Victoria Mill, Parker Street

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A Drawing of Victoria Mill Long since Demolished
Visible Image - A Drawing of Victoria Mill, Long since Demolished (Mike Rothwell)
Hidden Image - The workers from Victoria Mill.

Victoria Mill was a large brick-built spinning mill and weaving shed locally known as the "Bacup Co-op".

Constructed in 1861-63 by the Rishton Victoria Cotton Mill Ltd. Alongside the canal, this was a public company formed by six residents of Bacup, and George Clarke of Norden Brickworks.

It was the only mill built in Rishton for both spinning and weaving although one other mill introduced spinning early in the 20th century in order to exist, the other being Daisy Hill Mill

Mr. Robert Carr Bateson was head manager, and some time after Mr. Cyril Scaife was appointed to that position. He was an excellent violin player, and was leader at an orchestral concert (Mr. Harry Halstead pled the Oboe) that was held in Harwood Road school in the early 1880's.

Victoria Mill, Rishton's biggest.
Visible Image - Victoria Mill, Rishton's biggest.Mill
Hidden Image - Newer Mill building taken from Bridgefield Close in July 2001.

Additions were made to the mill in 1872-3 and in 1877. A cotton warehouse was erected on the west bank of the canal , a storage depot was built for the mill, for bulk raw cotton coming from Liverpool. It was attached to the mill by a covered bridge across the canal.

Victoria Mill 1906
Victoria Mill in 1906.

Unlike mills where just weaving was carried out, it has more than one storey; One for spinning, one for weaving. There were 1,200 spindles and looms in operation and calico, sheeting’s, sailcloth and twills were spun and woven.

The mill contained a 900 horse power McNaughted double beam engine, horizontal engine, six Lancashire boilers, 60,000 mule spindles and 1074 looms by 1880, which also employed about 750 people.

A Drawing of the Mills Loading bay across the canal.
Visible Image - A Drawing of the Mills Loading bay across the canal.
Hidden Image - A view of the mill from the top of Wilpshire Road.

In 1911 a weaving shed for 108 electrically operated sheeting looms was added.

On November 18th 1925, a new Steam turbine was fitted in the mill.

Major renewal of the plant took place after the First World War and in 1925 a 1700 blip turbine and electricity plant by W. H. Allen & Sons, Bedford, and the Electrical, Construction Co., Ltd., replaced the original steam engine.

10,220 mule spindles, 26,720 ring spindles, 304 sheeting looms and 780 calico looms were in presence during the late 1920's producing 16s/144s weft, 16s/32s twist, shirting's, drills, bleaching cloth, poplins, sheeting, and cambric's, And employed 600 operatives.

 From the Otago Daily Times , Issue 13737, 30 October 1906, Page 6

The Rishton Victoria Cotton Mill Ltd., went into voluntary liquidation in 1931 and the buildings were sold to Joseph Hoyle & Sons Ltd., of Bacup. Spinning ceased following the sale and the top two floors of the mill were eventually removed.

In 1956 the mill was down to 250 looms, and about 100 employees. The mill finally closed on 22nd August 1959, along with 3 other mills in the district owned by Joseph Hoyle & Sons Ltd., during the Government re-organisation and increased competition, and was later demolished.

A visit by the children of SS Peter and Pauls to the mill.
Visible Image - A visit by the children of SS Peter and Pauls school to the mill.
Hidden Image - The weaving shed in celebratory mood, possibly for the coronation in 1937.

On Wednesday 27 December 1995, SCAPA Mouldings was the latest East Lancashire firm to achieve the Investors in People standard. The firm, a member of the Blackburn-based Scapa Group, had two plants in Rishton and County Durham employing more than 80 staff. ELTEC chief executive Mark Price presented the Investor in People plaque to Frank McManus, quality manager at Rishton; Mark Gilholme, plant manager at Durham; and managing director Ian Chew, while employees looked on.


Until 1977 the concrete floor of the mill was visible, and used by local children by cycling on. A modern iron-clad/asbestos factory of Scapa Mouldings Ltd., was built on site during 1977. Sluice gates for the boiler house can be seen along the side of the canal.

