions at the Sunnybank/Albion Mill end)

The Map is far from being in scale, but does at least give a approximate indication to the route the Swinnel followed. Sadly today the majority of the Swinnel is now culveted (and in part has more recently gone through some slight deviations from it's original watercourse), and prior to the 1970's, quite a lot of the Swinnel was then "open", whereby today it is mainly covered and encased within concrete pipes or open culverts channelled in concrete with concrete side bankings.

During the 50s and 60s there where many naturally open areas of the Swinnel, as I remember the 6ft wide brook bore much beauty with areas along its route showing off it's long flowing mosses and various chickweeds wavering backwards and forwards within its fast currents, also marigolds a plenty. There where also areas of the brook where we would catch "Sticklebacks and "Bullheads" and put them in jam jars, also but rare we actually caught "catfish", even brown trout was seen now and again, and sometimes we would fish the calmer, more settled waters of the lodges, of which some bore perch and roach and most of them had good stocks of goldfish (or golden orfe). It wasnt that the lodge owners allowed fishing, you had to do it quite "sneakedly" from parts they could not see you!!

There were at least 12 mills, and could probably have been more, which depended on the Swinnel Brook for their survival, and most of these mills had lodges (water catchment and holding areas). I can remember most of these lodges, although nowadays there are few survivors, with most now having been filled in long ago, although if you look carefully, there is still plenty of evidence of where these lodges once stood. There were even more mills also further along the valley bottom towards Camms and the Helmshore district, which again operated in this area at one time purely, because of the necessity of being close to the Swinnel or the River Ogden. The Swinnel joins into the River Ogden just north of the Camms (See above photos and click on to enlarge). Going back to the beginnings, The Swinnel starts from its highest point on Cribden Moor lying

East to Sherfin Clough, and from there makes its course directly West and down the Clough into what was the Hazel Mill Lodge.

From leaving Hazel Mill it then did a 45 degrees and turned South going directly down to the far NE corner of Worsley Park, where it then makes another full 45 degrees and comes west again to the opposite NW corner of Worsley Park, here it again goes at 45 degrees South and heading along the park almost parallel with the road. After some 75 yard it then went under the main road and came out the other side into what was (a large open field area where W.H. Shaws coal merchants used to store their small 3/4" coal chippings which where used to keep the local factory boilerhouses going - they would access this area from Brook Street. The area these days are large corrugated warehouses or units and part of the Hud Hey Industrial area). After crossing under the road heading West for a further 100 yards, it then turned 45 degrees East for yet another 100 yards and here met up with the underground culvert, beneath Brook Street of which also other waters joined up here which had originally collected from high up and further along the Cribden Moor and also from the Duckworth Clough Areas, (Before reaching here (Brook St), and on its way down to here water was also collected within the two further lodges which were for Duckworth Clough Mill. The lodges are still there today and up until about 15 years ago they did contain some beautiful large Carp.) and these waters routed down Duckworth Clough Road and then under the main Blackburn Road (at Worsley Park entrance), and continued via Brook Street, where here they joined up with the Swinnel).

Going back to the course of the Swinnel and just yards before it met up with the culvert in Brook Street, where it was still "open", and there was a sluicegate to the right hand side which could be opened as needed to allow waters to divert into the Clough End Lodge which ran parrallel with Brook Street and Hud Hey Road (this is now filled in and a large car park area).

Where the waters meet under Brook Street, they then carry on almost following the line of Brook Street and still underground cross the main Hud Hey Road and keeping underground enter the East side of what was the Haslingden Council Yard . The old underground culvert here almost follows the boundary wall of the old Council Yard from its North East, right through to its South East corner, and at the far SE tip then re-appears once again in the open (See photo above left and click over to enlarge). After a further 100 yards you can still see the evidence of the old "sluicegate" which allowed waters at this point to be diverted to the Albert Mill Lodge as and when necessary (see photo above right and click over to enlarge).

