The lost mills of Clayton le Moors looks at one long lost mill and two that are still in use today. Notably, Clayton le Moors once had an extensive range of mills, sadly Canal Mills is long gone. However, Victoria mill and fern mill are still in use today.
The lost mills of Clayton Le Moors,Canal Mills.
The canal mills site has a confusing history, It has been known as Henfield Mill, Enfield Mill, Canal Mills and Enfield soap works! Various mill buildings ran along the canal to Enfield wharf. Many sources conflate, the corn mill with the soap works and Canal Mills, which were three separate buildings!
Perhaps the best know company was the Canal Mills Company LTD.
Originally, the first mill on the site was a corn mill founded in 1841. Later a large textile mill was built, with 39.000 spindles. That was in 1891. Eventually, it became a soap factory.
The East Lancashire Soap Company
In 1922 The East Lancashire soap company took over the building. The address is listed as Enfield Soap Works in the 1959 Directory, not Canal Mills.
The main building was demolished in 1968. However, the Corn Mill house still survives. It is now used as a special events location. In fact, Mill street and Mill entrance are still the names in use, for the surviving lanes. Curiously, the site has not been redeveloped.
The factory became famous for Dr Lovelace’s floating soap, which does not get lost in the bath!
There is one surviving building on the site. Indeed, Mill house is now used as a Freemason hall and events location. It was built in 1875 as the residence of Arthur Appleby, one of the sons of the mill owner. The corn mill closed in 1920.
Below is a Canal Mills Debenture from 1904.
Victoria (Empress) mill
Off Victoria street, in Clayton le Moors, lies Victoria mill. Consequently, In 1891 Victoria (Empress) mill was listed as having 540 looms. Notably, the company was known as Victoria Mill co LTD. Confusingly, there was also a Victoria mill in Accrington. Indeed, The Accrington mill was used by several different manufacturers.
Empress mill is now used by Total pipeline systems. It was previously a carpet manufacturer. The building was valued at £458,000 in 2019 and is much bigger than the frontage would suggest.
Fern Mill now R Briggs
Fern mill is now owned by R Briggs, metal fabricators. In 1891, the Fern Manufacturing Company is listed as having 430 looms, manufacturing shirtings and printed material. They were also known for manufacturing mandapollans, a type of stiff calico. These were used in the Dutch East Indies for wrapping corpses!
There are several modern extensions to the original mill building.