McConnel & Company's mills, c.1913
|Structural system||Tallest cast iron structure in the world when built|
|Location|| Ancoats |
Royal Mill, 1797
Sedgewick New Mill, 1912
Paragon Mill, 1912
|Management|| McConnel & Kennedy |
McConnel & McConnel Co.
Fairbairn Engineering Co. (1865)
|Structural engineer||Fairbairn and Lillie|
|Other designers|| A. H. Stott|
H. S. Porter
|Engine maker||Boulton and Watt|
|Engine type||Double-acting beam engines|
|Flywheel diameter||24 feet (7.3 m)|
|Transmission type||Drive shaft|
McConnel & Kennedy Mills are a group of cotton mills on Redhill Street in Ancoats, Manchester, England. With the adjoining Murrays' Mills, they form a nationally important group.
A cotton mill is a building housing spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton, an important product during the Industrial Revolution in the development of the factory system.
Ancoats is an area of Manchester in North West England, next to the Northern Quarter, the northern part of Manchester city centre.
Murrays' Mills is a complex of former cotton mills on land between Jersey Street and the Rochdale Canal in the district of Ancoats, Manchester, England. The mills were built for brothers Adam and George Murray.
The complex consists of six mills, Old Mill built in 1797, Long Mill from 1801 and Sedgewick Mill built between 1818 and 1820. A further phase of building in the early 20th century added Sedgewick New Mill in 1912, Royal Mill, originally the New Old Mill built in 1912 but renamed in 1942, and Paragon Mill also built in 1912. Paragon Mill at eight storeys high was the world's tallest cast iron structure when it was built.
Royal Mill, which is located on the corner of Redhill Street and Henry Street, Ancoats, in Manchester, England, is an early-twentieth-century cotton mill, one of the last of "an internationally important group of cotton-spinning mills" sited in East Manchester. Royal Mill was constructed in 1912 on part of the site of the earlier McConnel & Kennedy mills, established in 1798. It was originally called New Old Mill and was renamed following a royal visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1942. A plaque commemorates the occasion. The Ancoats mills collectively comprise "the best and most-complete surviving examples of early large-scale factories concentrated in one area".
Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with a carbon content greater than 2%. Its usefulness derives from its relatively low melting temperature. The alloy constituents affect its colour when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impurities which allow cracks to pass straight through, grey cast iron has graphite flakes which deflect a passing crack and initiate countless new cracks as the material breaks, and ductile cast iron has spherical graphite "nodules" which stop the crack from further progressing.
The first phase of mills in Manchester such as Garratt Mill (1760), Holt's Mills, Meredith's Factory (1760), Gaythorn Mill (1788), Wood Mill (1788) and Knott Mill (1792) were water-powered, taking their power from the River Medlock.Salvin's ran a room and power mill (1780) on the Shooters Brook in Ancoats, and here the partnership of Sandford, McConnel and Kennedy was formed. Salvin's factory failed to get enough power from Shooters Brook, so he improved the head of water with a Savery type steam-powered pump. In 1793 John Kennedy directly connected a spinning mule to a steam engine. On 2 March 1795 the partnership was terminated, McConnel and Kennedy moved to other premises in Derby Street. Kennedy manufactured and sold spinning mules until 1801.
The River Medlock is a river in Greater Manchester, England, which rises near Oldham and flows south and west for ten miles to join the River Irwell in Manchester city centre.
Savery is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
John Kennedy was a Scottish textile industrialist in Manchester.
The next phase of mills was powered by Boulton and Watt double-acting beam engines. Though flowing water was no longer required, a considerable amount of water was needed for the engines' condensors which was provided by a mill lodge, canal or brook. The first Boulton and Watt engine in Manchester was bought by Drinkwater's Mill in Piccadilly in 1789, and installed by the Birmingham company's prizefighting engineer, Isaac Perrins.
