Littleborough’s History

Littleborough Co-operative Society of Industry  - Local Mills it was involved in


Whitelees Mill

The mill which at some stage had been a Bleach Mill, was used to finish the products blankets etc. that were made at Hare Hill Mill. An interesting fact is that in 1841 John Petrie of Rochdale delivered their 47th beam engine to Mr John Hurst of Whitelees Mill In 1845 a Spinning Mule was erected in a room over the Whitelees


Frankfort Mill

The mill was built in 1861 for £30000 with a further £20000 spent on equipping it with modern machinery. The mill operated from 1865 until 1895 during which time a great fire broke out (a recurring theme) in 1872 and during the clean-up operation a great storm knocked down three storeys of the damaged gable and killed 4 female members of the workforce.  In 1878 Littleborough Co-op Manufacturing Co Ltd arranged a £12,000 mortgage with the Littleborough Society and a year later the MacDonald’s directory has the mill as being under Littleborough Manufacturing Co., cotton spinners and manufacturers with Robert Taylor as manager. The mill closed again in 1887 due to financial mismanagement, the Littleborough Society incurring a total loss of £22,000. Later in 1887 the mill was auctioned off and the Littleborough Society had no further involvement. The site was later used by Green Brothers for dismantling vehicles later concentrating on goods vehicles. After being empty for years the present housing development commenced in 2018 being completed in 2019


Hare Hill Road Mill

The mill was a former Woollen Mill established by the 1840s. It was at one time owned by the Newall Family The Heritage Assessment produced in 2016 indicates that the mill was owned by the Littleborough Society in 1860. In 1874, the Mill was re-let to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Productive Society. Shares could only be bought by Co-operatives and Littleborough Co-op had shares in the Mill. The MacDonald’s directory of 1879 noted they were manufacturers of flannels baize blankets and dommets. Littleborough Local Board retained the fire engine house and oil room for £6 pa. The mill was known for the production of flannel, cricket whites and blankets. The 1860 mill once jutted out onto Hare Hill Road but was later demolished (plans dated 1955 exclude the old building). Various extensions were undertaken during the early 20th C with a major expansion, which included the rear part of the mill overlooking Hare Hill Park, built around 1920. The site was in continual use until closed by the Co-op. It was then used by various enterprises until Proofing’s moved out in 2018.


On 24th March 2018 at around 16:30 a fire broke out in the mill (probably started deliberately) which completely took over the mill which was subsequently speedily demolished. The foundations of the old mill could be seen during the recent demolition of the mill complex (2018/9). The site was developed for new housing in 2019. (Picture left from GM Fire Service Drone)


Factory When the CWS took over in 1957 they decided to dispose of the engine (see below for more details). A letter from Co-op stated that few records were kept on buildings owned, closed and or demolished in 1960s or later. Once the mill was demolished the site was used for housing


Picture taken from Littleborough Recreation Ground