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The Corn Mill

Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter
10th March 1894

Whaley Bridge:

Death of an old resident:

On Wednesday information reached Whaley Bridge of the death of Mr William Evans, formerly of Stone Head, Whaley Bridge, who for many years had been residing at Brighouse.

When residing in this locality, Mr Evans held the position of foreman for Messrs Ramsden & Camm, who carried on the business of wire drawing at the Old Mill. He was 63 years of age.  
The Corn Mill
High Peak News
25 Jul 1896

Foreign competition has, we are informed, had such a cutting effect upon the barytes industry in this and other neighbourhoods that Mr Heginbotham, of Cadster Mills, will shortly close his works.

Some time since the mills belonging to Mr A. Morten and Mr Heginbotham at Shallcross, and also those of Mr Warhurst at Chapel-en-le-Frith were closed. It is understood that for some time the manufacturers have been supplied with the mineral from abroad at a cheaper rate than they could possibly get it on the spot.

The bulk of the manufactured article from Derbyshire was forwarded to America, but the misfortune is that there is no demand for it owing to the discovery of extensive mines in America. It is a matter of regret that the barytes trade should follow the once important lead industry, which is practically extinct.

Mr Heginbotham, of Cadster, informs us that he has no intention of continuing his works after the expiration of the lease; the machinery will be broken up and the workpeople will have to find employment elsewhere.
Ashton Reporter
13 April 1907.

An Historic Building:
It is reported that the old corn mill near the River Goyt has been let for manufacturing purposes. It is certain that there have been several applications for it, but we are unable to verify the statement that Sir Edmund Buckley, the owner, has let it. The building is an historic one, and though in a dilapidated condition, is very valuable on account of the water rights attached to it.
It is above a century old, and was originally a corn mill. It has also been used as a tube and smallware mill, and also as a wireworks. It was last used by Mr Adam Morten as a barytes works. Cork was fetched from the lead mines in the Bradwell and Castleton district, and there made into barytes, which is used in the manufacture of paint. It is this mill which is frequently mentioned in Mrs Banks novel "The Manchester Man." (Wrong W. E.) In the year 1800 (or about) a small society of Wesleyan Methodists sprang up in Whaley Bridge, and they held their meetings in the mill.

The bags of corn had to be removed to make room for the people to assemble together, and amongst the first scholars was the grandmother of Mr J .W. Mellor, J.P., chairman of the Urban District Council. In 1808 the room was repaired and fitted up as a Sunday School or reading room at a cost of £10.16s.6d. In 1811 a new room had to be provided, as the old one was not sufficiently commodious. There were 300 scholars at this time, and the cost of the alterations amounted to £97.6s.6d. The teachers were Messrs John Lomas (superintendent), Thomas Mossley, William Kinder, George Heathcote, Edwin Turner, John Cooke, Charles Cheetham and Kirkus Southern. The building served the Wesleyans until a portion of the present school was built in 1821.
The Corn Mill The Corn Mill
This photo shows the Corn Mill with the River Goyt running next to it.
A sketch of the photograph opposite.
High Peak News
8 June 1912

Collapse of an old mill: The roof of the old Corn Mill, situated in Bridge Street, collapsed on Sunday. The noise of the falling roof was heard all over the town, and a crowd soon assembled. Fortunately nobody was in the neighbourhood at the time.

The mill, which is over 100 years old, has had a very varied existence. It has been used as a smallware manufactory, barytes manufacture, corn mill, and wire drawing factory. It is the place mentioned in Mrs Linnæus Banks book entitled “The Manchester Man.” Formerly it was used as the Wesleyan schoolroom, until the Wesleyan school was built.

The building, which is now in a very dilapidated condition, is owned by Sir Edmund Buckley.
Ashton Reporter
8 June 1912

Old Mill Roof Collapses: Some alarm was caused on Sunday afternoon by a terrific noise resembling a thunderclap. People rushed out of doors to discover that the roof of old corn mill had collapsed.

It had been in a precarious state for some time, and nobody was surprised at it falling in. Fortunately there was nobody about at the time, most of the children being at Sunday school. The nests of a number of starlings and other birds were disturbed.

This is the mill which Mrs Banks has made so famous in her novel "The Manchester Man” and it was here that the Wesleyans worshipped over a century ago.
The goat at the side of the Railway Pub Bridge Street Bridge Street now As it is now
Bridge Street
Bridge Street now
These two photographs of Bridge Street make an interesting comparison. Some parts have never changed.
This photo shows the goat at the side of the Railway Pub and was in those days a stone wall. It is now iron railings.
As it is now.

There once stood a Corn Mill on Bridge Street in Whaley Bridge.
An agreement was made on the 1st June 1780 between Mr Robert Bennett and Peter Legh Esq.
The agreement allowed Peter Legh the use and enjoyment of a watercourse and Dam in the lands of the said Robert Bennett for the use of the Whaley Mill.
Peter Legh was the Squire of Lyme Hall; Robert Bennett was from Moseley and was a bread baker.
Peter Legh had already started to take water from the River Goyt for many years within the land owned by Robert Bennett to operate the Whaley Mill.
This agreement made that arrangement official.
Water was taken from the Goyt River on Bennett’s land by means of a weir or ‘dam’ as it was called in the official document and was directed around the back of what is now Wharf Road, round the back of Plants store rooms, under the railway bridge, down the side of the Railway Pub, under Market Street, under one of the takeaways and then the water emerged in its ‘goat’ to drive the undershot water wheel which powered the Mill and then 100% of the water cascaded back into the River Goyt.
The ‘goat’ was cut through land known as Goose High Warth and Saunders Croft.
For the privilege of taking the water Peter Legh had to agree to pay to Robert Bennett and his heirs the sum of 2 pounds and 2 shillings per annum and the agreement was to last for 500 years.
This water supply was to become very valuable.
And so the Corn Mill was up and running; but it was to have several changes of usage notably as a wire works and home to Adam Morten’s barytes factory.