Brooksbottom Mill


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Waterside Road, Summerseat, Bury, BL9 5QW


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Statutory Address:
Waterside Road, Summerseat, Bury, BL9 5QW

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

Bury (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A cotton spinning mill, later with integrated weaving and now in residential use, with late-C18 origins, extended and re-fronted in the late C19 and considerably reduced in the late C20, by architects Russell and Whitaker of Rochdale for Edward Hoyle of Joshua Hoyle and Sons.

Reasons for Designation

Brooksbottom Mill, a cotton spinning mill, later with integrated weaving and now in residential use, with late-C18 origins, extended and re-fronted in the late C19 and considerably reduced in the late C20, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its skilfully-handled unifying re-fronting with integrated engine-house Diocletian window, numerous horizontal and vertical details and varying window surrounds making good use of polychromy;

* retaining elements of the earlier phases on the site, probably including the earliest, water-powered phase, and with evidence of the phased reconstruction.

Historic interest:

* for its association with the notable cotton manufacturing firm of Joshua Hoyle and Sons.

Group value:

* for its functional relationship with the Manchester headquarters of Hoyles (a purpose-built steel-framed warehouse, National Heritage List for England 1271127), as the principal site of production for the wares sold there.


The mill was built in 1874-1876 for Edward Hoyle using stone from Wilds Delph in Edenfield. It stands on the site of mills built by Robert Peel and Yates in 1773 and by Richard Hamer in 1812. It was acquired by John Robinson Kay of Rawtenstall in 1830. The 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey (OS) map published in 1850 (surveyed 1844-7) shows a spinning block parallel to the river, another, slimmer block at right angles to this, and a smaller linear block to the west at an angle. The mill dam (which extended from a weir considerably to the east and into the angle between the two main ranges) had an outlet leading directly to the principal spinning block, suggesting that the building might date from the first, water-powered phase. However the map also shows small buildings either side of the water, one of which was probably a boiler house as by 1850 the mill was almost certainly steam-powered.

The 1:2,500 OS map of 1893 shows a spinning block in the same location as in 1850, with a chimney on its north side, in the same location as the earlier head-race, and a cross-passage just to the west of centre. Immediately west of the passage a cross-wing (approximately 50 per cent wider than the block shown in this location in 1850) stood to the north. Extensive blocks, probably mostly single-storey weaving sheds, stood to the north-east and west of the spinning ranges. The weaving sheds were each served by their own chimney. The western shed was separated from the spinning blocks by an access road. Intruding into the access road was a square projection to the cross-wing, probably the western stair tower which is still standing (a quoined straight vertical joint between it and the spinning block indicates that it is an addition). The single-storey office of 1877 running along the riverbank is also shown. To the south-west, and spanning the river alongside the bridge was a larger block of 1890. Historic photos show first-floor loading doors to this two-storey block and it was probably a warehouse. In the angle between the two, and spanning the entrance to the site, was a first-floor extension to the warehouse.

Various minor additions and alterations are shown on subsequent OS maps; by 1929 the western chimney was disused, and by 1939 it had been demolished and the eastern one was disused. Between the 1971 1:2,500 and the 1978 1:1,250 OS maps, the weaving sheds were removed, leaving the spinning blocks with the main chimney, the gatehouse and the canteen building. The building was listed in this configuration in 1979.

Permissions were granted in 1983 for conversion of the mill to flats. Regrettably the conversion resulted in the loss of the northern end of the cross-wing and the chimney, as well as a later two-storey, ten-bay riverside building attached to the spinning block. Consent was also granted in 1986 for an enclosed staircase, believed to be the full-height outshut now on the rear wall. In latter years the warehouse over the river was used as a canteen, and subsequently became a pub. In December 2015 floods caused substantial collapse of this block, and the remaining structure was immediately demolished to protect the public.

