Rochdale Road

mostly in Langfield, part in Todmorden

Map Ref. SD 934 238


Waterside in the 1860's


researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group



Known occupiers






Waterside Plastics Ltd.


The site of the mill is now a major supermarket. Laneside Cottages are still occupied as homes. The warehouse, offices and school opposite the main site are still standing, including the clock tower.


Notes from John Travis, contemporary historian

Joshua Fielden, Quaker of Edge End, leased or built a small factory at Laneside in Langfield in the valley, now called Waterside. The first American cotton came to Laneside in 1787.

Joshua Fielden senior


John Howarth, manager at Waterside Mill, Todmorden, started at Midgehole Mill as a hand spinner.

Fieldens of Waterside taking-in shops: Frieldhurst (John o’ Susan’s big chamber) near present Holme railway arch; Prince George Inn at Station House, Bottoms; Smithy Nook, Calderbrook; and after 1838 a room was made at Steanorbottom.

August 1832, procession of 3,000 work people following the passing of the Reform Bill in June 1832. Followed by dinner at Waterstalls. Fielden Bros. employees from Waterside, Lumbutts, Smithyholme, Dulesgate and Dobroyd, and all the country handloom weavers.

1834-35, the larger Gaddens reservoir on Langfield Common was in the course of construction by Fielden Bros. of Waterside Mill.

About 1836, Fielden Bros. erected a public clock on the end of the warehouse opposite the mill at Waterside.

Soon after 1840, Centre Vale and surroundings sold to John Fielden of Dawson Weir, price then stated to be £15,000.

The Fielden Bros. of Waterside and other mills paid 3 days’ wages each week to employees throughout the enforced stoppage for the Cotton Famine. For this wage, the hands attended for an hour or two on one day a week and swept and cleaned the looms etc.


Laneside Cottages


Notes from Holden’s Todmorden

1782 Joshua Fielden was at Laneside in 3 cottages working as a cotton spinner and weaver. Soon the building was enlarged and the jenny replaced the wheel. Next installed carding machines. He had 5 sons. In 1811 Joshua died and the firm became known as Fielden Brothers.

In 1829 the Fielden brothers erected a weaving shed for 800 looms and Laneside Mill merged and became Waterside Mill. Later, a larger shed was added with 1,000 looms.

In 1912, the Fielden Bros. had 100,000 spindles and 1,600 looms


E. M. Savage “The Development of Todmorden”

About 1825, the Fielden Bros. had project for an engine of 6hp to work 800 looms in one room. By 1827, Waterside was running these looms, and gas was used to light the mill.

When the Cotton Famine hit Todmorden, the Fielden’s tried to alleviate the poverty of their work people by employing the men, about 2,000, in reclaiming land and repairing roads, and also paying them half their factory wage.


From papers of Ed. Watson.


Richard Ingham to Joshua Fielden. Draft lease of premises at Waterside near Todmorden for 990 years at £6.10s.0d. per annum.


Indenture between John Ingham, late of Castle, Stansfield, but now of Stoodley, Langfield, merchant, and Samuel Fielden of Lumbutts, Langfield, cotton spinner; Joshua Fielden of Waterside; and John Fielden; Lease of plot of land at the bottom of Swineshead Wood, Langfield. Rent £7pa. For 983 years. Mentions mill at Waterside and houses. Fieldens to erect a temporary bridge and road over the goit and River Calder from Swineshead Wood to the Todmorden Rochdale Road, over which Inghams to have access. Land mentioned in lease is for the purpose of a goit or dam forthwith intended to be made.


Rivers Pollution Commission (no date):

Joshua Fielden esq:

Works established by my grandfather who came down into the vale from the hills in about 1783. We have many mills in this valley. We have fine mills on this river and we have several mills on the tributaries to the river up in the hills. At all mills – 500 to 600hp. And we burn perhaps 700 tons of coal a month, or more. We get a considerable amount of coal from the valley towards Bacup. The cost of engine coal varies, 6 to 7 shillings a ton to 7 to 8 shillings a ton. We put the whole of the ashes into the river and always have done, at least ever since I can remember, and I have no doubt before that.