Also at the far end of the Lodge another watercourse crossed under the cobbled road and then back again and crossed the road yet again, which lead into another lodge which was for the Victoria Mill.

Now retracing and going back to the "old sluicegate at Albert Mill" we now carry on with the main Swinnel watercourse which now drops and goes under and re-appears a few yards further along, at this point it is now "modern day open culveted and set within concrete" and this then continues to follow a almost parrallel line with what used to be the Railway. (nowadays, what was the old railway is the by-pass - Southerly traffic side). until it almost reaches what was Booth Road (or what was the Station goods yard), and here it goes underground again and rejoins its original watercourse at the East side of what was the North Hag Tunnel.. some 200 yards on..

Its worth noting that the water course has been altered from its original course here (near Albert Mill lodge entry), where it used to run straight under the railway track to the other side, and then continue flowing along the South East boundary of Martincroft Farm until it reached the Station area where it then went underground and crossed under the Station and over to the SE side, coming out and showing itself to the East of North Hag Tunnel). And the brook came into view yet again, where it came out from the culverts at the junction of Donkey Row (Bridge Street), and before long (after only maybe some 20 yards) it again dissapeared under the Commercial Mill, alongside the boilerhouse (this area was then the main route into Carrs and called (Commerce Street).

The brook came out at the SE corner of the Commercial Mill and also passed Paghouse Mill and then formed a further lodge (of which the brook coursed through the far side of the lodge) of Grove Mill. The lodge is now filled in but you can actually see the Swinnel at this point today (2009) and cross over its "what looks like it's original (from 50s as I remember) footbridge (see photo above).

The Swinnel carries on under Grove Mill going under what was the railway bridge, (now by pass), and came out in a lovely open area (or the East Carrs area, closeby to where there used to be a "rope works"), here it passed along in winding path in the shadows of the overlooking mature decideous trees (Click over photo on left to enlarge), and then under the main footbridge which lead all pedestrians onward from Prinny Hill to the village of Carrs which lies to the West of the Swinnel (see photo above right). It was still open at this point and bordered the West perimeter of the St. James Church Football playing fields where it went alongside the back of the large dark "creosoated timbered changing rooms", the ones we used to use when at having sports (You can just about make it out through the tree branches, on the photo above right). At this point the Swinnel probably spanned about 12ft wide. Also the cotton mill of Lamberts was just over the wall at the other side of the Swinnel (Lamberts also had a lodge to the back (or the West side) of the mill. This lodge was filled from brook waters which originated from Haslingden Moor to its West, and this brook then led on to join up with the Swinnel at around the Todd Hall Road point, SE to the corner of the Lamberts Mill.

The Swinnel then crossing under the Todd Hall Road, opened up again in the next field whilst it continued to meander its way South with Todd Hall and Underbank and Cob Castle lying to its West. It continued to follow the South course where it eventually came to the front (or East side) of Plantation Mill (off Flip Road) and then followed on underneath what was Hutch Bank Mill (no longer with us) There was three lodges at one time around these mills, though none of them are with us now, but I can remember one which was just off Flip Road and probably belonged to Plantation Mill. Most years it had a breeding pair of Mute Swans on this lodge and they got very protective within the breeding season, and where regularly known to try and attack you (thankfully from behind there 12ft perimeter enclosure. This lodge I am sure also got its water from the Swinnel. On leaving here It then coursed West and under the railway bridge for a short while until it soon reached Spring Vale Mill (on the opposite side of Flip Road), here it again went into another Lodge, from leaving here it went out and turned almost 45 degrees to the South along the side of Waterside Road. Across the road at this junction was Carr Parkers Mill or (Charles Lane Mill), they also had a Lodge.

Further along Waterside Road was the actual Waterside Mill. The Swinnel was open at this point and ran almost parallel at one time with Waterside Road, passing the bottom of the late Every and Coronation Streets and here would have been about 16ft wide, soon it was culveted under the railway line and eventually came out at Grane Road Mill. On the other side of the railway there was Flash Mill (Thos Warburton Ltd) whom also had a lodge, though memory fades, I rather think this lodge was fed by waters off the Hutch Bank rather than the Swinnel Brook.

Nowadays (2009) the Swinnel shortly after leaving Spring Vale Mill it is culveted yet again and heads off in a South West direction under the large mound of the present by pass, and crossing under the Grane Road, and coming out into the open again on the West side of what was the old Messrs. J.H. Birtwistle and Co. Ltd, Grane Road Mill, and then makes its way under the factorys and comes out again behind Holden Hall House and eventually joins up with the Ogden Brook, just North of the Camms.

From here on its the River Ogden, the Swinnel has done its work. The Ogden many years ago would have gone on to feed the Camms Mill, and just a little further downstream would have certainly fed the lodges of Higher Mill (Helmshore Textile Museum), and been responsible for the constant supply of waters needed to sustain the "water wheel" at Higher Mill and all mills on it Southbound watercourse.


Cridden guards you from the East,
It was that Hill of Stags,
A beacon warns to Hameldon,
Then walk o-er bridge upon a Cloud,
To a point that tips the Crown
Before you came to Play the Deer,
Down and ordered Back – Up again,
No Stags upon them hills away,
No antlers hung by Stags heads 
For riches lie within thy peat,
Hazel shouts whilst birches shine like silver,
Sides with Pinner-ed becks and Cavern’s drip,
Slate-d tunnels of catacombs, and shafts to echo grand,
Breached flatts with peppered pits
Where such lonely wretched moor grass sits
Vibrato cries with Curlew’s mourn,
Gruffs and Roding beats of drumming snipe,
This time when honeydew rushes ripe,
Along this god forsaken place.
Those becks that sent that gin to bloom,
That helped to power many a loom,
So precious to the marigold,
And sparkles to the stickleback
I can breathe, I can sip, I can swim, I can rejoice,
To a place what’s given this town its voice
18th Feb 2015.

(Just uploaded the above photo to another site, the photo shows Cribden in the background
and inspired me to put pen to paper) If you do prefer explanation to the poem

Ponds been “filled In”
A remember ambling up that road carrying jam jar by the string.
I was so pleased at what I’d caught, couldn’t wait to show my dad,
Two sticklebacks were a swimming round, many times within that jar,
All folk I saw going up Hud Hey would stop and take a look and smile.

Other times I go to “pond” to look at all that spawn,
I’d go again another day to watch the tadpoles hatch and swim.
Sometimes I’d try and catch them and let them go again,
Besides them were the “whirlygigs” who’d spin and spin and spin,

Only place I ever saw the dragonflies and little damsel flies as well,
Was down at rushy edge of that little pond down near Carr Mill,
And close by Swinnel, I’d see the Bullheads and loach we called the catfish,
They are good times to remember, how lucky we all where.

Its changed a lot since them “little boy days” and what a shame me thinks!
Most ponds and lodges are not around these days because they’ve been filled in.
In fact I can count over ten that have, and never known one new one to been made.
So it’s a reet poor do for young ones trying to learn the trade.
Bryan Yorke 7th September 2012.

Below is some work carried out by Peter Gidley (received 19th March 2014)
 Swinnel Brook  2013   
I read the article about Swinnel Brook in the 19th and early 20th centuries, on the Haslingden Old and New Blog.  For half its length the Swinnel provided water for processing and steam in the cotton mills before meandering through open countryside.  I decided to bring the tale up to date and followed the Swinnel from the confluence with Ogden Brook to the hills above Haslingden. 

