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Thread: Beehive Spinning Co. Ltd, Bolton January 2019

  1. #1
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    Default Beehive Spinning Co. Ltd, Bolton January 2019


    Visited as part of myself and Landie's first Northern weekender of the year, and what a cracker it was.

    I'm sorry but there might be a bit of a rant below.

    The first of the two Beehive Mills was built in 1895 with the second larger mill following in 1902. The complex was constructed in a beautiful Italianate style, with staircases disguised as campaniles along with terraced roofing and balustrades along with a very pretty lodge/office building at the front gate. It is thanks to these architectural features that both mills were listed at Grade II, and - quite alarmingly - the council seems intent on riding roughshod over the entire concept of listed/protected buildings with both the developers and various councillors determined to get them pulled down. Quite why this is the case is absolutely baffling. Structurally the mills are both absolutely solid having only been empty for a couple of years, there is almost no water ingress into the upper floors at all in fact the only problem I saw when there was a broken drainpipe and a broken water pipe on the concrete ground floor. These buildings are absolutely gorgeous and would make an absolutely stunning conversion into apartments, and there is more than ample space behind the buildings to construct the shitty affordable box homes with no character that developers want to put everywhere. According to the council and developers the building is an 'eyesore' and 'falling apart' when that is anything but the case, and I hope Cllr. Cliff Morris, the leader of the council along with all the other phillistines who would rather see faceless boring bland badly built shoebox homes in place of a beautiful irreplaceable historic LISTED building get their comeuppance, along with the developer Arndale Properties who is gleefully rubbing their hands at the prospect of destroying a structurally sound, perfectly saveable building. Demolition of this mill complex would set a dangerous legal precendent for councils wanting rid of 'pesky' listed buildings - there is a perfectly understandable decision to be made when a listed building is so far beyond saving the only option is demolition however to demolish Beehive Mills would be an absolute crime.

    Thankfully it seems the planned demolition has hit a stumbling block, so fingers crossed it all falls flat and those in the council who support saving the iconic buildings along with, it seems, the majority of the residents can find a developer who will be sympathetic to the building and create the stunning renovation it could be.

    Anyway back to the mill itself...it was a cotton spinning mill up until 1967 when that venture closed and ever since then had various other industrial uses, most recently it seems to have been occupied by a bed/furniture warehouse until they vacated a few years ago. After finding the most difficult and painful way possible into the site we had the run of the place and thankfully found a much easier route out that we probably would have spotted on the arrival had it not still been pretty dark outside. After getting in and up to the top floor of the first mill I realised I'd made a nooby error and left my tripod on the concrete block inside the gate so had to trudge all the way back down the stairs and out to the gate to retrieve it!

    The mills themselves are very empty however they have some lovely features scattered around, it's a huge place as well we spent the majority of the morning there undisturbed. I loved the outbuildings along the front that had obviously been empty for a lot longer than the main mill buildings, and it was great to find the office building accessible as well - although small it's a beautiful wood panelled space.



















































    Thanks for looking :)
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    Pseudomerican

  2. Thanks given by: ajarb, etc100, ExplorerX, ginger5092, Hugh Jorgan, KPUrbex, krela, Mearing, noiseboy72, psykie, rockfordstone, Sausage, smiler, stu8fish, Tigershark
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  4. #2
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    Yep, in pretty good condition. The dome is nice. It looks like the last six pictures show the older part of the building.
    When the going gets tough - the tough get going.

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    Proper Job that Mook, Loved it, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

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    You know what? I've waited years for this to (hopefully) show on an explore. Why so? Bolton is many miles from Newcastle so what's the connection??

    Back in the 1980s I worked for one of the worst companies ever. By that I mean dire, dishonest and backstabbingly sh*t. I won't name them but they were a section linked to GUS - Great Universal Stores. The company which owned subsidiaries such as White Arrow Leasing: The vans which delivered goods from catalogues, Littlewoods Catalogues etc etc. GUS was the main umbrella which oversaw them..
    Long story short I was managing something and had to make several visits to Beehive Mill back in the mid-1980s. It was grim!!
    I had to first find the place (no GPS, no street maps, scary locals and fear of asking) but I eventually got there. I was given a secure section in the basement areas where they stored other high value goods - it was being used by some catalogue companies at the time for their high end stuff so I didn't expect trouble.
    I was given a sectioned off area in the basement to store some high value stock because a current site in the North East was spilling out past capacity.
    My initial visit was to 'suss' what was being offered and to report back to management at my end.
    We accepted the space and employed some staff at Beehive Mill to oversee and dispatch goods to us if needed.
    The agreement lasted 3 months - secure warehouse space my ar*e. We lost quarter of the stock!! Absolutely true that. Despite our space being overseen by extra security measures and down in a basement with no windows we lost a lot of stuff.
    We pulled out of the mill contract immediately and began renting units outside of the GUS holdings empire - costly but worth it. I have no idea if anyone was ever punished for our lost goods..

    Anyway, back to this set of images. OMG! That drab yellow paint and the off-brown too - that's what I remember about the place. I remember those elevators and the brick walls and strange passages. It's quite surreal to see it like this but hey it's 'progress' as they say. Nah catalogues basically filled a gap until the internet happened.
    I'm sat here in my jimjams and cuppa in hand staring at the images. I've waited decades for images to surface of it! They're bloody good images too. Mills can be boring with the repetition but it's a worthy set. I like them :)
    Awesome stuff. Cheers!
    Full of meaty goodness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post

    Anyway, back to this set of images. OMG! That drab yellow paint and the off-brown too - that's what I remember about the place. I remember those elevators and the brick walls and strange passages. It's quite surreal to see it like this but hey it's 'progress' as they say. Nah catalogues basically filled a gap until the internet happened.
    I'm sat here in my jimjams and cuppa in hand staring at the images. I've waited decades for images to surface of it! They're bloody good images too. Mills can be boring with the repetition but it's a worthy set. I like them :)
    Awesome stuff. Cheers!
    Do you remember if the buildings along the road side of it were empty back then? As they appear to have been empty for a long long time indeed.
    My Flickr

    Pseudomerican

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    Can't remember to be honest.
    I do know the actual mill was incredibly busy, as were most GUS sites at the time. The mill was mostly garment goods with high end other stuff such as jewellery in the basements.
    My memory of the outside is vague and more local folk will know better. Those perimeter buildings appear to have been machinery houses? They've a strange design for sure.
    Full of meaty goodness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    My memory of the outside is vague and more local folk will know better. Those perimeter buildings appear to have been machinery houses? They've a strange design for sure.
    The building along the road is one long thing subdivided into various parts - a transformer room, a workshop and storage space on the lower floor and then old office stuff and presumably the original tiny kitchen/cafeteria at pavement level - I reckon they've been empty at least two decades looking at the level of dereliction in there.
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    See and there you go mentioning machinery!
    I'd spotted the stripped cables and thought motors but transformers would fit too.

    One thing: These places were powered by huge steam engines. Was there any footprint from the old engine??
    Full of meaty goodness.

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    Bloody hell, you mentioning white star, I can picture the vans clear as day.

    I bought most of my joe bloggs jeans from the littlewoods catalogue back in the day, a bargain at £1.72/week for 21 weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sausage View Post
    See and there you go mentioning machinery!
    I'd spotted the stripped cables and thought motors but transformers would fit too.

    One thing: These places were powered by huge steam engines. Was there any footprint from the old engine??
    Nope, at some point post-1967 the engine room attached to the back of the older mill was completely gutted inside and in it's place an enormous water tank was constructed, with a fire suppression system powered by two large engines as shown in the third-to-last photo.
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