Daisy Hill Mill, Ashworth Street

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A drawing of Daisy Hill Mill

Constructed in 1870 by James Ashworth of Wellfield Mill, Clayton-le-Moors, the site had the capacity for 500 looms but held only 110 looms by 1880.

It was the only mill to be erected on the canal to the south of the main road. Fine plains and dhotis were woven. At the turn of the century, it had only 150 looms, but by combining spinning and weaving it managed to exist until 1942, when the Second World War forced its closure.

Inside the mill An early shot from inside the mill.

By 1886 it had been taken over by Smithson Brothers of Rochdale.

By 1900 they had installed 103 twill looms, a 1892 horizontal steam engine by Goodfellow and a Yates boiler.

In 1903 the British Northrop Loom Co., Ltd., acquired the mill and installed 250 automatic looms in the shed for experimental purposes.

Daisy Hill Mill in January 2001.

Following a brief period under Ashton Brothers & Co., the mill was sold to W.F. Chambers in 1910, which at this time had 355 Lancashire looms. Their products included dhooties, shirting's and cambric's. They employed about 170 employees.

During September 1932 A strike occurred at the mill, and on the 22nd November John Ashworth J. P. was sentenced to a month in the second division of the courts due to his involvements in the disturbances. This sparked off a violent reaction in the town, and he was released on the 3rd December of the same year, having served part of his sentence.

Cotton production ended in 1960 as a result of the Government re-organisation and the factory has since been used for footwear manufacture.

This was Davidson's limited, manufacturers of shoes and slippers with vulcanised soles. The Rishton Company was a branch of a Blackburn firm that was itself an offshoot of a Rossendale firm. Originally the firm was housed in a smaller, inadequate building in Rishton in 1958 but in 1960 the needs for new premises were essential. Therefore Daisy Hill mill was purchased for expansion purposes.

The extensive renovations and conversions necessary included rewiring, reflooring, reventilating, and redecorating throughout, but the building was structurally sound. The ground floor only was used and should the need for further expansion arise, there was land available.

Part of Daisy Hill mill in May 2001

The raw materials consisted of various fabrics from England, Germany, Holland and Malaysian rubber from Perite Limited, Dunlop, and Kays in sponge form on sheeting. The majority of the slippers are for the home market and only a small percentage is exported. Transport was by road, waste fabric was burnt, but waste rubbish was returned to the manufacturers and a refund received.

Of the 204 employees, 74 were women (including my Mum during the late 60's) and 66 of the total live in Rishton, but there was a little difficulty in finding recruits in the town.

Now closed down, the factory has been split into small units.


Mill owners house in may 2001.

A much altered weaving shed, two-storey warehouse with hipped roof and reduced circular brick chimney.

Associated housing:

The Willows (Willow Grange), a detached brick-built house set in its own grounds, is sited to the south of the mill on Henry Street, and was erected c1880 by James Ashworth.


Industrial Rishton - Kathleen Broderick.

Derek Barden.