Rochdale Road

Inchfield Bottom


Map Ref. SD934220


Known occupiers


No building on site on Walsden map




ORMEROD Abraham & Bros.

1905 - 1914


1914 - 1930

HOYLE Joshua H. Ltd.

1930 - ???

BARKER William Albion


Neuss Hesslein Kempton Ltd. (NEHESCO)


COCKCROFT John & Sons Ltd.


WALKER DUGDALE Ltd., textile accessories




INCHFIELD BEAMERS Ltd., rear of mill


Illustrated history


The middle of the 1800's saw a great expansion in the cotton manufacturing industry, with many new firms and partnerships forming to build newer and bigger mills. Hollins Mill was one of these.

About 1847, John Haigh, who was a manager for the Fielden Brothers at STONESWOOD BOTTOM MILL , formed a partnership with Messrs. Gaukroger of Higher Lumb Mill, near Hebden Bridge. They leased a sizeable area of land in Walsden at Hollins Bottom from William Greenwood of Stones and John Crossley of Scaitcliffe.

Hollins Mill


The land was between the Todmorden to Rochdale Turnpike Road and the canal towpath, and included the river. They began to clear and prepare the land ready to erect a mill and other industrial units, and in connection with this, they started to divert the course of the river. There were already other mills in the vicinity reliant on the river, and the owners of nearby INCHFIELD MILL complained that the proposed new course would seriously damage their mill, possibly even cause flooding. However, before things went to the law to be settled, John Haigh died, and the Gaukrogers pulled out. Not a stone was laid at this point. The land lay as it was for a couple of years before Abraham Ormerod and his brothers purchased the lease about 1856.


Stoneswood House, Dulesgate

The Ormerod brothers, Abraham, Peter and William, also owned the large mills at GORPLEY, RIDGEFOOT, and later acquired ALMA MILL. They were born and brought up at Todmorden Edge Farm before moving with their parents to the lovely Stoneswood House on Dulesgate.

Abraham, the oldest, lived most of his married life at Ridgefoot House, a villa he built next to Ridgefoot Mill in Todmorden. William, the middle brother, was never married. He continued to live in the parental home at Stoneswood House with his unmarried sister Mary and a servant.

Peter, the baby of the family, married Mary Dawson, one of his employees at Gorpley Mill. It is said that it was "love at first sight" for the pair of them. They married in March 1851 and at first, they lived at Stoneswood House, which is where their four children were born. They later moved to Pex House on Dobroyd Road with sons William and Abraham, and daughters Alice and Sarah, and all four of these children were married from there.

Mrs. Mary (Dawson) Ormerod


Hollins Mill went up quickly. It was a large spinning mill of four storeys, housing 30,000 spindles, plus carding and scutching facilities, and a 600-loom weaving shed. . There was a pair of compound beam condensing engines of 800hp with 4 steel Lancashire double-flue boilers with Galloway tubes, each 7 feet diameter and 27 feet long. The chimney was 75 yards high. Work started in September 1858 and Peter Ormerod took responsibility for mill.


Peter Ormerod

Peter was a member of Todmorden LOCAL BOARD from its inception in 1861 until his death in 1884, and frequently clashed with John and Joshua Fielden (Fielden Brothers, also on the Board). He was the leader of those on the Board opposed to significant expenditure on improvements to the town. Local antiquarian and writer, John Travis, acknowledges that he owed his education to Peter Ormerod. Travis describes Peter as:

"an old and outspoken friend, one who was sometimes slyly critical and severe . a well-read man, fond of anecdote and local nomenclature . he was not a proud man in any way, but had certain fixed notions about things and people generally."


In September 1877, there was extensive flooding at the mill, and later on four of the bays of the weaving shed collapsed.

Todmorden had a perennial problem with flooding, also with river pollution. The pollution was caused by town sewage and tipping from the mills. During 1866 and 1867, a Commission set up a Public Enquiry to look into the causes and produce some answers to the problem. As part of the enquiry, the Commissioners called several of the local manufacturers to give evidence. One of these was Peter Ormerod. The following is a transcript of his evidence: (extracted from the third report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Best Means of Preventing the Pollution of Rivers - Rivers Aire and Calder 1867, by Alan Longbottom)


Questions from the Chairman


Q. What business are you engaged in?

A. I am a cotton spinner and manufacturer. We have one mill in the town, (Ridgefoot) and another in Walsden, (Hollins) a mile and a half from here.


