Dalton Mills, all attached buildings and yard surface


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Dalton Mills, Dalton Lane, Keighley, Bradford


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Statutory Address:
Dalton Mills, Dalton Lane, Keighley, Bradford

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bradford (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 06998 41360


A mill complex of 1866-77 for the manufacture of worsted cloth, now in multiple use.

Reasons for Designation

Dalton Mills, a mill complex of 1866-77, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architecture: the architecture of the mill complex is of more than special interest in its elaborate styling and rare features such as the chimney; * Interiors: the ironwork within some of the mills is unusually ornate and more than functional, and the machine shop with its machinery intact is a rare survival; * Historic value: the mill complex at Dalton Mills is an important example of the significance of the woollen textile industry in Yorkshire in the later nineteenth century.


Dalton Mill was built between 1866 and 1877, designed by W. Sugden for J & J Craven as a worsted mill. It replaced an earlier worsted mill, Strong Close Mill, owned by Rachel Leach. It appears to have been partly occupied by tenants from the start. There were three multi-storey mills: Tower Mill in the north east corner of the site, begun in 1866 and in operation by 1870, Genappe Mill to the north begun in 1868 and New Mill to the south in 1869. A long shed was also part of the original group, as were two engine houses, boiler houses, a chimney and offices dated 1872. The two original beam engines, one for Tower and Long Shed, the other for Genappe and New, were accidentally destroyed and replaced by new horizontal engines to the design of John Haggas & Sons of Keighley in 1904, of which that powering Genappe and New Mills was said to be the largest in the world at that time.

A footbridge over the River Worth opposite the chimney once connected the mill complex to the house of the owners, Strong Close (named after the original mill), which stood to the east of the mill. A stone gateway on the other side of the river survives. Mr Craven was said to cross the bridge directly to the chimney which has a stair running around the flue, leading to a balcony from which he could oversee the mill and surrounding country.

The Craven family were worsted spinners and manufacturers, though there is little evidence of weaving at the complex, which concentrated on spinning. It is said to have employed up to 2,000 workers in its heyday, but by the early twenty-first century it had been unused for some years and was sold by John Craven in 2004 to Magna Holdings. After some restoration work and a number of fires, it was sold to a private owner in 2013.


Group of multi-storey former spinning mills and associated buildings of 1866-72 with later alterations, to designs by William Sugden of Leek, Staffordshire for J and J Craven.

MATERIALS: coursed dressed sandstone, rusticated in places, with mixed roofing materials including stone slate, Welsh slate and modern materials. Stone setts extend through the courtyard and entrance archway.

PLAN: the mills are grouped around a narrow courtyard. The main entrance is to the north off Dalton Lane, through a reception office and pay office leading into the yard. To the west is Genappe Mill, a long, three storey building running approximately east-west, and to the east is Tower Mill, a square four storey building with a single storey section to the north side. Extending south from Tower Mill is a series of buildings of various dates, including a former engine shed, and at the southern end is a detached chimney, square in plan. New Mill has three storeys and runs parallel to Genappe Mill to the rear with a ruinous linking block to the west, probably a former warehouse. An engine house stands at the eastern end of New Mill and a small group of north-light weaving sheds is attached to the north side. The yard has stone setts.

EXTERIOR: Tower Mill: the main part of Tower Mill has four storeys with nine bays facing the road and seven to the side. There are corner turrets at the north-eastern and south-eastern corners with pyramidal roofs rising one floor above the main block, and a larger tower at the north-west corner extending beyond the main block, with clock faces to the north and west and a smaller top stage set to one side of a balcony with parapet. Adjacent to the south-eastern corner tower is a full height metal fire escape. The windows have ashlar segmental arches with keystones, with a string course at third floor level and dentils above the third floor windows. Immediately below the dentilled eaves is a line of narrow windows and the Welsh slate roof is pyramidal. There are loading doors on the east elevation at third and fourth floor level, the upper one rising above the roof line. At the north front of the main block is a single storey polygonal section with lanterns at two of the angles and mainly round-arched windows and a flat roof behind a parapet.

Entrance block: attached to the west side of Tower Mill is the single storey gatehouse and office block. The central entrance has a heavily rusticated stone segmental archway with panelled pilasters, a balustraded parapet and a steep hipped roof. There is a date of 1872 over the arch along with the name Dalton Mills. Office accommodation to either side and along the western side of Tower Mill has transomed segmental arched windows, and an ornate narrow three-stage tower with a domed lantern at the top is set in an angle of this section, forming an entrance to the Tower Mill. To the rear of the entrance block are canted bays to each side, that to the west extending to meet the eastern side of Genappe Mill. Beneath the archway are doorways into the offices.

