York Mill, Cliffe Street, Rishton.

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A Drawing of the Entrance to York Mill.
Visible Image - Drawing of York Mill Entrance.
Hidden Image - York mill entrance in February 2001.

Brick built weaving mill constructed in 1910 by James Boardman and J. W. Baron, cotton manufacturers of Great Harwood and Clayton-le-Moors.

The first sod was cut in April 1910 and cotton was cloth was being made by September, this was due to a bet by George Taylor who leased the mill, and said he would be weaving within six months. To do this he installed a donkey engine!!!

York Mill under Construction in 1910. York Mill under Construction in 1910.

York Mill is something of a landmark, being made of Accrington brick so contrasting with the grey grit stone of the surrounding terrace houses. When first built the mill had 700 looms and employed 2,300 people. It was the first cotton mill in Rishton to be built away from the canal. For its water supply, it had a lodge that has now been filled. The mill wove cambric's, tracing cloths, sateen's, poplins, and cambric's.

The site was leased to the York Mill Co., Ltd., of Great Harwood, and consisted of 760 Liveseys looms.

Pet Foods
Visible Image - Magnet Pet Foods Exhibition van from the 1980's.
Hidden Image - A range of their products.

A high and low pressure cross compound horizontal engine (rope drive) was manufactured by Clayton and Goodfellow, with a 500hp engine.

The prosperity of York mill was short lived and redundancy began in 1920. A recession of 1956 was followed by the closure of the mill.

On the 2nd October 1935, the mill was sold by auction.

Tapers in York Mill.

In 1935 the company employed 400 people, which dropped to 260-270 during 1950's. Weaving ended in 1959 with the loss of 200 jobs, and in 1960 Birtwistle & Fielding Ltd, the owners of the mill, sold the premises to the Blackburn firm of Walsh’s pet foods, who obtained ownership in 1963, owned it. There were no suitable premises available in Blackburn so the firm came to Rishton.

The mill was single storey and suitable for the installation of heavy machinery, required to make pet foods ranging from canary seeds to dog food and biscuits.

After expansion, the number of employees has risen from 13 to 50, 40 of whom are women. Unfortunately further expansion seems impossible because of the limitations of the present site.

Weaving in York Mill.

On the 20th November 1952, The Council Clerk reported that the mill management had raised with him the question of additional means of escape in case of fire which had been recommended to the Mill Company before a certificate can be issued by the Council, and had requested a further inspection of their premises before proceeding with some of the work. It was Resolved, That Councillors Hoyle and Banks with the Surveyor and the Fire Prevention Officer of the Lancashire County Fire Brigade make an inspection of the premises.

Weaving and winding room at York Mill.

All goods were transported by road, both raw materials being brought to the mill and finished products.

Magnet pet foods took over the running of the mill for many years, but eventually moved on. As of today, smaller companies, the most noticeable of which is Bevlan, who deal in office furniture, are using the mill. They currently employ approximately 15 people.


Facade formed by two and three storey buildings incorporating former engine house with round-headed doorway, boiler house, winding and warehouse departments and large water tower. Mill yard to the front with offices along boundary wall. Single storey weaving shed to rear, lights run east-west and face north. Mainly Accrington brick construction, details on facade include dentils and corbels, quoined loading bay surround and metal lintel with date of 1910.

Here’s a picture of the mill during the celebrations of the Coronation in 1953.

Queens Decoration

After the weaving ended.


Industrial Rishton by Kathleen Broderick

Council Minutes