Dobroyb Mill, Jackson Bridge, West Yorkshire, June 2019

Help Support Derelict Places:

HughieD

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,307
Reaction score
10,681
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
For such a big mill with a long history there is a surprising lack of information. Dobroyd Mills, in the village of Jackson Bridge near Holmfirth, dates back to the 1820s when the original building was constructed in 1829 as a water-powered mill. Historical records give an insight into the going’s on at the mill. In an 1851 Census, John Earnshaw was listed as having “31 hands” at his mill. Five years later, in 1856, John Earnshaw’s son, John William, age 2, fell into the plug hole of a dye pan and received fatal injuries in dyehouse near his father’s residence. In 1859 John Holroyd of J & E Moorhouse was charged by PC White with “leaving a wash barrel unattended for over an hour” at Sude Hill and “being more than 100 yards from his horse”. On refusing to pay the fine, he was committed to Wakefield prison for seven days. Tragedy struck again on 8th May 1869 when Mary Webster drowned herself and her illegitimate infant in the mill’s dam.

The mill was then rebuilt in 1870 and stood three stories tall. Several outhouses were added later on and a square chimney. The next key development was the foundation of the Dobroyd Mills Company textile business on the site in 1919. William Haigh, a First World War flying ace, civilian hero, textile magnate, and philanthropist bought into the mill as a director. Haigh's life was many and varied. After being demobbed from the Royal Flying Corps in 1919, his next mission was to become involved with the Mill. Haigh, who died in 1956, became known as "Buffalo Bill" through his liking for broad-rimmed hats. He was an avid collector of trongers (wool weights), which came to be the symbol of Dobroyd Mill. Before he died, he had turned the company into one of the world's best-known names in women's worsteds.

Areal view of the mill in 1939:

48021563002_d3980f37a6_z.jpgDobroyd 2 by HughieDW, on Flickr

...and in 1949:

48023363348_8a6b468971_z.jpgDobroyd by HughieDW, on Flickr

One of the mill’s engines:

48021459511_20b07f58c6_b.jpgDobroyd engine by HughieDW, on Flickr

At its peak in the 1960s, the company employed almost 600 workers. The mill closed in 1974, only to re-open two years later in 1976 under John Woodhead Ltd spinners. However, the mill ultimately succumbed to the decline of the textile industry. Planning permission to knock down two sections on the northern end of the complex was granted by Kirklees Council in 2012.The classic car renovation company and the Oil Can café were the last occupants on the upper floors to the rear of the Mill. However, they both moved out and relocated to the nearby Washpit Mills circa 2017, leaving the mill empty. Recently the Chimney stack has been demolished along with an outer building.

Proposals to redevelop the mill into new homes and office and industrial space were tabled in January 2018 including the demolition of all the buildings on the site, apart from the 19th century, four-storey mill building, and the property used by Hepworth Band. It proposed that the retained mill building would be converted into 27 apartments and 7,000 square foot of space for office or light industrial use and the construction of 75 houses on the site that had been cleared. Beyond this proposal no current information on the mill’s status or fate could be found.

2. The Explore
This fine mill has had its fair share of reports over the years. Until recently a couple of the floors had the original spinning machinery in situ. Sadly, these have now been taken away.

Now the mill is now pretty much empty, but it is vast and still has enough original features to hold your attention for an hour or more. The mill’s footprint stretches for just over some 4.04 hectares It is also in a very picturesque location and, fortunately, the idiots are yet to arrive here on mass. It’s my favourite mill explore to-date. From the front it’s pretty secure, but like most places, if you go around the back you can find a way in. What’s in store for the mill in the future is unclear. Hopefully it will get saved and it is spared the same fate as Newsome mills.

