Photo: kindly shared by Alec Taylor (Please click over to enlarge)
A lovely engraving of Holden Vale Bleach Works (Click over to enlarge)
Kindly shared to us by: Bob
SOME FABULOUS MEMORIES OF THE "OLD BLEACH WORKS" FROM BOB
- Holden Vale Manufacturing Company was closed down in 1997. There was an accident some time before with chlorine bleach in which several workers were injured (I believe some lost their lives). Do you know of any Press references to that accident?
Cleaning the drier
|"The Bleach Works" (Click over to enlarge)|
Photo kindly shared to us by Alec Taylor
by Bob (Ex Pat living down South)
Chris Kirby has kindly shared the following photos with us 14th December 2016 - Please Click over the photo to enlarge
I would be extremely grateful if you would kindly print the following reply to the letter offered up by Messrs. Solomons. I do think that the public have a right to know exactly what that "Pond" was built for.
In reply to the “Letter of the Week” from Messrs Solomon Commercials Ltd. I do feel I need to go over a “historic point” which has been incorrectly outlined in their letter of intent in regards to the history of “The Pond”.
First of all let me assure you that the area you classify as “The Pond” was only built in the early 1990’s, specifically with the intentions for wildlife in mind. It was not built for any other reason whatsoever.
You will probably have noted that one side of “The Pond” is a shallow pebbly scrape, intentionally put there for the purpose of “breeding waders” especially with the main purpose in mind of the rare Schedule 1 “Little Ringed Plover” which had been nesting within close proximity to “the pond” for the previous ten years prior development. “The Pond”, was also set to create suitable habitat for other birds species, small mammals, amphibians, insects, and varied flora, which over the years since the 1990s has become very successful and matured ecologically just has was expected of it. It has been specifically successful in the population growth of the “Common Toad” (with at least 20/30 breeding pairs in 2009 – monitored during Feb/March from their breeding area at the small outlet).
I will try and give a brief summary of how the pond got there in the first place.
It started as a sort of Flash or shallow lake and used in the main for the dumping of industrial waste (a sort of blotting paper – cotton waste product) manufactured by the Holden Vale Manufacturing Company Limited (nicknamed: Bleach Works). The size of the Flash (or Lake) was perhaps six times the size of what you see “as the Pond today”. After the Company ceased trading, it was later considered that this area was very toxic and contaminated with “Caustic” and other dangerous chemical elements.
Lancashire County Council moved in and it was decided that the area needed to be cleaned up of such a hazard. I am sure that this must have been a tremendous cost to the Ratepayer/Taxpayer at the time.
At the start of the clean up, I received a phone call from a friend to say all this heavy equipment had turned up on the site and had started digging and moving soil about.
On hearing this, I plus another individual quickly moved down there and went on site to try and stop the work immediately which we successfully did. The reason for this was that the site held a very rare Schedule 1 protected breeding bird called the Little Ringed Plover and that at that time of this disturbance the birds had chicks, and on our arrival it was quite obvious the parent birds were under much distress.
Immediately the “Lancashire County Council Engineer” was called and it was decided there and then that the proposed work be stopped completely until we where all fully satisfied that the birds had finished breeding and left the site to return to Africa.
When work recommenced several weeks later, it had then been decided that we should first try and preserve the “crust coating” (a sort of thick blotting paper), which was to be piled to one side to be re-instated later, but this never turned out as planned. Also it was decided that the new plans should have a pond built at one side, with a gravelly shallow sloping scrape for the intentions of breeding waders. And that’s the pond you have today (built in the early 1990s).
We where told at the time categorically by the Lancashire County Council Engineer that this site (the new pond area) would be preserved for evermore for the long term benefit of wildlife. And that this had been agreed by all parties concerned, and that the sites future was secure for these purposes.
A Email kindly received from John Sumner on 16th September 2012.
Regarding the "newts" in the lodge at the back of Holden Vale Bleachworks. There was quite a lot of varied wildlife in and around the lodge which was actually a catchment area for waste cotton from the mill.
It is quite possible that they came in with the cotton bales as we used to chase allsorts of weird & wonderful things from the bales.
I was actually on the last shift when it closed down and someone mentioned it was to be preserved as a nature reserve because of the wildlife and also because no-one knew how deep it really was.
A Email kindly received from John Sumner on 17th September 2012.
Re- reading the blog your corespondant says it was nicknamed 'bleachworks'. It was known as Holden Vale Bleachworks as their main business was the bleaching of cotton.
I spent 8yrs there starting in the dryhouse. Then had a spell as a forklift driver working between the dryhouse & sheeting plant moving the finished product.then had a spell as a floater working between the warehouse, devil hole & wet end before finally ending up as chargehand in the sheeting plant operating the cutter & reeler.
Eventually the dryhouse wrapping area was moved into the sheeting plant so they could cut down on staff.
I still have the company tie that Hercules gave to every member of staff when they took over.It would be good to read your article in the rfp as I haven't read it for years.