The east and west walls of the spinning block have similar stonework, but the windows are more closely spaced on the east wall, suggesting that the west wall represents a different phase. A straight vertical joint on the north wall, immediately west of the cross-passage, has the left jambs of former windows matching those to the left. Their truncation does not appear to be related to the conversion, and indicates earlier alteration to the western end of the spinning block. Also, the roof of the western end of the block is shown in historic photos to have been a continuation of the cross-wing’s roof. It is thus thought that the 1876 rebuilding comprised the addition of the cross-wing, replacing the western end of the earlier block but retaining its eastern end beyond the cross-passage. This suggests that the eastern end of the spinning block is probably that shown on the 1850 OS map. At the same time, it is thought that the south wall of the retained eastern end was refaced to match the new cross-wing, but with more elaborate decoration afforded to the new building and its prominent integral engine house. A photo thought to pre-date 1910 shows the large rectangular opening at ground floor in the south wall of the spinning block, which is now largely infilled with ashlar walling and windows but whose cast-iron lintel is still in situ. At its left-hand end this lintel also spans the south entrance of the cross-passage. The lintel is in sections and is assumed to be supported by columns now within the walling.

Joshua Hoyle and Sons was a firm of cotton spinners and manufacturers, originally founded by Joshua Hoyle in 1834 at Plantation Mill in Bacup. In 1854 his two youngest sons, Edward and Isaac, took over the family’s mills and its Manchester business respectively, Joshua dying in 1862. The company (motto: ‘no test like time’) gained a reputation for benevolent management and in 1873 its workers were given the opportunity to buy shares. In 1891 the firm had five mills operating 101,000 spindles and 3,000 looms. Brooksbottom Mill was then their principal production site with 61,560 spindles and 1,082 looms. In 1906 they moved the Manchester headquarters from Mosley Street to a new purpose-built steel-framed warehouse, National Heritage List for England (‘List’) entry 1271127.


A cotton spinning mill, later with integrated weaving and now in residential use, with late-C18 origins, extended and re-fronted in the late C19 and considerably reduced in the late C20, by architects Russell and Whitaker of Rochdale for Edward Hoyle of Joshua Hoyle and Sons.

MATERIALS: buff sandstone with slate roofs. Fletcher Bank Grit used for quoins and window surrounds.

PLAN: rectilinear with projecting stair towers, with separate rectilinear combined gatehouse and office to the south-west.

EXTERIOR: standing on the north bank of the River Irwell, to the east of the viaduct carrying the East Lancashire Railway across the river.

SPINNING BLOCK The (south) front wall is of nineteen bays and four storeys, in an Italianate palazzo style. It is built of regularly-coursed dressed stone beneath a parapet and moulded, bracketed cornice. The ends are framed by giant pilasters, with a 2-3-2 window pattern to the left half of the façade, separated by further giant pilasters. These seven bays have a ground-floor deep cornice and projecting ashlar sill band. Bays 6 and 7 have an integral engine-house in the lower three floors, with a rectangular channel in the blind stone of the ground floor, tall tripartite first-floor window and second-floor Diocletian window with (red and yellow) polychrome voussoirs. To the right of the engine-house the ground floor has two side-by-side entrances (one now blocked with a window), with moulded shoulders, relating to the cross-passage. These have a cast-iron lintel in two sections, which extends to the right by a further five sections. The four right-most sections have windows beneath, set in infill ashlar walling. To the right is an arched entrance with polychrome voussoirs and rough projecting impost blocks, and glazed panelled door. Further right are a shallow buttress and some blocked features. Above ground floor all of the other details are the same across the façade, broken only by the pilasters. Each floor has a continuous sill band. The first floor has polychrome segmental window arches surmounted by a string course. The second floor has polychrome round arches surmounted by an impost band. The third floor has an impost band, round arch heads with keystones and a string course linking the top of the keystones; this course runs across the pilasters. Bay 8, above the cross-passage, is slightly wider than the eleven bays to its right.