John Fielden esq:

The water is damaged by refuse coming from the coal pits so we cannot use it for the boilers at our works. We have therefore made reservoirs on the tops of the hills, and we collect water from the moors and use that instead of river water.


Waterside Mill


Trade Directories

Commercial Directory 1816-1820

Fieldings Bros. cotton spinners.

Baines 1822

Fielden Bros. cotton spinners & manufacturers, merchants and calico printers.

Parson & White 1830

Fielden Bros. Waterside, cotton spinners and manufacturers.

Pigot 1834

Fielden Bros. Waterside, cotton spinners and manufacturers.

White 1842-43

Fielding Bros. Waterside, cotton spinners & manufacturers.

White 1866

Fielden Bros. John Fielden, Dobroyd; Joshua Fielden, Stansfield Hall; Samuel Fielden, Centre Vale; cotton spinners & manufacturers.

Slater 1875

Fielden Bros. Waterside, Robinwood, Stoneswood, Lumbutts Mills & Manchester; cotton spinners & manufacturers and silk spinners.


Additional information


Sun Fire Office Insurance Policy No. 598168

28th March 1792

Joshua Fielding, Waterside, Todmorden, cotton carder; Warehouse and one building used as cotton shops, plus house; £150

1794 – HAS (1954)

Waterside Mill, cotton carding, owned and occupied by Joshua Fielden who supports the bill for the Rochdale Canal.

Crompton’s 1811 spindle enquiry

Waterside; 2,280 mule spindles (10 x 19doz); 864 throstle spindles (6 x 144); Mr. Fielden, Waterside, 3,8880 mule spindles (18 x 216).

Leeds International 16th September 1811

John Fielden, Waterside, Todmorden, married.


John Fielden senior M.P.


27th April 1826 (from the Todmorden Almanac 1866)

Meeting called by circular, held in the Old Church, Todmorden, of calico manufacturers of Burnley, Colne, Blackburn and Todmorden for the purpose of adopting some measures for better regulation of prices of weaving. Moved by Mr. Ratcliffe, commended by Mr. Dearden, that “John Fielden of Dobroyd be departed to attend a meeting at the Bull Inn, Burnley, to state that township is willing to adopt proposals for better regulation of wages for calico weaving, provided other townships agree.”

Bradford Observer 18th September 1834

John McDowall, engineer of Manchester, supplied patent pistons and air pump buckets to Fielden Bros. Todmorden.

Power Loom Returns by Robert Barker 4th Feb. 1836

Fielden Bros. 810 power looms. 405 employed. Average wages 8 to 15 shillings. No difficulty obtaining labour.

Census 1841

John Fielden, Dawson Weir, aged 55, cotton manufacturer & merchant

Joshua Fielden, Waterside, aged 60, cotton spinner.

Dawson Weir


Langfield Highway Rates November 1849

Owned and occupied by Fielden Bros; Waterside;

Loom shed and taking in room, rateable value £296.15s.5d.

Mechanics shop and weft room, rateable value £9.7s.0d.

Engine house, rateable value £5.12s.0d.

60hp steam, rateable value £45.12s.0d.

Gas works, rateable value £48.

Twist and wind room, rateable value £29.16s.0d.

Warp room, rateable value £20.16s.0d.

Size house, rateable value £48.

Dust room, rateable value £2.9s.0d.

Silk room, rateable value £11.16s.0d.

Saw place, rateable value 16s.0d.

Mill, rateable value £197.10s.0d.

Mechanics shop, rateable value £10.4s.0d.

Engine house, rateable value £4.4s.0d.

14hp steam, rateable value £10.12s.9d.

New boiler house, rateable value £12.8s.0d.

New warehouse, rateable value £15.12.s.0d.

New size house, rateable value £42.

80hp, rateable value £61.1s.6d.

New loom shed, rateable value £260.

Room adjoining new chimney, rateable value £40.16s.0d.

2hp water, rateable value £16.8s.5d.

Census 1851

Samuel Fielden, Centre Vale, aged 35, cotton manufacturer (4 servants)

John Fielden, Centre Vale, aged 28, cotton manufacturer.

