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Home » Todays Accrington » Buildings and Property Slide Show

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Imperial Mill, Blackburn
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Imperial Mill, Blackburn

In 1797 the first purpose-built spinning mill was constructed in Blackburn, and by 1824 there were 24 such mills. By 1870 there were 2.5 million spindles in Blackburn, with 24 spinning mills having been constructed since 1850. Spinning declined in the town between 18701900, as this sector of the cotton industry moved to South Lancashire.[5]
Blackburn was principally a weaving town, and in the 1890s had suffered hard times. In 1890, Blackburn's Chamber of Commerce recognised that the town was over-dependent on the cotton industry, warning of the dangers of "only having one string to their bow in Blackburn".[6] The Imperial Mill, was opened in 1901. It was designed as a large spinning mill using the cheaper to operate ring frame. As it was far closer that the traditional mule mills in Oldham, the local weaving sheds could save on the rail freight charges on their raw material. Again, unusual for Blackburn it was financed by a share issue in the manner of the Oldham Limiteds; previously in Blackburn, new mills had been built only when profit from existing mills had accumulated so the mill could be paid for out right.[7]
The industry produced 8 billion yards of cloth at its peak in 1912. The great war of 1914- 1918 halted the supply of raw cotton, and the British government encouraged its colonies to build mills to spin and weave cotton. Certain towns were harder hit, as they had specialised in forms of cottton that were only required in markets where the link had been severed. The war over, Lancashire never regained its markets. The independent mills were struggling. The Bank of England set up the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in 1929 to attempt to rationalise and save the industry.[8] Imperial Mill, Blackburn was one of 104 mills bought by the LCC, and one of the 53 mills that survived through to 1950. It was taken over be Courtaulds and spinning stopped in 1980. The chimney was demolished but the mill survived, though by 2008 it had been unoccupied for 15 years, the council is trying to see it refurbished. (wiki)

Architecture[edit]

Imperial Mill is a red brick ring mill of dignified proportions, early C20 opened 1901. 3 and 4 storeys, with stringcourses and pilasters. It was designed by Sydney Stott. It has a long rectangular plan, 17 bays long and 5 bays wide, with rows of large close-set 8-paned windows. It was surmounted by two copper covered domed towers.The centrally located engine-house projects at right angle towards the canal, with 6 round-arched windows on the long sides, and 2 Gothic-traceried round-arched windows canal end. There is a staircase tower on north angle, with round-arched grouped windows on top floor. The chimney was free standing.
Power:
The centrally located engine house originally housed a triple expansion engine manufactured in the town by Yates and Thom.
Equipment:
It originally it housed some 70,000 ring spindles, the number was increased in 1906-7. The centrally located engine house originally housed a triple expansion engine manufactured in the town by Yates and Thom. A weaving shed was added in 1907. Spinning ceased in 1980.


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Accyexplorer



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