Littleborough’s History

Littleborough - Tetlow’s Brickworks at Punchbowl Lock

Honour Matthews established a brickworks at Punchbowl Lock on the Rochdale Canal between Littleborough and Summit in the early 1850's. The works wasn’t very successful and in 1858 it was sold to John Tetlow and continued in the Tetlow family until it was sold to Fothergill and Harvey who owned mills close to the brickworks at Punchbowl.  There was a 100ft frontage to the canal with a three-storey building built into the hillside; the lower storey gave direct access to the canal wharf.  There were six downdraught kilns served by a single chimney.  The clay initially came from a quarry just to the north of the site. Coal and clay were also obtained from Lightowlers, Sladen and Whittaker Collieries in which John Tetlow had a partnership interest. There was a horse drawn plateway which ran from Sladen Pit to the Summit level.  The works produced salt glazed sanitary pipes, chimney pots, boiler blocks and firebricks.  Tetlow was able to establish a good regional market as his trade directory entry of 1873 mentions depots in Rochdale, Todmorden and Manchester and the last advertisement in Worral’s Directory of 1909 describes them as contractors to Manchester Corporation.  In the 1920's after Fothergill and Harvey took over the works they used it to produce building blocks made from furnace clinker and cement. These blocks were used for both internal and external walls on extensions to their factory and also for workers housing nearby at Timbercliffe.  The site was closed and partly demolished in 1928. Picture below.