James Fielden, Dobroyd, aged 63, cotton manufacturer (2 servants).

Manchester Times, Saturday August 28, 1852

Excursion of work people

Upwards of 700 of the hands of Messrs. Fielden Brothers of Waterside Mills, Todmorden, cotton manufacturers, visited Liverpool on Saturday last to see the Great Britain steamer. Their employers had stopped the mills for the day, and Mr. S. Fielden with his usual promptitude engaged with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company to convey as many as were wishful to go at half a crown each. Mr. Fielden himself also accompanying the party. The excursionists reached Todmorden on their return about a quarter past eleven pm. greatly gratified with their day’s pleasure, and the kindness and attention of their employers.


Langfield Rates Book 1856-64

Owner and occupier Fielden Bros; Waterside; mills, sheds, power 60hp, 14hp and 80hp. etc. rateable value £1502.6s.3d.

Todmorden Rates Book 1860-1892

Fieldens Bros. owners and occupiers of cotton mill, Waterside; warehouse, gas pipes, new warehouse, office, waterwheel disconnected in 1891.


The Fielden Brothers pensioned off the last of their handloom weavers, two of whom were still drawing their pensions in 1884.

John Fielden junior 1822-1893


Langfield Rates Book 1865-1893

Township re-valued.

Owner and occupier Fielden Bros; Waterside; mills, sheds, power 60hp, 14hp and 80hp. etc. rateable value £1309.12s.0d.

1885 – steam power and water

1891 – 1 waterwheel disconnected

1892 – rooms barricaded up, rateable value £1066.6s.0d.

Halifax Guardian 3rd July 1869

Fire at Fielden Bros. Waterside. Little damage.

Fielden family papers 1869

Scale of charges for use of fire engine:

Engine, hose etc. £1 per hour

Superintendent, 5 shillings for first hour, 2s.6d. per hour afterwards

Firemen, 2 shillings for first hour, then 1 shilling per hour

Pumpers etc. 2 shillings first hour, then 1 shilling per hour.

Halifax Guardian 12th March 1870

Will of the late Mr. Thomas Fielden of Fielden Bros. Was sworn as under £1,300,000. His three nephews were joint executors and share the bulk of the property: - Samuel Fielden of Centre Vale House, Joshua Fielden of Stansfield Hall and John Fielden of Dobroyd Castle.

Census 1871:

Samuel Fielden, Centre Vale, aged 55, merchant, manufacturer & landowner (4 servants).

Centre Vale

John Fielden, Dobroyd Castle, aged 48, merchant and magistrate

(5 maids, 1 footman, 1 porter, 1 groom, 1 gardener, 1 coachman and a butler).

Dobroyd Castle

Joshua Fielden, Stansfield Hall, aged 44, Member of Parliament, Magistrate, landowner, merchant, cotton spinner & manufacturer, farmer of 135 acres employing 10 men and 1 boy. (Domestic servants – 1 governess, 3 nurses, 1 housekeeper, 1 butler, 3 housemaids, 1 lady’s maid, 2 laundry maids, 2 kitchen maids, 2 footmen).

Stansfield Hall


Halifax Guardian 21st Oct 1871

Fielden Bros. have given £1,000 to the Chicago Relief Fund at Manchester.

Halifax Guardian 9th March 1878

There is no town fire brigade in Todmorden, but the company brigades at Fielden Bros. Waterside, Lord Bros. Canal Street, and Fielden’s at Robinwood meet monthly for practice.

Halifax Guardian 26th October 1878

Fielden Bros; all mills to run 4 days. Firm employs about 2,000.

Halifax Guardian 8th March 1879

Letter from Mr. Fielden M.P. from Cannes. Health greatly improved. Expecting my yacht, The Zingara, here this week when I shall start my Mediterranean cruise. Hope to be back in the House of Commons soon after Easter, fully restored to health.

Halifax Courier 5th July 1879

Waterside Mill, Fieldens, at standstill due to breakdown

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st Aug 1879

Waterside Mill, spindles running 3 days, looms 4 days.

