Bailey Mill, Delph, Oldham



Date Visited: August 2007

Sat between the Pennine moorland and the old milltown of Oldham, the Saddleworth areas was home to several mills in its various villages. Bailey Mill in Delph was one of the larger mills in the Saddleworth area and was run by Mallalieu's before going into administration in 1996. They came out of administration when they were bought by another Delph weaving company, Gledhills. However, in doing so, most of the business was transferred to Valley Mill, just up the road. Bailey Mill remained in use until about January 2000.

I was fortunate to visit the day after the local metal thieves had visited. The front door was lying on the mill yard cobbles and I took a wander in. Working my way down from the top floor, I found that, unlike many empty mills, Bailey Mill, still had remnants of it's past, with various old looms and other machinery still in place around the mill. Despite being empty for several years the mill hadn’t suffered too much vandalism and made for an interesting explore.

On the way out I realised that I'd actually entered the mill on the first floor and followed a darkened staircase down into the pitch black ground floor. I'd left my big MagLite in the car as I didn’t think I’d need it, so I had only a small 4 LED torch in my bag to use which I came to regret when I stumbled across 3 carding engines and a blender. After debating whether to return to the car for my big torch, I erred on the side of caution in case I got spotted and proceeded to light paint with the small torch – not ideal but the results aren’t too bad.

Sadly, after several years of increasing decay, the owners decided that demolition was the only option. This was met with some local opposition though. However, these problems went away when the mill was burnt down by a 16 year old arsonist in June 2016. here.

Pictures are included in my Shadows of The North book

The following historical information was kindly supplied by Peter Fox, Curator of the Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery.

BAILEY MILL, Delph CHRONOLOGY

07/07/1860 - DAMAGE TO BELL INN ARCHWAY FOLLOWING REMOVAL OF BOILER FROM MILL .....the cotton mill at New Delph belonging to James Lees, esq. of Delph Lodge, has been occupied by his son-in-law, after standing still for a number of years it was found necessary to replace the old one .....the old one was sold to the Old Wire Mill, Brighouse .....in consequence of its removal there the archway to the Bell Inn, New Delph has received considerable damage. The damage will be considerable, as in all probability the whole of the arch will have to be rebuilt. Ref-OC

07/02/1880 - BAILEY MILLS - GOOD SIGNS IN LOCAL TRADE On Monday a portion of the extensive mills belonging to D. & H. Mallalieu Bros, New Delph, commenced working overtime, the hands not leaving until 7.30. Ref-STD 22/03/1884 - NEW STEAM BOILER COUPLED. Ref-MSR

25/10/1884 - FIRE AT BAILEY MILLS, LOSS ESTIMATED £3,000. Ref-MSR

25/10/1884 - ADVERT : D & H MALLALIEU TENDER THEIR SINCERE THANKS TO THEIR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS WHO ASSISTED IN EXTINGUISHING THE FIRE AT THEIR MILL ON SATURDAY LAST. Ref-MSR

05/07/1890 - SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO WORKER AT BAILEY MILL. Ref-STD/Pg7

03/08/1895 - THREATENED WEAVERS STRIKE AT BAILEY MILL, DELPH .....According to information supplied too us by the officials of the Weavers Union it seems that the length of a flannel piece was formerly 56 yards long and the firm in some instances are now making them 56 yards long and the weavers say this is equivalent to a very serious reduction in wages. On the other hand the firm maintain that they have paid more than the average prices and that the change is necessary to enable them to meet their competitors in the market. The weavers reply to this by saying that the proposed new condition will bring the wages down considerably below the average of that district. Ref-MSR

10/08/1895 - THE WEAVERS STRIKE AT NEW DELPH - LIVELY SCENES. MSR

31/08/1895 - DISPUTE STILL UNSETTLED. Ref-MSR

14/09/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE .....Seems as far from settlement as ever. Ref-MSR

21/09/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE - STIRRING SCENES. Ref-MSR

29/09/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE - CHARGE OF POLICE - PUBLIC PROTEST, ENQUIRY DEMANDED. Ref-MSR

12/10/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE - ANOTHER COLLISION BETWEEN THE CROWD AND THE POLICE. Ref-MSR
19/10/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE - SEVERAL OLD FAMILIES LEFT IN THE DISTRICT .....and found work elsewhere as a result of the strike. Others have also got fresh employment and in this way the demands upon the funds of the Weavers Union have been much lessened. To this and the strong support given by the members of the Weavers Association attribute their good financial position at the present moment. Ref-MSR

19/10/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE - POLICE CONDEMNED AND COMMENDED, VARIETY OF OPINIONS AT DELPH STRIKE. Ref-MSR

26/10/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE - SEQUAL TO THE TROMBONE FUNERAL. MSR

09/11/1895 - WEAVERS STRIKE CONTINUES. Ref-MSR

24/07/1897 - PROSECUTION ATTEMPTED AGAINST D & H MALLALIEU FOR POLLUTING RIVERS. Ref-OC

09/07/1898 - CO-OP DIRECTORS VISIT CAUSES STIR IN AREA .....The mills have now been standing for over four months and any sign of re-opening under any auspices would be heartily welcomed by the people of the village. As most of the inhabitants are co-operators and understand the principles and aims of the movement. Ref-MSR

17/09/1906 - SALE OF BANKFIELD / FOZARDS / HUSTEADS The sale was one that had been looked forward upon with considerable interest by the majority of the inhabitants of the township. The property put up for auction comprised that magnificent edifice known as Bankfield mill, together with the Fozzards and Husteads mills, situate at Dobcross.....He said that the mill had been built almost regardless of expense and during the 40 years of existence had given employment to thousands. The building had been built in a speculative mood and contained no deflection from the foundation to the roof. were he to be successful in effecting a sale then once more the hum of the engines and machinery would resound in that locality, bringing not only employment for a considerable number of people, but at the same time improving the prospects of the local tradesmen. There was also the extra privilege of a railway station which would prove of great advantage to the possible purchaser. He then put the lot on the market. After a little hesitation on the part of the company present an offer of œ3,000 was made. This amount steadily rose by hundreds till the climax was reached at œ4,900 when Messrs Sykes and Campinot were declared the purchasers. Two other lots were declared the purchasers. Two other lots were also offered but receiving no bids the auctioneer withdrew them. Ref-MSR ADVERT - D & H MALLALIEU TENDER THEIR SINCERE THANKS To their friends and neighbours who assisted in extinguishing the fire at their mill on Saturday. Ref-MSR MISCELLANEOUS 1 - "MALLALEU WOOLLEN FIRM CELEBRATES ITS CENTENARY" See article OLDHAM WEEKEND CHRONICLE

21/07/1950 2. – SADDLEWORTH OFFICIAL GUIDE c1950 One of the oldest established woollen manufacturers in Saddleworth is the firm of D. & H. Mallalieu Limited, whose present factory, situated in Delph, was built in 1866. Concentrating at first on the manufacture of shirtings, of various kinds, the firm has developed considerably with the passing of the years and now makes flannels for trouserings and skirts, Saxony fancy flannels, tartan’s for women’s wear and similar lightweight woollen goods. The latest additions to the range of products from this factory are woollen hat forms for the hatting trade. As with most firms nowadays a large amount of the output – in fact about 75% - finds its way to the market abroad, North America and other hard currency countries being the best customers. Ref –Saddleworth Urban District Handbook – Official Saddleworth Guide – c1950 FILE PRINTED