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Wheatfield

This was the second mill to be erected in Rishton and dates from 1860. When built, by Duckworth, Parker & Co, it contained 1,012 looms weaving plains, poplins, twills and saleen's. 294 looms were installed, built principally by R. Booth of Church in 1864.

The Cotton Famine ruined Duckworth and Parker and the shed was leased to Duxbury & Noble, in 1865.

Just 10 years later in 1875, Edward Eccles and Sons acquired the mill, enlarging it in 1880 to fit 700 looms, with 250 loom operatives by 1885. Manufactured goods included printers, mulls, dhooties, fine shirting's and cambric's.

In 1900 it still contained 700 looms, but closed in 1930, again because of the depression. The mill had a good site, being on the canal, next to Rishton mill, therefore near the main road and also near coal shafts.

Advert for Broadloom from 1959 UDC guide.

In 1903 the Wheatfield Manufacturing Company Limited, was formed to take over the mill from Eccles and Sons. Extensions took place during 1905 - 06, increasing the number of looms again to approximately 750.

A fire on the 18th October 1932 caused extensive damage to the property.

The Wheatfield Manufacturing Co., Ltd., ceased operations in 1934 and although there were attempts to form a new company in the August of the same year,  the mill remained idle. In 1936 the premises were converted to felt manufacture, but only 25% of the available floor space was used.

In 1949 Broadloom carpets limited installed 6 carpet looms and ancillary equipment in the remaining 75% of the building. Three men who had decided to form a subsidiary branch to the parent company in Kidderminster founded the Rishton Company. They had travelled north to Rossendale in search of premises suitable and second hand looms. Wheatfield mill suited their requirements as regards site, sound buildings and space for expansion. The felt industry could conceivably be run in conjunction with carpet manufacturing. Also government restrictions meant building permits for new premises were not available. Eventually the felt manufacturers were bought out and Broadloom also acquired the derelict property and site of the adjacent Rishton Mill.

The company manufacture woven Axminister carpets and rugs. The carpets have a surface pile of a mixture of wool and nylon with a backing of jute and cotton. The rugs, which are machine made imitations of the Scandinavian Rya type, have a surface pile of all wool and a backing of jute and cotton.

Dispatch and Loading Bay

The pile yarn was obtained from spinners in Yorkshire, Scotland, and Southern Ireland, the wool being a blend of home grown blends of Australian and New Zealand wools. The Bri-nylon is manufactured was this country.

The jute was obtained from manufacturers in Dundee who purchase their raw materials from India and Pakistan. The cotton was purchased from spinners in Lancashire.

All raw materials arrive by road and the finished products are distributed in this country by road transport. Approximately 20% of the output is usually exported by sea.

Since its formation, the company has gradually expanded. Extensions are in progress and in 1963 a new dispatching depot was added.

The firm now employs approximately 180 people and of these about 100 live in Rishton. Although the type of weaving required was new, the workers very soon proved their adaptability in becoming skilled at the many operations peculiar to the trade. The average age of the workers is 32 to 35 and 5 or 6 school leavers per year find employment and there are through training schemes. Now the firm has full employment and 3 shifts maintain a 24-hour working day.

Wheatfield mills loading depot built in 1963.

On Wednesday 25 March 1998, Police were investigating a 36,000 raid on Gaskell Carpets Ltd.

Thieves broke through gates and hitched up and drove away a trailer loaded with carpets. The trailer was valued at 6,000 and its 70 pieces of carpet at 30,000. They were plain tufted carpet in assorted colours and some were loop pile carpet.

Police said an engine was heard revving and lights were seen at around 10pm on Sunday.

Sales administration manager Steve Green said: "The gates were broken and a tractor unit reversed to the back of the trailer, which had carpets on board. It was then driven off."

In April 2006 the mill closed its gates once more. After a management buyout in 2004, the company shut down, and all 134 employees were made redundant. The looms were sold to a company in China, and other items were destroyed.

Remains:

The name plaque in the wall of the building.

There is a small section of brick built weaving shed with a random stone horizontal engine house attached. The gable has an infilled round-headed window and a stone plaque inscribed "Wheatfield Mill".

To the South is a range of modern single storey sheds erected by Broadloom Carpets Ltd. Two-storey office at main gate.

Associated Housing

Moorside House, Blackburn Road, was built about 1881 and was the home of Edward Eccles. The house stands in its own grounds and has a distinctive steep roof. A number of the terraced cottages in Parker Street were apparently erected in the late 1850's by Henry Parker.

References

Council Minutes

North East Lancashire Town by Marian Sleigh

Industrial Rishton by Kathleen Broderick and M Rothwell