Halifax Courier 23rd August 1879

Waterside Mill, Fieldens, stopped works for indefinite period.

Halifax Courier 8th November 1879

Joshua Fielden withdraws from firm of Fielden Brothers.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 30th January 1880

Fielden Bros. Waterside, running 5 days a week, one day more than for some time.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 6th Feb 1880

Fielden Bros. weaving department at Waterside started full time, and spinners extended to 4 days a week.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 8th Oct 1880

Fire at Waterside Mill. Only cotton burnt.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 24th Dec 1880

Flood at Waterside Mill, Todmorden.

Halifax Courier 5th March 1881

Waterside, Fieldens, social for 600 hands

Halifax Courier 13th May 1882

Waterside Mill, Fieldens, commenced running 4 days a week.

Halifax Courier 7th April 1883

Todmorden trade very depressed. Waterside Mill on short time and has been for a few months.


Waterside Mill


Halifax Courier 30th August 1884

Todmorden trade very depressed. Waterside Mill on 4 days a week.

Halifax Courier 25th April 1885

Fielden Bros. Waterside, closed Saturdays and Tuesdays until further notice.

Halifax Courier 12th September 1885

Fielden Bros. back on full time after long spell of 4 days.

Todmorden Advertiser 11th March 1887

Obituary of Joshua Fielden J.P.

Todmorden Advertiser 3rd June 1887

Letter from Samuel Fielden on the cotton situation. Suggested half time to lower prices.

Yorks Factory Times 19th July 1889

Stoppage for Repairs – The works at Waterside, owned by Messrs. Fielden Bros., are very shortly to be stopped five or six weeks, for alterations and repairs. It was expected that the concern have been stopped for the purpose before now, but such, however, is not the case, and the works are still running on full time.

Yorks Factory Times 16th Aug 1889

Proposed Stoppage of Waterside Works – It is expected that the firm will find as many of the male hands employment as possible.

Yorks Factory Times 27th Sept 1889

Waterside Works – The alterations and improvements at Waterside Mill – Messrs. Fielden Bros., are now fairly begun, and they are being pushed on as speedily as possible. The weavers work a fortnight in turns, and a number of the mill hands are engaged in the repairs. Those employed in the improvements, in order to speed on with the work, go on until … o’clock each night.

Halifax Guardian 23rd November 1889

Two powerful new engines at Fieldens, Waterside. Built by Clayton, Goodfellows & Co. of Blackburn. Four new boilers each capable of up to 500hp. New mill to be erected and other mills improved.

Todmorden Advertiser 10th January 1890

Attention of the Education Department was called to the closing of Waterside Factory School.

Todmorden Advertiser 7th Feb 1890

Waterside Factory School; Accommodation 199, average attendance 79.


The factory school, offices and warehouse,

with clock tower


Halifax Courier 17th January 1891

Fielden Bros. Ltd. Waterside, Todmorden, have adopted the North East Lancashire scale of payment of wages.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Almanac 15th March 1898

Fielden Bros. Waterside, sold warehouse to Todmorden for use as a fire station and technical school.


Obituary of Samuel Fielden

Manchester Times, Saturday November 16, 1889

We regret to record Mr. Samuel Fielden, head of the firm of Fielden Bros. Limited, cotton spinners and manufacturers, of Todmorden, died at his residence, Centre Vale, Todmorden, on Saturday morning.

Mr. Fielden, although in his 74th year, was remarkable hale in appearance and active in habit till recently.

The Fielden family, of whom the deceased gentleman, at the time of his death, was the head, have a notable history. They trace an unbroken descent from one Nicholas Fielden, who lived in the time of the first Stuart king and held a farm at Inchfield, in Walsden, under a deed dated 1612.

Nicholas was of the yeoman class, and yeomen the Fieldens remained down to the concluding years of the 18th century.

The family farmed the not too fruitful land on the hills around Todmorden, and also engaged in the manufacture of woollen cloth.

