Dudfleet Mill, Horbury, Yorkshire, February 2019

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1. The History
Not too much out there on this large mill on the banks of the River Calder near Horbury in Wakefield. The river provided the power for the mills, via their water wheels, prior to the instillation of steam engines. Records say that a mill was first built on the site around 1795 when it was known as Race’s Mill and was owned by John Race and Co. At the start of the first industrial revolution, spinning and cloth manufacture also boomed at Dudfleet Mill. The Mill saw the uprising by workers April 1812. Referred to as ‘Luddites’, they blamed the new factories for depriving weavers of earning a living at a time of widespread hunger and poverty. They objected to the new textile factory machinery and factory system. Hence on that April night between 300 to 600 Luddites descended on the nearby Fosters Mill, causing damage of around £700 (the equivalent of roughly £500,000 today).

Some records refer to Dudfleet Mill being built by the Shaw family of Horbury circa 1823 for the manufacture of worsted cloth. The mill consisted a large three-storey building with a boiler house and a row of workers' cottages. A report from March 1834 looking into the employment of children in factories showed that Race and Co were involved in woollen cloth and lambswool yarn manufacture. The report stated that of their workforce of 40, 14 were under the age of 14. Times were hard and the working day started at 6am and finished at 7pm during the week. Saturdays saw workers knocking off at 5pm in the summer and 4pm in the winter. Sunday was a rest day!

By 1887 the mill owners had passed to the ownership of Archer, Ritchie and Co. who were manufacturers of army & police cloths. Then at some point in the early 1900s, after the mill had stood empty for a while, it was purchased by James Benjamin Sykes who produced Melton cloth and hand-made "Peg" type rugs. When he died in 1954, the Mill was sold to Mr. H. Hartley for the manufacture of carpets. In 1964 the original large mill was demolished after being left unused for several years. Also pulled down at the same time was the boiler house chimney and the original row of workers' cottages. The weaving sheds, the boiler house and the newer cottages were left standing and Fur Fabrics bought the premises in 1969. They used the site for preparation and spin of various textiles, before closing in 2005. Since then the mill has been left empty and suffered arson attacks in July 2011 and then again in December 2017.

Little of the original building remains with the oldest sections backing onto the river. Most of the site that remains was built during the 1950s/60s, prior to scaling down of operations at the factory

2. The Explore
An easy-in one this one. Not a lot left inside and only slight hints as to what the mill was used for. Worthy of an hour’s wander and quite photogenic in parts, this was a nice and relaxed wander.

3. The Photos

A few externals of the older parts of the mill first.

47272330501_c21c18ac43_b.jpg img9703 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32330482377_0cfc392e92_b.jpg img9702 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46357876795_3e955da7ce_b.jpg img9701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46549067384_437dba65e3_b.jpg img9699 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47272405441_f451255161_b.jpg img9697 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40307943963_b66ce0cb79_b.jpg Dudfleet 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Bit of graff on the back wall:

46357996105_f502f60af7_b.jpg Dudfleet 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And in we go:

40308056133_a94453daab_b.jpg Dudfleet 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47272557761_0816d524db_b.jpg Dudfleet 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47272600611_03c01937c6_b.jpg img9681 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47220531982_ccbf5e9500_b.jpg Dudfleet 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33396985218_586e529557_b.jpg img9673 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47272733861_92d9d9a913_b.jpg img9672 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This bit of the mill has completely collapsed:

46358137705_11f857ca0b_b.jpg img9680 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And this bit burnt out:

46549340974_bd973f6be9_b.jpg img9679 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47272660311_c729362094_b.jpg img9678 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The newer section of the mill:

46549164924_6f4e71833e_b.jpg img9690 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46358049995_7073f127a4_b.jpg Dudfleet 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A few traces of the mill’s former line of business:

40307996823_6b842a27b4_b.jpg Dudfleet 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47272509201_e74874dd30_b.jpg Dudfleet 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47220499732_61333b35ff_b.jpg Dudfleet 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

33396897278_0363ddb770_b.jpg Dudfleet 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr