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Access to the mill was from Well Street, on the East side of Spring Street. The mill was located behind the houses. Richard and Thomas Clayton constructed this mill in 1887. Again it was situated on the canal. When the map started, plains, poplins, and cambric’s were woven. There was later a change to spun silks and fabrics such as nylon and other man made fibres.

Bridgefield Mill from the Canal side.

This was a canal side-weaving shed built in 1879-80 by Jonathan Clayton of Spring Mill, Langho, and worked by his sons, Robert and Thomas. R. &. T. Clayton Ltd., formed in 1890, sold share capital to Critchley, Troop, Nuttall and Co., in 1896.

Two more sheds were added, bringing the total number of looms up to 1,012. The mill was equipped with 420 looms powered by a single cylinder horizontal engine, probably by Clayton & Goodfellow. A second shed of 420 looms driven by a Clayton & Goodfellow horizontal compound tandem engine, 15" diameter high pressure cylinder, 26" low pressure cylinder, 31 6" stroke, 140ihp, was added in 1883-4. A third, smaller shed (built 1885) had increased the number of looms to 1002 by 1888.

Manufactured fabrics comprised fine shirting's, cambric's, jacconettes, sateen's and velvets.

Group in Bridgefield Mill about 1900.

By 1958 there were 680 looms, and 210 employees. R. & T. Clayton Ltd., ceased trading during the 1959 cotton industry re-organisation, the announcement being made on the 12th September that the following February the mill was to close, but a new company, J. & E. Marsden Ltd., was formed by one of the directors to continue operating a section of the mill.

A Drawing of Bridgefield Mill and how it used to look.

The yarn was obtained from spinness in Bolton and usually Sea Island cotton was used but sometimes Egyptian cotton was also made use of. The cloth woven was made up into handkerchiefs clothes, typewriter clothes, poplins and double clothes for plastic materials and nylons and silks for the dress trade, at the finishers.

Transport used to be by rail but it changed during the 1960s to road. After redundancy there were only 240 looms in operation and there was plenty of space therefore if there was any future expansion that was doubtful. Although 200 were employed in the mill, there were only 60 of the employees at the moment, 42 of them were women. Of those employees only 4 lived out of Rishton.

Bridgefield Mill in the background.

The canal was important to the mill, in transporting coal from Rishton colliery but now coal is transported by road.

Weaving finally ended in 1972.

All the buildings have now been demolished and new houses built, named Bridgefield Close, behind Spring Street.

In 1966 Heskdales Engineering took over ownership of the mill, until its demolishtion.

Associated housing

The Turrets, Blackburn Road, is a detached villa built in 1886 by Robert Clayton (the son of Thomas Clayton who built Bridgefield Mill). Features include a crenellated tower above the main door, and a separate stable / coach house sited to the west of the house.

Oakdene, also on Blackburn Road , is a brick built detached dwelling in its own grounds. It was erected by Thomas Clayton, and was later the home of Joseph Chambers of Spring Mill and Daisy Hill Mills.

Residents were advised that the Planning Department of the council, had inspected the site on the 23rd May 2003 and they had agreed that as the site was not easily accessible and not visible by residents, except for the entrance off Shuttleworth street, a section 215 writ would not be issued to the owners. In order to avoid the site being tipped on the owners would be approached and asked to properly fence and gate off the area and to conduct some general tidying up. The residents were advised that the Building Control section of the authority had been in correspondence with the landowners to attempt to resolve problems with the empty properties of 82 and 84 of Spring Street, under the Building Act 1984, Section 77 – dangerous Building/Structure. The residents were advised that the Area Council team would be pursuing this issue.

References

Industrial Rishton by Kathleen Broderick