In this way Joshua Fielden, who may be regarded as the founder of the fortunes of the latter generation of the Fieldens, employed himself. In the year 1782 however, he began a new life. Thanks to the inventions of Hargreaves and Arkwright the cotton trade received at this time a mighty impulse, and it is told of Joshua Fielden that; not without natural feelings of regret, he left his hillside home and began the business of cotton spinner at a little place called Laneside down in the Vale of Todmorden.

Success waited upon his enterprise and energy and the succeeding generations of his family developed and increased the business which he began. Through all the vicissitudes of trade for more than a century they stood in the front rank, ever enlarging the sphere of their operations, and rising superior to the difficulties incident to the management of a vast concern.

During the period of the Civil War in the United States, when the high price of cotton caused commercial ruin in may other quarters, and thousands of cotton operatives were compelled to accept the means of sustenance at the hands of the charitable, they occupied a unique position. For nine months they closed their works, but during the whole period most generously cared for the 2,000 operatives in their employ.

Once a week the doors of the mills were unlocked, the hands were engaged in cleaning the silent machinery, and for this slight service they received half the wages to which a full week’s work would have entitled them. A number of men were set to reclaim wasteland, sewing schools were established for the women, and in other ways the terrible period was tided over.

This chapter of the firm’s history is sufficient to indicate that the humble beginnings of the year 1782 had grown to vast proportions.

Fielden Bros. owned many mills, and, owing almost wholly to their enterprises, Todmorden had risen from a sparsely populated hamlet to a considerable town.

Mr. John Fielden, the father of the subject of the present memoir, won perhaps a wider reputation than any other member of his family. An active supporter of the Reform Bill of 1832 he was returned to Parliament in that year as the colleague of the famous William Cobbett in the representation in the newly enfranchised borough of Oldham. To his persistent advocacy and untiring labours was mainly due the passing of the Ten Hours Act, a legislative achievement for which he won the undying gratitude of the working class population. So earnest and unremitting was Mr. Fielden in promoting this beneficent measure that he was dubbed, half in jest and half in earnest, “ a self acting mule.” A handsome monument, in perpetuation of his memory, now stands on the flags of the Todmorden Town Hall.

Samuel Fielden, his eldest son, was born in January 1816. Nearly 60 years ago he began to take part in the business of the firm of Fielden Brothers. First the novice, trying his ‘prentice hand, then the active and enterprising junior partner, and eventually the head and guiding hand of the vast concern-through these stages he passed in his long life, maintaining, and more than maintaining, the honourable commercial record of his progenitors.

In 1867 the last of the elder branch of the Fielden family passed away, and the three sons of John Fielden, the member for Oldham, Samuel, John and Joshua, constituted the firm.

Their liberality was widespread and discriminating. They largely assisted Owens College, the London University, the Unitarian Home Missionary Board, the Manchester Warehousemen and Clerk’s Schools, the National Lifeboat Institution, the Railway Orphanage, and many other deserving institutions. To them Todmorden owes much.

In compliance with the wish of their uncle Mr. Thomas Fielden, they presented to the town, at a cost of £54,000, a handsome Town Hall, an enduring mark of their regard for good government. Almost as costly was the building and endowment of a beautiful Unitarian Church, in whose graveyard lie buried the remains of one of the brothers (Mr. Joshua Fielden).

Individually Mr. Samuel Fielden effected a great public improvement in that portion of Todmorden known as the Burnley Valley. The sluggish waters of a stream which runs through the valley were in the habit, more than ten years ago, of overflowing their banks, flooding the low lying land adjoining, doing immense damage and causing not a little danger. Mr. Fielden caused the bed of the steam to be lowered for more than a mile, and effectively prevented the recurrence of the disasters.

In numerous other ways, personally and conjointly with his brothers, he benefited the community amongst whom he lived, and won their respect and regard.

At the same time he inherited a good share of the dogged nature which characterised his distinguished father, and on several occasions found himself at cross purposes with the local governing body.

For many years Mr. Fielden has occupied a seat on the directorate of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, and was credited with being the largest holder of stock in that great undertaking. He was a magistrate for the counties of Lancaster and York, but took practically no share in the discharge of the magisterial office, and, we understand, never troubled to qualify for a seat on the Yorkshire bench.

