Monday, 6 April 2015

PAG HOUSE - A ancient area of Haslingden

If you started at the "Top O'th Town" - adjoining Lower Lane and into Pag House Lane (Spring Lane and Railway Road) and into (Commerce Street) and the area close to Carrs

What was this Pag House token used for?
Would it be a token to gain admission to a place were you stabled your horse?
Would it be a token to gain admission to a place were you rested your weary head?

There are lots of questions and assumptions, but at the moment no answers!
Nobody as yet seems to know just what a "PAG HOUSE" was!

One thing for sure is that The Haslingden Commercial Mill Company was situated just below Station Steps and the road which ran below Station Steps and alongside the Mill was originally called or known as Pag House Lane and later to be called Railway Road. 

I remember reading with interest a report showing a lovely etching (see below) from the late 1800s which is recorded in the old London Gazette which shows a Pag House Mill, which was raviged by fire during the Lancashire Power Loom Riots.  I am sure that this Pag House Mill was originally situated on the land where the BMP Pumps Ltd is situated today, or the Mill which was known for many years as the Rossendale Chain and Block or it could well have been the mill next door which also had one time had a lodge (now covered) but Swinnel Brook still running to the rear of the area.

Also of interest is that Spring Lane (the lane opposite Station Steps) was also originally called Pagg House Lane (see map below) today the more recent owners of the old Haslingden Workingmen's Club Stewards house has been called "Pagg House" (see photo below).

In Grace's guide it also mentions the wording Paghouse against the following Mills eg: Commercial, Holden Vale and Carr Mills. I think there was a Company at that time called The Paghouse Mill Co., Ltd.

This was Pag House Lane which later became known as "Railway Road" because it became the main thoroughfare to the new Railway Station.

This little shop on the corner was a favourite of mine when going home from School (Late 1950s).  He was a old man of approx 80 or maybe 90 years of age that ran it.  He sold the most tasty young lettuces you can ever imagine.  They would only be of a few leaves, but ever so succulent and tasty and he charged 1 1/2p ( three haypence (three halfpennies) - yes thats one penny and half a penny in old money - pre decimalization).  I have never tasted lettuces as good since.  He once showed me how he grew them on his small allottment or garden to the rear of his shop.  Happy Memories! To see a photo of how this area looks today check out the next to the bottom photo

This is another photo which shows Paghouse Lane (Railway Road) from off the Station Steps, showing Commercial Mill on the left with the Haslingden Station in the centre and "Donkey Row" (Bridge Street) to the left of the photo

This really old map from the 1700s shows clearly that there was a Richard Dugdale of Pagghouse Farm and it also mentions "Pagg Bank"  (Photo: from Jackie Ramsbottom, Haslingden Roots)

This is a fabulous old document and besides the interest in "PAGGHOUSE" it also shows reference to Dobson Meadows which later became part of Marsden Square

Here we have a beautiful etching which shows the ruins of Paghouse Mill which was set alight during the Cotton Riots in Lancashire.  Photo: London Gazette - kindly given to me by Jackie at Haslingden Roots)

Michael Mullaney has sent in some really interesting information regarding "Pag House" and he also includes this fabulous old map:

The first map shows the Areas which were called "Paghouse" (Click over map to enlarge)
which according to this map was prior to Spring Lane, and also on the other side of the road and below Station Steps it was also called Pag House Lane before it was called Railway Road.

On the next map down, it shows Lower Pag House Mill which was Cotton and had a large pond. The same mill later became called Grove Mill and is still there today (in part)

(5th May 2015) Michael 's notes:  The map goes back to 1846 and presumably surveyed pre the Railway.  Pag House is an area, house or building along Commerce Street just around the corner of Railway Road.  The map clearly shows buildings but just what were they?

Pag House Mill is shown on the map, and is a Woollen Mill.