Genappe Mill: the three-storey mill extends east–west along the main frontage of the complex, 38 windows long and ten deep. On the north elevation facing the road, at either end is a projecting bay with narrow windows and a square lantern tower, and at the centre is a four bay projecting section with a lantern tower to each side of a steeply pitched roof with an ornate gablet. The ground floor of this section has two windows within a single segmental arch in rusticated stone with a flat canopy above. There are sixteen windows to either side of the central block; the ground floor windows have round heads, the first and second floor segmental, all with keystones and bands. The south elevation has a similar pattern, with the central block projecting further and having an entrance on the ground floor with a rusticated stone segmental archway. At the south-east corner is a square tower that rises for three stages above the mill roof, with two windows on each side and an enclosed water tank behind parapets above. Between the entrance block and the west end is a single storey lean-to extension with round-headed windows and a basement floor. At the western end is a ruinous (formerly two storey) linking block extending south and linking to New Mill.

Engine/boiler house: attached to the eastern end of Genappe Mill is a single storey building, a former engine or boiler house. It has a pitched roof and two tall entrances on the south end opposite a three storey engine house. It has two round arch and one segmental arched window on its east side, and at its north end is a hexagonal bay with a hipped roof and an entrance to Genappe Mill.

New Mill: New Mill has three storeys and is 33 bays long, running parallel to Genappe Mill. The windows are similar to Genappe Mill but there is less elaboration and the second floor is lower. A central projecting section to the north faces the entrance to Genappe Mill and is matched by a tower projecting on the south side which has a gabled roof over a large round window, and there are corner towers on the south-west and south-east corners. The rump of a linking block to buildings now demolished survives on the east end. On the north side are attached several rows of north-light sheds extending to each side of the central projecting bays.

Engine House 1: attached to the eastern end of New Mill and set forward is a former engine house. It has three storeys and four bays with a hipped roof. The ground floor is a basement with a small single storey shed on the west end of the north elevation. The first floor has a decorative entrance portico at the east end of the north elevation approached by steps to the side, with an adjacent round arched window. A central round arched loading door has two round arch windows beyond. The second floor has square windows with ashlar architraves, above a raised band. There are tall round arched windows on east and west sides, divided by an inserted floor. At the north-west corner is a lower hipped roof section with a tall entrance facing north.

Chimney: the chimney is encased in a square tower with an entrance on the south side. It rises in six stepped stages with raised bands and single slit windows on each stage, and a viewing balcony at the sixth stage. Above this, the chimney continues encased in a narrower square tower. Opposite on the other side of the River Worth is a stone gateway that originally formed one end of a footbridge from the owner’s house directly to the chimney.

Engine House 2: opposite the eastern end of New Mill is a second former engine house. It has a hipped roof and two large windows to the west elevation. They have round arch top sections above wide stone lintels, and have original timber mullions and transoms, set in rusticated stone architraves with keystones. To the south is an attached low shed with a hipped roof and modern brick infill and metal sliding doors.

Long Shed: to the north is a low range extending almost to Tower Mill with a series of east-west north lights sheds behind. Near to the northern end of the range is a later two-storey building set in front (west) of the range.

INTERIORS: Tower Mill: on the ground floor at the west end is small reception area with an original fireplace. Stone steps lead to all floors and there is also an early C20 lift at the rear of the building. The ground floor retains iron columns with attachments for line shafting, those in the multi-storey section being larger with metal brackets supporting the overhead beams. The first and second floors have similar columns while the third floor is an open space with slender steel roof trusses visible.

Entrance Block: the interior of the entrance block is in use as offices and does not contain any features of note.

Genappe Mill: the interior is divided into two sections separated by a (later) inserted metal staircase. There are stone stairs at either end and a central toilet block on the north side. The ground and first floors have a double row of cast iron columns running down the centre of the floor, leaving a wide space to each side. The columns have linking transoms that carried the line shafting. In some areas the wooden floor has differential markings to show footways and machine bays. The second floor has a single row of supporting pillars, those in the eastern half with bracing struts to one side. The western end is partitioned and retains, extending from the partially absent ceiling, fragments of original wheels, shafting and pulleys. A metal stair rises to an attic floor with skylights and timber trusses. Extending along the western half of the ground floor on the south side is a single storey extension housing the former mechanic’s workshop. It contains a number of fixed machines including drills, saws etc as well as workbenches and shelving.

New Mill: the lower floor of New Mill was not accessed at inspection. The first floor has a double row of cast iron columns running down the centre of the floor, with linked transoms for line shafting. The second floor, which is open to the double pile roof structure, has a similar double row, but the transoms are highly decorative with pierced patterned metalwork. The roof has skylights and metal trusses; it was in poor condition at the time of inspection.

Engine House 1: the basement floor was not accessed at inspection. The first floor consists of an open space with round arched windows to the north side and the lower half of a large window to each side. At the west end a corridor leads into New Mill, and contains the remains of machinery for power transmission. The upper floor has the upper, round-arched portion of the side windows as well as windows to the north. The ceiling is composed of square sections of timber slats running in alternating directions, with metal cross beams that carry the remains of transmission lines. There is a central ventilator grille.

Engine House 2 and Long Shed: the small building to the south of Engine House 2 is used for storage and is open to the roof structure. The former engine house is used for storage and the attached buildings to the north have been partly converted into offices and workshops. Cast iron columns with attachments for line shafting and original roof structures remain in the north lights area. The front (west) range is an open space and has heavy timber roof trusses.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 30 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/06508/25
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr J A Lowes. Source Historic England Archive
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