Set back to the left can be seen the south face of the projecting single-bay western stair tower. It has no bands or string courses, and is of random-coursed squared stone. The window openings match those of the main front but with quoined jambs; those of the first and second floors are set on landings below the main floors. The first-floor window has scroll ends to its oversailing moulding. At ground floor is a doorway with quoined jambs and polychrome arched head with alternate projecting voussoirs. This has a six-panelled door with fanlight above. The exterior angle is quoined, and the ogee eaves gutters supported by a dentilled course.

The left return is five bays wide, but the left-hand two bays are obscured by the stair tower. The three right-hand bays have the same bands and window openings as the south front, but with quoined jambs and random-coursed squared stone, except at the right where the front’s stonework and cornices return for a short length. The central third-floor window has a projecting jib and pulley, and the first-floor window below this has a plain stone lintel. The eaves gutter and dentilled course match those of the tower. The tower’s west face matches its front described above but with no ground-floor opening, and with each floor’s window half a floor down from the levels of the main block’s windows. The roofs are hipped and slated, with a central valley, and the tower roof hipped into the main roof.

The right return is of similar stonework to the left return and of the same width but is divided into six bays. These windows have simple squared stone sills and lintels. The ground floor is chamfered at the angle with the rear. Set back to the right is the blind east face of the north stair tower, with a roof pitching up to the principal eaves.

The (north) rear is of random-coursed squared stone, with dentilled eaves matching the returns. The pattern of fenestration mirrors the front, with eleven bays at the left, then a wider twelfth bay, and then 2-3-1, the right-hand bay being blind. There is no first-floor window to the tower to the right of this, but there is a segmental lintel arch in the stonework. The tower is flush but separated by a straight vertical joint. There is a similar joint between bays 12 and 13; at the right this is fully quoined but at its left is quoined only level with the window openings. Beneath a cast-iron lintel at ground floor in bay 12 is the wide, shouldered cross-passage opening. The windows adjacent to this have unglazed frames, the ones adjacent to those are infilled behind. Bay 18 has a modern entrance with large arch-roofed glazed canopy. Bay 3 has a projecting stair tower with windows between the main floors. All of the windows have quoined jambs and flat stone lintels and sills. All the windows are timber replacements, mostly of nine equal panes but with a heart and three radial panes in the semi-circular arches.

GATEHOUSE AND OFFICES The (north) front is single-storey, with six unevenly-spaced windows and a door at the right. The hipped slate roof is concealed by a parapet and the deep eaves cornice is supported by shaped stone brackets. The stone work is dressed and coursed, and there is a continuous sill band. The openings have polychrome segmental arches oversailed by a moulded string course. The doorway has a fanlight and paired doors each with three raised and fielded panels. To the right is an attached square gatepost with chamfered corners and pyramidal cap. Set back at the left is a small outshut with a lower roof, ogive cornice without brackets, and a single window.

The left return is blind, mostly obscured by the outshut. The right return has two windows matching the front. The rear wall facing the river matches the front in detailing and has six evenly-spaced windows, plus a small window in the outshut. The building stands above a coursed rock-faced stone retaining wall which continues to the left and right; the upper course is ashlar across the face of the gatehouse, forming a plinth to it.

INTERIORS: not inspected.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: an area of stone setts forms a forecourt at the entrance to the site and continues halfway along the front of the spinning block. Set within this is a mounted cast-iron piece of the power machinery.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hartwell, C, Hyde, M, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Lancashire: Manchester and the South-East, (2004, reprinted 2010 with corrections), 659
Historic England county building stone atlases, accessed 13 September 2018 from
Information about Joshua Hoyle and Sons, accessed 28/12/17 from
Information on Joshua Hoyle and Sons at Grace's Guide to British Industrial Industry, accessed 28/12/17 from
Local history website, accessed 01/02/17 from
Local history website, accessed 01/02/17 from


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: 18 Aug 2000
Reference: IOE01/02776/04
Rights: Copyright IoE Ms Pamela Jackson. Source Historic England Archive
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