If you assume that Blackburn Road is a much later construction then Pag House Lane which ran uninterrupted from Lower Lane down to the Pag House area and dates from much earlier times. 
As we know Pag House lane was later changed to Spring Lane and its lower half changed to Railway Road with the coming of the railway.

Therefore, the name Pag or Pag House is of rather ancient vintage and the meaning lost in time.

Pag House Mill was presumably replaced by the Commercial Mill which was eventually burnt down.

"PAG" could be associated with: Throwing up, vomiting.  Equally: "PAGGED OUT" which means worn out or tired etc.

"PAGGING" is short for "taking the p..." or for "p......" on something

As various woollen processes used urine to work the wool is it possible that this was a house or building were urine was collected for some process?  The name being dropped after the need for urine declined and the town wanted to appear more sophisticated!  Equally could it just be a processes for dealing with rubbish (worn out) woollen waste etc. ?

Michael also sent in the following information (11th May 2015)

Haslingden's history by Major David halstead 1929 - Whilst there is no definition of names he list:

In 1844 there were at least 48 mills in Haslingden, some few of which were obsolete and disused by that date.  Twenty nine of these mills are now closed and the identity of some of the remainder are merged in others which have taken their places.  Those of the number that are now entirely disused include, Catsclough, Lower Mill, Old Pagghouse (a woollen mill, turned by water only, burnt down.  From 1860 to 1870 there were about fourteen (probably more) cotton spinning mills in the district., one of which was Paghouse.  Paghouse Mill was burnt down in 1878. Haslingden Mills in 1844: Area of Swinnel River, Paghouse (woollen) Demolished. Lower Paghouse.

Michael also mentions another interesting fact:
Just a thought.  Another name which seems as strange as Pagghouse is North HAGG. That's the name given to the hill through which they tunnelled to bring the railway line into Haslingden Station and which is in the close proximity to Pagg House.

Could there possibly be some connection? Or could HAGG be a corruption of PAGG? If North Hagg, why no South, East or West Hagg?


(5th May 2015) Marie Ives has also kindly contributed with some writings of the late Major David Halstead 1793 - Robert Fell and George Maxwell, Cotton Spinners.  Sale of Mill on April 28th.  Remainder of lease of 7 years (4 unexpired) of Factory and fall of Water at PAGHOUSE.  Also in 1844 Swinnel Brook provided water for 8 mills including PAGHOUSE (Woollen) unoccuplied or demolished and LOWER PAGHOUSE.


(9th May 2015) John Simpson kindly informs me that his earliest record from 1657 shows the name spelt as "PAGGEHOWSE"


The following information does give lots of information on The Paghouse Mills. It is with many thanks to Mike Rothwell for allowing us to use the information from his book entitled: Industrial Heritage A guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Haslingden and Helmshore. Also thanks to Jackie Ramsbottom of Haslingden Roots for supplying scans etc.

The Paghouse Mills

The original site at Paghouse was probably a fulling mill built in 1748 by Ralph Holden.  In 1773 the buildings consisted of a factory with two pair of stocks, dye house, frizing and perching mills and narrow tenters.
In 1790, the property (or part of it), then in the possession of John Walwork, was leased by Robert Fell and George Maxwell, cotton spinners, who added a three storey block based on Richard Arkwright's design.
Their tenure was short, and in 1793 the mill was assigned to creditors.  Its remaining lease was taken by Fieldens of Blackburn, but in 1797, when the factory was offered for sale, it was occupied by William Birtwistle.
By this date there seem to have been two main buildings, at Paghouse and Lower Paghouse.  It is not clear where the cotton spinning factory was located, although the large mill pond, shown on various maps, suggest it was at the latter site.