Boulton & Watt was an early British engineering and manufacturing firm in the business of designing and making marine and stationary steam engines. Founded in the English West Midlands around Birmingham in 1775 as a partnership between the English manufacturer Matthew Boulton and the Scottish engineer James Watt, the firm had a major role in the Industrial Revolution and grew to be a major producer of steam engines in the 19th century.
A beam engine is a type of steam engine where a pivoted overhead beam is used to apply the force from a vertical piston to a vertical connecting rod. This configuration, with the engine directly driving a pump, was first used by Thomas Newcomen around 1705 to remove water from mines in Cornwall. The efficiency of the engines was improved by engineers including James Watt who added a separate condenser, Jonathan Hornblower and Arthur Woolf who compounded the cylinders, and William McNaught (Glasgow) who devised a method of compounding an existing engine. Beam engines were first used to pump water out of mines or into canals, but could be used to pump water to supplement the flow for a waterwheel powering a mill.
Isaac Perrins was an English bareknuckle prizefighter and 18th-century engineer. A man reputed to possess prodigious strength but a mild manner, he fought and lost one of the most notorious boxing matches of the era, a physically mismatched contest against the English Champion Tom Johnson. Such was the mismatch that Perrins was described as Hercules fighting a boy.
James McConnel, served an apprenticeship with William Cannan in Chowbent, and moved to Manchester in 1788 to work for Alexander Egelsom a weft and twist dealer with a cotton spinning establishment on Newton Street, Ancoats. The Murrays probably used the same building. In 1791 McConnel joined the partnership with Sandford and Kennedy. By 1797 McConnel and Kennedy had built a mill with steam powered spinning mules. This was Old Mill, powered by a 16 hp Boulton and Watt engine in an external engine and boiler house. The seven-storey mill was 16 bays long and 4 bays deep and had a cupola on the roof.
The spinning mule is a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres. They were used extensively from the late 18th to the early 20th century in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer. The carriage carried up to 1,320 spindles and could be 150 feet (46 m) long, and would move forward and back a distance of 5 feet (1.5 m) four times a minute. It was invented between 1775 and 1779 by Samuel Crompton. The self-acting (automatic) mule was patented by Richard Roberts in 1825. At its peak there were 50,000,000 mule spindles in Lancashire alone. Modern versions are still in niche production and are used to spin woollen yarns from noble fibres such as cashmere, ultra-fine merino and alpaca for the knitware market.
In architecture, a cupola is a relatively small, most often dome-like, tall structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome.
Between 1801 and 1803, Long Mill was built, it was eight storeys high, 30 bays long by 4 bays deep, its 45 hp Boulton and Watt engine was placed in an internal engine house on the south side of the mill but the boilers were external. A tunnel and a bridge connected it to Old Mill. The Green Dragon public house on the corner of the plot, was left in situ. In 1809, a gas making plant was built on the site, and Long Mill became one of the first gas-lit mills. There were six gasometers and 1500 burners were fed by a 19mm pipe.
Colonel Sedgewick sold adjacent land to McConnel & Kennedy in 1817 and the four blocks of Sedgewick Mill were erected between 1818 and 1820. The largest, facing Redhill Street (Union Street), was eight storeys high and 17 bays long. The blocks were of fireproof construction. The mill's main drive shaft ran in a tunnel under the ground floor from the internal engine house which contained a 54 hp Boulton and Watt beam engine with a 24 feet (7.3 m) flywheel. William Fairbairn and James Lillie, designed and installed the shafting, which was unusual as the wings of the mill were offset at 15 degrees to the right angle. The main drive shaft powered a vertical shaft in each bay that ran to each floor. The company was the largest employer in Manchester at the time. John Kennedy retired in 1826, and the firm traded as McConnel & McConnel Co.
Alexis de Tocqueville, described Redhill Street Mill in 1835 as "... a place where some 1500 workers, labouring 69 hours a week, with an average wage of 11 shillings, and where three-quarters of the workers are women and children". During the Cotton Famine, the company obtained rights to Heilmann's combing machine.
