Edenwood Mill

Date Visited: July 2008

Built in 1801 Edenwood mill had been empty since 2001. In the early 1900’s, the mill was extended by the addition of a large brick built factory adjacent to the original stone mill. The complex was developed as a dyeing facility for Turnbull and Stockdale Limited, to complement their weaving, bleaching, printing and distribution activities.

In 1969, the mill was owned by Edward Turnbull's who specialised in block and screen printing. It was thought to be the only place in Europe where hand-block printing was done. The material was laid on a 50 metre table, and each individual block is used for one colour only and each one put on separately. Sometimes over two hundred blocks were used to print one pattern. The process was unique to the works and because the cloth took so long to print it was very expensive.

I first visited this mill in September 2007, but could not find a way in. Mindful of its location - rural, but not too far away from the nearby town of Ramsbottom - I knew it wouldn't remain sealed up for too long, so I made a mental note to keep an eye on it the next time I was in the vicinity. I found myself in the area again ten months later, and it had been bust open and wrecked. Talk about taking your eye off the ball!

Like most of my mill explores, the mill was largely empty other than a couple of bits of scrap machinery. A large hole in the middle of a largely rotten wooden floor filled me with unease – the mill had been secure not that long ago, and yet thieves and vandals had started stealing and smashing roof tiles thus allowing damp to affect the mill.

At the time of writing, the mill, remains empty and in an increasingly ruinous state. Various plans have been proposed for redevelopment, but with an unpredictable property market, these have to date been unrealised. Planning permission was granted for refurbishment into 25 luxury apartments which would mean the mill chimney and part of the red brick buildings being demolished. However, this has since expired and the condition of the mill continues to worsen.