3. The Pictures

Front view of the mill:

47906482981_b6e2244fee_b.jpgimg0911 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the distinctive water tower (the only bit of the mill that was particularly wet)

46990433395_95b132a100_b.jpgimg0909 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Round the back you are greeted by the shell of this old car:

47854424462_3ab6863acb_b.jpgimg0914 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And we’re into the new bit at the top of the mill complex:

40939928753_0c8aca5a88_b.jpgimg0921 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40939937623_e7d10fef33_b.jpgimg0918 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47854383732_0080829b14_b.jpgimg0925 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This newer bit of the mill had the now relocated Oil Can cafe in and some small retailers:

47854376172_2f5f27cf8c_b.jpgimg0926 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Back out and round, here’s an indication of the mill’s former usage:

47854351502_a89bee1b1f_b.jpgimg0936 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This is the oldest section of the mill:

40939834103_72f56b989a_b.jpgimg0939 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47859071972_f438c1bfb9_b.jpgimg0945bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

Seen pictures of the sign on the top floor. Looks like someone decided to give it the heave ho out of the window:

47121791584_cc97ab142c_b.jpgimg0943 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The sound of running water is quite unique:

47859059952_5af3af070a_b.jpgimg0946 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40944752593_6279d36a5a_b.jpgimg0948 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Probably the best graff in the place:

47859309082_f926b80b93_b.jpgimg0950 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911605581_48698a6576_b.jpgimg0954 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47122247404_679d55e6d7_b.jpgimg0956 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911591461_ea9e1bd989_b.jpgimg0955 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The original part of the mill, although empty, was my favourite bit with its wooden floors and iron support pillars:

46995622345_a3c8e39a10_b.jpgimg0957 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46995608495_733306a535_b.jpgimg0958 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46995590595_6df67c35c6_b.jpgimg0959 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911512421_8bbf4941ca_b.jpgimg0961 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This bit of the mill has the most stuff left behind although the machines are now gone. This is where John Woodhead Ltd spinners moved into in 1976. Bizarrely, their registered office address was only changed last month (May, 2019) from Dobroyd Mills to Hartcliffe Mills, Denby Dale.

40944898733_a2b2bd238a_b.jpgimg0967 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40944885483_1a20f690f6_b.jpgimg0969 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46995818415_9752b7bd92_b.jpgimg0972 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911760931_6ae8dd9e76_b.jpgimg0973 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47859767862_8ea20b4f16_b.jpgimg0976 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Vintage poster still on the wall:

40945138753_75e73fcdb9_b.jpgimg0979 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40945130553_272cb18752_b.jpgimg0980 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Back out again and round:

40945107313_153769ce2d_b.jpgimg0982 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a few phone pictures:

40945364233_1d8d34b090_b.jpgDobroyd 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40945354873_9ab06f9d67_b.jpgDobroyd 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40945344533_cd7795e9bc_b.jpgDobroyd 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47859950632_a6726896d6_b.jpgDobroyd 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911920921_eb6e0e460a_b.jpgDobroyd 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47122565594_a7b40253d2_b.jpgDobroyd 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911911921_fe5a7ce919_b.jpgDobroyd 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40945311193_e60d240399_b.jpgDobroyd 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47911890681_05f3c86001_b.jpgDobroyd 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But….like always as soon as I got home I realised I’d missed parts of the mill that had good bits in. Soooo…a week of so later went back for a fresh look:

47975833702_c0cdde367d_b.jpgimg1135 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975790502_78d02d961b_b.jpgimg1140 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975779028_949fa60458_b.jpgimg1142 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975764608_9a2e5c0862_b.jpgimg1144 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Pictures from earlier in the year showed this intact:

47975753633_b23a60b2aa_b.jpgimg1146 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Sad to see this piece of history left behind. It’s John Woodhead Ltd’s original incorporation certificate from 1924:

47975744528_e85edf6b80_b.jpgimg1147 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975710067_7408e7b570_b.jpgimg1151 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47977049326_565b8e090a_b.jpgimg1158 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975676133_de8e0f19ff_b.jpgimg1161 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975658058_a0019132f3_b.jpgimg1164 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975608312_b66e1dae29_b.jpgimg1167 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975609068_97513ac110_b.jpgimg1168 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Missed this floor in the old building:

47975709633_4816dee072_b.jpgimg1156 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975737381_904f6a2565_b.jpgimg1159 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the top floor:

47975639668_a25e9301ed_b.jpgimg1165 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the electrics/switch room bit:

47975579647_318ccdb59b_b.jpgimg1173 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975579028_36ed77d12c_b.jpgimg1175 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975612126_b5ae22b2de_b.jpgimg1179 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975573908_5030842c47_b.jpgimg1177 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47975604041_fbd5e65317_b.jpgimg1180 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a few more for luck:

47975540697_f2950a85ff_b.jpgimg1181 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023017848_a207921844_b.jpgDobroyd 29 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48022997846_5d99d6f3ce_b.jpgDobroyd 28 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023002381_31d979f38d_b.jpgDobroyd 27 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023030958_9e1131797d_b.jpgDobroyd 26 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023010411_3e4dfa10e5_b.jpgDobroyd 25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023013891_466e9c48b7_b.jpgDobroyd 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023126512_7d88d6800e_b.jpgDobroyd 22 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023030936_4f09938e65_b.jpgDobroyd 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023141227_a6eb262762_b.jpgDobroyd 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48023038871_781c44e91b_b.jpgDobroyd 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Sabtr

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
1,478
Reaction score
241
Location
Teesside
I half expected another plain old block building mill but that place is very different. I'm not sure if it's the location or perhaps the light getting in - might even be the layout outside. I'd never work in a mill but that place didn't seem too bad.

Always gets to me when I see historical stuff getting trampled on.
I'm pleased you grabbed the electrical images. Some old style boxes and wires again and a lovely old large isolator switch too. The black control panels look special - slate/marble or bakelite?? Those are almost completely bust now which is a shame.

Another great report.
 

HughieD

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,307
Reaction score
10,681
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
I half expected another plain old block building mill but that place is very different. I'm not sure if it's the location or perhaps the light getting in - might even be the layout outside. I'd never work in a mill but that place didn't seem too bad.

Always gets to me when I see historical stuff getting trampled on.
I'm pleased you grabbed the electrical images. Some old style boxes and wires again and a lovely old large isolator switch too. The black control panels look special - slate/marble or bakelite?? Those are almost completely bust now which is a shame.

Another great report.

Cheers mate. Much appreciated. One of my fave explores so far this year. Missed the electrics stuff first time around so HAD to go back!
 

BikinGlynn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
1,744
Reaction score
3,247
Not sure if I have already said it but ooh thats nice, Im gonna have to get up there!
 

Dirus_Strictus

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,885
Reaction score
1,625
Location
Rawdon Leeds
It looks thick enough to be slate,[/QUOTE0)

One doesn't mount switchgear carrying nigh on 200amps/breaker on great chunks of conductor! The panels are Bakelite, or to give the trade name of the particular product used in these panels - Tufnol
 

Sectionate

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2008
Messages
179
Reaction score
92
This looks really good, I must try and get up north for a weekend of Mills. We severely lack any down south
 

Dirus_Strictus

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,885
Reaction score
1,625
Location
Rawdon Leeds
But slate is an insulator?
I've seen marble used too.

My mistake Sausage, obviously you are very correct. The installation I was thinking about had been labeled as slate in the spec, but caused a serious electrical short during a breakdown. Just found part of the original report which I had not read and this explains that the manufacturers did not follow the specification! Incident happened in my late father in laws mill (Castleton Mills). Always pays to read the full report, even when they are old and as you state, Marble also.

As for the coloured segments - I have only seen similar in a dyer's premises. This had a hand fixed in the centre and was used to indicate the colour of the dye being processed. Some fabrics take on a very different shade during the dyeing process. However in this case I have no idea and neither does my wife, who has far more knowledge of the textile industry in West Yorks than I have
 

Mikeymutt

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
3,179
Reaction score
11,892
Fantastic report mate. You have covered it well.that waterfall through the window is lovely.
 

HughieD

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
DP Supporter
Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
5,307
Reaction score
10,681
Location
People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
Top