Paghouse Woollen Mill (SD78522375)

In 1798, the owners were Taylor & Greenwood and their tenant, Widow Ashworth.  Members of her family used the buildings for woollen carding, fulling and dyeing until the late 1830s.
During 1837, the mill, worked by Thomas Holden, fuller, and two dyers, was for sale with a 21" diameter x 4' broad water-wheel.
It was later taken over by Thomas Cooper who employed a workforce of 32 in 1851.
Three years later, Cooper agreed to sell to the Haslingden Commercial Company, but before they took possession the mill was destroyed by fire.

REMAINS: See Commercial Mill (below).  Water from Swinnel Brook was supplied from a lengthy goit to the North, and drained sections can be seen near Albert Mill.

Lower Paghouse Mill (SD78372360)

Possibly the "large and newly erected" mill or engine house with "two engines" surrendered to John Haworth of Duckworth Clough in 1797.  In two directories of the 1820s, Haworth is listed as a cotton spinner at Lower Paghouse Mill.
In 1850, Marsden Hargreaves was tenant, and of a smaller building used as a weaving shop.
Textile manufacture proper had ceased by about 1861, and part of the building was used by William and Thomas Swire for shuttle making.  Whitaker Brothers later occupied the mill for cotton storage, hard waste breaking and making textile accessories.  After 1878 the site was redeveloped as a weaving shed.

REMAINS: See Grove Mill (below)

Vine Grove Mill, Paghouse  (SD78482359)

A three storey spinning mill, with attic, built in 1850 by a former handloom manufacturer, Thomas Tattersall, on land which previously formed part of the Paghouse Lower Mill Reservoir.
Tattersall employed 100 workers and used the mill for hard waste spinning and weaving.  He was noted for paying with "ready money" and reportedly kept few accounts.
In 1870 when Tattersall retired, his machinery consisted of hard waste breakers, a willow, 10 carding engines, 1200 hand mule and 1400 self acting mule spindles, and 24 looms, some by Rothwell Brothers.  Power was furnished by a 16 nhp condensing engine and an egg ended boiler, both probably by Simpson, Bland and Haworth.
John Warburton of Holden House purchased the property and leased it to Thomas Warburton junior.  A new horizontal engine, 12" plus 18" cylinders was installed.
Warburton moved to Spring Vale in the early 1880s, and the mill was briefly worked by Barnes and Heap, weavers of twills and sheetings.  In 1887 Parkinson and Hargreaves of Cat Clough took over.  2500 spindles and 47 looms, employing around 50 workers, were used by the partnership.  After the death of John Parkinson, the Vine Grove Mill Company Limited was formed to continue the business.
The mill was gutted by fire in 1895, although 44 looms in the basement were saved.  Reconstruction increased spindles and looms to 3200 and 87 respectively.
In 1902 Alexander Worsley and Sons Limited, of Ducworth Clough, purchased the mill and the nearby ruins of Whitakers Factory.
About 1912 Alex, eldest son of Henry Worsley, begain his own separate concern, trading as the Vine Grove Mill Company.  By the early 1920s he was using 3200 condenser mule spindles and 110 looms to weave waste twills and plains.
Control reverted to the family firm in 1928, and Alex Worsley seems to have had little further active connection with the business.
The mill closed in 1941 as a result of the wartime contraction scheme, and was not reopened following the end of hostilities.  About 1949 parts of the mill were leased to the Rossendale Chain and Block Company and Vine Fabric Printers Limited who later moved to Vale Mill.  Rossendale Chain and Block remain at the site, which is also partly occupied by an engineering supplies company.

three storey building with a single span, slate roof.  The walls have been covered with square section steel cladding, and little is visible of the original structure.

Commercial Mill, Paghouse (SD78522375)

Haslingden's first co-operative mill built and run by the Haslingden Commercial Company Limited.

