A CENTURY ago, Lancashire was at the heart of the cotton industry with Leigh alone having 10 mills.
Leigh Spinners is one of the only mills still involved in manufacturing but its history and heritage can be a blessing and a curse. It is the only double fronted mill in Europe – probably the world – and the only mill still standing that has the original engines in their original locations.
John Morrison, managing director, said: “Leigh had a lot of mills because it is damp. Cotton needs humidity so the dampness of the area is why Lancashire became famous for cotton.
We are unbelievably restricted with what we can because it is a listed building.
“There is probably a lot of beneficial social history within these walls. We found an insurance document from 1915 the other day and it is pristine.
“We have still got all the receipts, reports and the plans from the original purchases. We have never thrown anything away here, ever.”
The vast chimney is made from curved breaks, thousands of them that were handmade and curve slightly more as the chimney rises.
“It is no longer used for anything but cannot be knocked down because of the listing restrictions,” said John.
“We are unbelievably restricted with what we can because it is a listed building. We sit in nine acres of land and if we were not listed we would be worth a fortune.”
A vast room that is now empty except for a few roles of artificial grass that are stored there used to be the spinning room.
Spinning machines once stood side by side but when the company gave up on spinning in 2005, the machines were stripped and scrapped or sold to the emerging Indian market.
Manager Tony Walsh said: “Even on the coldest days it would be roasting hot in the spinning room.
“In summer, it was outrageous, you couldn’t even have a fan on because it would blow the fibres around. The cotton industry was the original sweatshops."
Article courtesy of The Bolton News