Q. How many hands do you employ?

A. 600 or 700 at the two mills.


Q. Are the mills situated near the river?

A. Yes one is. Walsden Mill is over the river.


Q. What weight of coal do you burn in a year?

A. We burn nearly 100 tons a week


Q. What becomes of the ashes?

A. In Walsden we put them into the river, at the other place people want them generally. We take them to some vacant land, and people take them away, the railway company and others.


Q. Would it be a very great hardship to you if you were told that you should not put ashes into the river again?

A. If it were made a general thing, we should of course give in to it. It would certainly be attended with some expense.


Q. But you think you ought to meet that do you not?

A. Yes, in some shape, if it was made a general thing.


Q. Have you suffered at all from the recent flood?

A. Not this time.


Q. Have you suffered from any flood before?

A. Yes, we did in 1859 at Walsden.


Q. Do you know whether any mill owners down the stream have suffered from the last flood?

A. Not in Walsden. When we were injured in Walsden it was by some timber coming down and getting across the arch under our mill; the timber came from the railway and other places, and the water brought down a great quantity of timber.


Q. Did you take proceedings against the railway company?

A. No.


Q. I suppose you would rather suffer some damage than go to law?

A. We had no very great damage to suffer, but we did not like to go to law; there was other timber as well as the railway company's, trees that had been sent down the river from places higher up, and which had slipped down out of the hill sides.


Q. Did you hear the evidence given by Mr. Chambers and Messrs. John and Joshua Fielden?

A. Yes.


Q. Do you agree with the evidence that has been given generally with regard to the causes of the pollution of the river and the proposed remedies?

A. Yes generally I do.


Q. Do you think it necessary that there should be some restrictions enforced in order to prevent the pollution of rivers?

A. I believe it would be for the benefit of the country.


Q. What do you do with the night soil?

A. It is carted away


Q. Does any of it go into the river?

A. Yes some of it does.


Q. Is it difficult to keep it out?

A. I do not think it would be very difficult, but the principal bulk of it is carted away.


Q. Do you think you could cart it all away, if that was made the general rule?

A. Yes


Questions from Mr. Harrison


Q. Did you hear what was said about taxing the country?

A. Yes.


Q. Is it not the case that a great part of the West Riding consists of moorland?

A. Yes.


Q. I presume that in manufacturing districts the largest ratepayers in the West Riding would be found?

A. Unquestionably


Q. So that any taxation would fall by comparison lightly upon the agricultural districts?

A. Yes. I understand that there is a great extent of moorland in the northern part of the West Riding where there is very little manufacturing.

The mill continued to flourish for the rest of the 19th century. Abraham and William retired from the business during the 1870's, leaving youngest brother Peter and his two sons (also William and Abraham) in charge. By 1881, the firm employed 750 hands between its mills, still trading as Abraham Ormerod & Brothers.

Hollins Mill


On 22nd November 1882, Peter's youngest daughter, Sarah, was married to Frederick Ashworth of Rose Bank, Todmorden. The ceremony took place at PATMOS CHAPEL in Todmorden, and after the event, the party continued the celebrations at Peter's home, Pex House. The proceedings were marred by an unfortunate event. The horses attached to one of the carriages took fright, broke away from the carriage, fell over a low wall, rolled down a steep incline and ended up in a back yard of some cottages below. One of the horses, a valuable black mare belonging to the Todmorden Carriage Company, died on the spot. The other escaped with minor injuries. No-one was in the carriage at the time.


Peter died at Pex House on 1st January 1884 aged 72. Sons William and Abraham took over.



William Ormerod

William, the elder son, married Annie and went to live at Langfield House for a short time before moving to Scaitcliffe. He followed his father's love of local politics, becoming a County Councillor and Magistrate for the West Riding, before being elected Mayor of Todmorden in 1899.




Abraham married Susan and lived at Plane Tree Cottage at Clough in Walsden. Neither brother appears to have children by 1901.


In common with many of the manufacturers, Abraham Ormerod & Bros. appeared before the Petty Sessions for contravening the Factories Act. On one occasion, on 30th August 1888, the firm was prosecuted for employing a woman during a meal break, for which the fine was 10 shillings with further 10 shillings costs. A second case for the same offence was dismissed when the woman concerned swore she was not actually working. The Bench was divided in its opinion, and gave the firm the benefit of the doubt by dismissing the case but charging costs of 8 shillings and 6 pence. (Information provided by Alan Longbottom).


The manager at Hollins Mill during the latter part of the century was Thomas Halstead of 11, Alma Street, Walsden. Thomas and his wife, Ellen, had two children, Agnes and Wilfred. He died at the Fielden Hospital in Todmorden on 29th October 1895, aged just 47 years. His obituary described him as "widely known and much respected in the Walsden area." Thomas Eastwood took his job. He remained there until July 1900. On 13th of July, he set sail from London in the steamship "Gorka" to take up a three-year appointment as manager of a weaving and spinning mill in Madras.


Another employee at the mill was John Crossley, who retired in 1902. On his retirement he was presented with a marble clock containing the inscription:

"Presented to Mr. John Crossley by spinners of Hollins Mill, January 25th 1902."


On 30th November 1904, the Ormerods sold the mill to Mr. Caleb Hoyle, manufacturer at DERDALE MILL in Todmorden. At that time, Hollins Mill employed 400 hands.

Hollins Mill


Caleb Hoyle


Caleb Hoyle died in 1914, and his business continued in the hands of his son Joshua until 1929 when he died suddenly, aged 52. The Hoyle family business ran into financial difficulties at that point. Joshua's brother-in-law, William Albion Barker, took over the running of Hollins Mill for a period, followed by Neuss Hesslein Kempton Ltd. (NEHESCO), who were the owners in 1936.

In current times, the buildings are used by several light industry firms. The chimney has gone, but the sheds are still there, together with the main buildings, still filling the space between the turnpike road (now Rochdale Road, Walsden) and the canal towpath.


Hollins Mill

Grateful thanks to John Alan Longbottom for the extract from the Commissioners' Public Enquiry into flooding and pollution in the River Calder.


Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


Halifax Archives MISC: 165/38

Plan of site of Hollins Mill as referred to in Chancery dispute between William Greenwood, plaintiff, and Titus Gaukroger, Joshua Haigh and John Haigh, defendants; dated 7th October 1854.

Walsden Rates Book 1860-90

Owners and occupiers Ormerod Bros. Mill, shed etc. Inchfield; rateable value £627.18s.10d.

1861 – additional hp. £46

1864 – additional office etc. £8.13s.9d.

1865 – Hollins

1866 – rateable value £745.15s.0d.

1880 – rateable value £885.

1881 – rateable value £755.5s.0d.

1885 – mill and steam power, rateable value £690.10s.0d.

1888 – rateable value £694.10s.0d.

Extracted from the second report of the Rivers Pollution Commission 1867

Hollins Mill

Ormerod Brothers, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Our mills are situated on the River Calder. Employ 550 hands. Rateable Value £735.15s.0d. The bed of the stream has not silted up. Our mills are not affected by floods. There has been no alteration in the condition of the river within our knowledge. It is slightly polluted by works above, not by mines. Obtain supply of water from Rochdale Canal. Manufacture yearly 700 tons of goods. The whole of the waste liquid produced at our works flows into the river. Use stream, 150 nominal horsepower. Consume yearly 4,000 tons of coal, the ashes from which are partly thrown into the river. The excrements of our work people are conveyed into the river. Have no suggestions to offer.

Halifax Courier 22nd September 1877

Extensive flooding at the cotton mill of Ormerod Bros. in Walsden. Later on, 4 bays of the weaving shed fell in.

Halifax Guardian 17th August 1878

Ormerod Bros. Walsden, commenced running their mills full time again.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st August 1879

Ormerod’s Hollins Mill, 25,000 spindles, 582 looms, working 4 days a week.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 6th Feb 1880

Two large mills in Walsden and one in Todmorden of A. Ormerod & Bros. began work full time.

Halifax Courier 25th Feb 1882

A number of weavers employed by Ormerod Bros. at Hollins Mill resumed work at old rates. The dispute has gone on 2 to 3 weeks. The spinners at Alma Mill also set to work having been stopped due to action of weavers.

Manchester Examiner 2nd Aug 1887

Ormerod Bros. (all mills) 48,000 spindles, 1,300 looms, working full time, but for past 3 months a quarter of each has stopped.

Deeds Indenture 27th September 1905

1.  William Ormerod of Kershaw House Luddenden Foot, cotton manufacturer and Abraham Ormerod of Cloughside, Walsden, cotton manufacturer.

2.  Caleb Hoyle of Roomfield House, Todmorden, cotton spinner and manufacturer

"All that cotton mill or factory called Hollins Mill ... and land etc. £7,000."

Calderdale Planning Department Todmorden plan number 840, 16th October 1907

Proposed warehouse at Hollins Mill for Caleb Hoyle esq.

Worrals Directory 1930

J. H. Hoyle Ltd. Hollins Mill, cotton, 20,000 spindles, 560 looms.

Deeds indenture 6th June 1930

J. H. Hoyle Ltd. sale of company and Hollins Mill to William Albion Barker of Harley Bank, Todmorden, cotton spinner and manufacturer. Barker to take over £10,799 debt and pay £15,000.