I started at the confluence, the site of Cams Mill, {1} a 19th century mill no longer in evidence.  Although no sign of the mill can be seen the railway embankment is still present, though not in use.  I walked north upstream alongside the brook.  The brook proceeds for about 80 yds until it is crossed by a small bridge.    In another 50 yds a weir is reached.  By the side of this weir is a picturesque pond {2} which used to be the holding lodge for the Bleach works on Holcombe Road.  At this point a service road and a row of bungalows for Swinnel Brook Park is found running along with the brook.  The brook continues upstream for a further 300 yds until it is crossed by a footbridge leading to Mercer Crescent.  The brook then passes under Grane Road Mill {3} , a 19th century building.  The brook then exits from under the mill for a few yds before passing under Grane Road and the A56 to reappear on Waterside Road {4}.  

The brook the follows Waterside Road, flanked on both sides by modern industrial units to Flip Road.  At the junction of Flip Road and Waterside Road there is the 19th century Spring Vale Mill {5} now used as industrial units.  The Swinnel follows Flip Road before passing under the A56 and reappears on the far side of Bentwood Road. 

Swinnel Brook follows Bentwood Road, either side of which are modern industrial units, until it passes under Todd Hall Road.  At this point a stream enters from the left. This stream comes down under Commerce Street from Swineherd Lowe.  Meanwhile Swinnel Brook flows behind the industrial units on Taylor Court.  Upstream of Taylor Court the Swinnel flows from under the A56. 

    On the far side of the A56 the brook goes past the 19th century Grove Mill {6} .  Upstream of Grove Mill the Swinnel comes from under Lodge Sheet Metals, the site of the lodge which supplied Grove Mill.  After Lodge sheet Metals the brook comes from under PMP Ltd. and then Reelvision.   

Upstream from Reelvision after passing under Station Road, the Swinnel can be seen again at the junction of Station Road and the A56, and at a point 50yds up Station Road as the over flow from a lodge.  The lodge was the water supply for two mills, Albert Mill {7} on the right and Britannia Mill {8} on the left of the lodge.

    Swinnel Brook appears by the side of the A56 and proceeds alongside the A56 for about 200yds before veering away to the right.  After50yds the take-off for the lodge is seen.  In another 50yds the brook disappears underground in a once Council Yard {9} and the reappears in Worsely Park {10} and at a point 60yds up Clough End Road.  In Worsely Park there is a small stream into which runs a more substantial culverted supply from the direction of Acre.

   The water at Clough End Road comes down behind Clough Gardens {11} , a housing development on the site of the 19th century Duckworth Clough Mill.  Beyond the Gardens there is a mill lodge.  The lodge is supplied by two streams, one from Sherfin Side and the other from Cribden Side.  The stream  from Cribden Side splits into two, one from Cribden and the other from the Top of Slate.

Please see the attached map.
The red numbers appear on the map.
Photos of Swinnel Brook can be seen on Flickr at 

Map of Swinnel (P. Gidley) 

                                 Memories from John McGuire on "Swinnel Brook  20th Feb 2016

Hi Bryan,
I have just been re-reading the Swinnel Brook blog and remembering many a childhood fishing expedition .With a jam jar, a fishing net made from my Mam’s stocking on a wire hoop with the
ends of the wire stuck into a length of cane. I began by descending the stone steps in the middle of our terrace then down the bonk, passing between Vine Grove Mill on the right and Grove
Mill lodge on the left. I recall the Swinnel going underground around Bridge St and Pag House Lane, re surfacing between Commercial Mill and Vine Grove Mill then going underground again
to Grove Mill lodge. I then walked down the ginnel between Grove Mill and the railway line which was up an embankment to my right. At the end of the ginnel the path turned right, under the railway bridge
then followed the Swinnel . Carrs village was to the right and ahead was Carr Hall mill where I stopped to have a chat with my Uncle John Berry who worked in the devil hole at the mill.
Leaving Carr Hall mill, I crossed Todd Hall Rd. At that point the Swinnel became a meandering stream at least 4ft wide. This was my fishing spot. I usually caught some stickleback and some other similar fish.
If things were really quiet I collected frog spawn. I then went back via Prinny Hill bridge up to Blackburn Rd turned left and went home.
As this occurred in 1952-3 I will accept any amendments.
Kind regards,  John McGuire