He leaves a widow and one son, who will inherit the great bulk of his wealth.

Mr. Fielden took little part in politics or public life of any kind. His sympathies were with the Liberal party, and in these latter day developments he supported the cause of the Union.

Of the older branch of the family the only surviving member is Mr. John Fielden of Dobroyd Castle. Mr. Joshua Fielden died several years ago. He left a numerous family. His eldest son, Mr. Thomas Fielden, represents Middleton division in Parliament.

A silvery mist filled the valley of Todmorden, on Wednesday, and deepened the signs of mourning which the funeral of the late Mr. Samuel Fielden called forth throughout the district. Business was suspended. Shops were closed, and the blinds of private houses were drawn. The great mills of Fielden Bros. were stopped, and in the streets large crowds of work people congregated.

The funeral arrangements were of the simplest kind. An open car, draped in black, bearing the coffin, and three carriages containing the mourners, left Centre Vale, the residence of the deceased gentleman, shortly before noon. The coffin, which was fully exposed, had no floral decoration. Immediately behind the car was the family carriage, containing Mr. John Ashton Fielden (the only son), Mr. H. Yates Thompson, Mr. A. T. Bentley, Mr. C Aitken (London), and Dr. Thorpe.

Two carriages of Mr. John Fielden, of Dobroyd Castle, followed.

In the first were Mr. John Fielden, Mr. W. C. Booth (Cattrick), Mr. E. Brochlehurst (Macclesfield), and the Hon. C. Fitzwilliam. Mr. T. Fielden, M.P., Mr. E. B. Fielden, Mr. H. Fielden and Mr. Lodge (London), rode in the other.

Awaiting the arrival of the funeral party at the Todmorden Unitarian Church were the following gentlemen: Mr. G. A. J. Armytage, chairman of the directorate of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company; Mr. William Tunstill, deputy chairman; Mr. Joshua Ratcliffe and Sir E. Green, directors; Mr. J. H. Stafford, secretary; Mr. C. Moorhouse, solicitor; Mr. T. Collins, deputy traffic manager; Mr. J. H. Sedgwick, station master at Victoria, Manchester; Mr. James Eastwood, station master at Todmorden; Mr. F. Attock, carriage superintendent; Mr. T. Normanton, superintendent of the Wakefield district; Mr. T. H. Carr, secretary of the Preston and Wyre Railway; Mr. Thomas Hodgson; Mr. John Cocks and Mr. Walter Beard, (representing the Manchester office of Fielden Brothers); Mr. Thomas Wrigley, Mr. W. S. Hollinrake and Mr. Gibson Cockcroft (representing the Waterside Mills); Mr. H. Cubbin, Mr. T. Stretch and Mr. H. Campbell (representing the Liverpool office); Mr. John F. Cobbett, Mr. William Cobbett, Mr. William Sagar, Mr. Robert Ashton Bostock (London), Mr. S. H. Thompson (Liverpool), Mr. L. B. Moreton (Wolverhampton), Mr. Walter Lord, Mr. A. Grundy (solicitor), Mr. James Whitehead, Mr. John F. Horsfall, the Rev. E. J. Russell, vicar of Todmorden; the Rev. Dr. Lightfoot, Mr. R. H. Ramsbottom, the Rev. E. P. Powell, and Mr. Barker Crabtree, chairman of the Todmorden School Board.

The service was conducted by the Rev. S. A. Steinhall of Manchester, who in a brief address in the church, said no one who had known their friend, as those did who were assembled there that day, could grudge him his well earned rest, however deeply they might miss him from the scene of his faithful work. And how abundant were the works which would follow him. Everywhere in this valley, so loved by him, they could hardly lift their eyes without meeting memorials of his generous liberality, seen and acknowledged by all. Working as he, and his brothers did for so many years on the very noblest principles, he with them showed to the world how commerce could be successfully conducted on Christian lines.


Further reading:

Fieldens of Todmorden by Brian R. Law.

John Fielden's Todmorden by Linda Croft.

A History of Todmorden by Malcolm and Freda Heywood and Bernard Jennings.