The firm, registered in August 1854, purchased Thomas Cooper's woollen mill but it was unfortunately wrecked by fire before manufacturing began.
However the buildings were rebuilt or restored in 1855, and within two years 100 were employed in both spinning and weaving.
Spinning was given up around 1870 and in 1873-74 a weaving shed for about 520 looms, designed by Maxwell and Tuke, was erected.  A compound tandem engine 20" plus 34" x c5' stroke, possibly by Furnevall and Company was installed around this time. 
The Commercial Company's activities grew significantly in the 1890s, when it was working 1735 looms at Holden Vale, Carr and Commercial Mills.  In these years grey cloth, inclujding shirtings and jacconettes, was produced for export to India and beyond.  By the twentieth century bandage cloth and surgical dressings had been added to the output.
George Henry Hindle was secretary and manager for many years until he retired in 1916.  his son, Walter was a partner of Hindle, Warburton and Company, Syke Mill.  Another son, George succeeded his father at Commercial Mill, whilst a third, John was killed on the Somme in 1916 where he was serving with the Accrington Pals.  A daughter married Tom Worsley of Nicholas Worsley Limited.
After the Second World War only Commercial Mill was left in operation.  Looms were reduced from 675 in the 1950s to around 350 in 1963.  Weaving ended five years later and in 1971 the derelict buildings were destroyed by fire.
Although there were various schemes to build housing on the site it was not until the early 1980s that the ruins were finally cleared.

REMAINS: the site of the mill is occupied by the moder factory of Reelvision.  A length of shed wall, constructed from par point masonry, can be seen on Commerce Street, and along the southern perimeter of the site. 

Paghouse New Mill (SD78442368)

Erected on the partially drained Lower Paghouse Reservoir in 1861 by the sons of John Whitaker, Grane Road Mill.
In addition to hard waste spinning and weaving, the firm made mule scavengers and traded as wool staplers.
During 1868 the partnership was dissolved with Lawrence Whitaker taking the wool stapling business, whilst his brothers continued cotton spinning and manufacturing.
The Paghouse Mill Company Limited was formed in 1877, with Whitaker Brothers receiving a large shareholding.
About nine months later the mill was completely devastated by fire, initially thought to be arson.
No restoration took place, and the burnt out ruins survived until 1918.

Three single storey bays remain from the mill.  The larger has a hipped roof and quoins and may have been a blowing room or cotton store.  A modern factory, occupied by Lodge Sheet metal Fabricators has been added along the South West perimeter.  The main, flat site of Whitakers factory is used for storage.

Grove Mill, Paghouse (SD78372360)

After the fire of 1878, the Paghouse Mill Company Limited used the resulting insurance payment to erect a weaving shed at Lower Paghouse Mill powered by a horizontal tandem, 12" plus 18" cylinders.  The company was not particularly successful, and paid only one dividend during its existence.  Although a reconstruction of capital was made in 1891, this failed to prevent liquidation the year after.
The mill was purchased by a firm of Blackburn auctioneers and leased to the Hutch Bank Manufacturing Company Limited.
In 1895, a 50 nhp, McNaught beam engine (to Tattersalls design) by John Petrie was installed in a newly built engine house, and powered the mill until 1959.
Hargreaves Tomlinson was managing director during the first part of the twentieth century, and after his death in 1934, members of his family were associated with the mill until its closure.
Fabrics manufactured included bag, book, insulating surgical cloth, gause, cambrics and calico.  After World War Two, looms were reduced to about 340, employing about 70 workers.  The company decided to close under the Cotton Industry Act and wove out in December, 1959.  Thereafter the buildings were used for non textile purposes.


This is a photo I took back in 2003 of the area below Station Steps which was originally Pag House Lane which later became Railway Road. From this photo it is hard to imagine there was the Mill to the left hand side and the row of terraced houses to the right hand side. You can see how it used to look before in the top two photos.

And here is another photo I took in 2003 of the old Haslingden Workingmen's Club Stewards house which has been named "Pagg House" and is situated on Pag House Lane which in more recent times has been known as "Spring Lane".

I would also be most grateful if there are others out there as well who can explain what the Pag House was and what was meant by it and obviously give any further reference to it. Thanks.