Cotton Warehouse sited on the west bank of the canal, two and three storey, gable ends facing canal have loading doors and remains of hoist. The building is constructed of par point sandstone with quoins, round-headed door at western gable. Wharf to south of building. The warehouse was connected to the main mill by an enclosed overhead passage. All of this was replaced by housing during the mid nineties.

Martha the engine
Visible Image - F Turner in 1927 with Martha the engine.
Hidden Image - The end of the 1st World War in the mill.

F BRIGGS LIMITED, an engineering firm, who specialise in renovating textile machinery, were using the building up till its demolition in the mid 80s.

The building was only leased temporarily and used for storage purposes therefore the structural instability of the building and the dark drab atmosphere is of little consequence. However the 6 men who were employed there, one of whom lives in Rishton think differently. The head office and machine shop were in Accrington.

On the Monday 3rd February 1997, Bosses took over two Scapa mills.

TWO of East Lancashire largest employers were sold off in a £19 million deal. Perseverance Mills of Padiham and Scapa Mouldings of Rishton, which together employed more than 500 people, have been sold to a management buy-in team by Scapa Group. The two firms will be combined under the name of Padiham Group Limited in the deal backed by the Bank of Scotland and the venture capital group 3i.

Perseverance manufactures lightweight nylon for printer ribbons, parachute cloth and clothing fabrics at Albion Mill, Padiham. Scapa Moulding manufactures expanded polystyrene mouldings used in packaging.

"This disposal confirms Scapa's strategy of concentrating on its clearly identified core businesses," said Peter James, chief executive of Scapa's industrial materials division. These two companies were not within the strategic core and we are pleased to have identified a buy-in team, who will take these two businesses forward under the name of Padiham Group Limited.".

The two companies had operating profits of £2.9 million for the year ending March 31 1996.

By Tuesday 07 July 1998 the company had doubled the number of its factories in two months. Protection Packaging bought Otford Specialist Foams based in Abercarn, South Wales. Otford employed 80 staff and had a turnover of £5 million a year. It was the second acquisition by Rishton-based Protection Packaging. In April 1998, it had bought Arcol, a Glasgow based polystyrene firm from Waddington plc. This deal took Protection Packaging's annual turnover to almost £25 million from four sites.

"The purchase of Otford widens the company's geographical reach, significantly expands its market share and gives it access to new products and markets," said Keith Chapman, chief executive. "It represents an important milestone in our objective to make Protection Packaging the number one UK supplier in its chosen areas of expertise."

The firm manufactures polystyrene moulded packaging for the electronics, electrical, household appliances and horticultural industries. Protection Packaging is part of the Padiham Group, which also owns Perseverance Mills in Blackburn and Padiham, employing more than 500 people.

On the 16th August 2006, the largest chimney in Rishton was removed. Although not built in the traditional manner of red brick, this vast stainless steel chimney was replaced for a smaller version.

Associated Housing

Victoria Villas, Parker Street, built during the 1860's for officials of the company. Two dwellings, both brick built with round-headed windows, stone gutters and cornices.

Mill Celebrations
Two pictures from within the Mill, both celebrating. Possibly from the 1937 Coronation.

Terraced houses in Victoria Street (1-21, 6-20) and Company Street (1-17, 2-20) were erected during the 1860's to house mill operatives.

By the 1880's the Rishton Victoria Cotton Mill also owned houses in Hermitage Street (26-32, 42-48) and in Burton (34-38), Henry (4-8) and George Street.

Christmas 2020 saw the mill close down for good. The parent company to Scapa Mouldings had been taken over, and the Rishton deemed of no use.

By mid-March 2021 demolition had started on the mill, to make way for new houses.


Industrial Rishton by Kathleen Broderick and M Rothwell.

Parish Church and School Jubilee Year 1927 by Carlton Noble.

Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 27th December 1995, Tuesday 7th July 1998.

Mill advert from the official guide to Rishton 1959.