As the century progressed, bigger and bigger machinery was used. The Fairbairn Engineering Company were employed to modify the structure of the mills in the mid-1860s. This involved replacing the old cast iron columns with new ones, each floor used a different technique.
Sedgewick New Mill, was an unusually narrow five-storey L shaped mill by A. H. Stott, designed for doubling sewing thread. It was Stott's second commission and neither party was satisfied with the result.McConnel became part of the Fine Spinners' and Doublers' Association Limited in 1898. Paragon Mill and New Old Mill were built in the Edwardian Baroque style by H. S. Porter using Accrington brick and terracotta. They had cast iron columns supporting transverse steel beams and reinforced concrete floors. Initially they were built with five-storeys and nine bays but a sixth storey was added later. The machinery was electrically driven and a new electricity substation was built in 1915. At the same time, Sedgewick New Mill and Long Mill were virtually rebuilt to take heavier equipment (usually this meant ring spinning frames).
The mills were visited by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1942. New Old Mill was renamed Royal Mill, it was extended, and cut Cotton Street with a new entrance arch claiming Royal Mill had been first built in 1797.
Spinning ceased in 1959, and the frames were sold. The buildings were bought by Leslie Fink who let out the space. The Long Mill was rented by the Flatley Drying Company, manufacturers of the Flatley clothes dryer invented by Andrew J. Flatley. In February 1959, the mill burned down and the site was redeveloped in 2001.
Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire, England, is one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution and is now a museum of the cotton industry. Built in 1784, the mill is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building, and inspired the 2013 television series The Mill. It was established by Samuel Greg. The mill was notable for the innovative approach to labour relations, largely as a result of the work of Greg's wife, Hannah Lightbody.
Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution in Britain was centred in south Lancashire and the towns on both sides of the Pennines. In Germany it was concentrated in the Wupper Valley, Ruhr Region and Upper Silesia, in Spain it was concentrated in Catalonia while in the United States it was in New England. The four key drivers of the Industrial Revolution were textile manufacturing, iron founding, steam power and cheap labour.
The Hat Works is a museum in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England, which opened in 2000. Before that, smaller displays of hatting equipment were exhibited in Stockport Museum and in the former Battersby hat factory.
William McConnel was a British industrialist and mill-owner from Lancashire, England. He founded the Aberdovey Slate Company that ran the Bryn Eglwys slate quarry from 1863 onwards and oversaw the construction of the associated Talyllyn Railway.
Fine Spinners and Doublers was a major cotton spinning business based in Manchester, England. At its peak it was a constituent of the FT 30 index of leading companies on the London Stock Exchange.
Shudehill Mill or Simpson's Mill was a very early cotton mill in Manchester city centre, England. It was built in 1782 by for Richard Arkwright and his partners and destroyed by fire in 1854. It was rebuilt and finally destroyed during the Manchester Blitz in 1940. One of Arkwright's larger mills, it was built three years before his patent lapsed. The mill had a 30 feet diameter water wheel and a Newcomen atmospheric engine was installed. Doubts remain as to why the engine was installed, whether it was a failed attempt to power a mill directly by steam or was modified to assist the wheel. It is possible that this engine, constructed by Hunt, could have been one of the 13 engines installed in Manchester mills by Joshua Wrigley. Water from the upper storage pond turned the water wheel to drive the mill. The steam engine recycled water from the lower storage pond to the upper storage pond. Three more Boulton and Watt engines were installed to power the increasing number of spindles.
Brunswick Mill, Ancoats is a former cotton spinning mill in Ancoats, Manchester, England. The mill was built around 1840, part of a group of mills built along the Ashton Canal, and at that time it was one of the country's largest mills. It was built round a quadrangle, a seven-storey block facing the canal. It was taken over by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in the 1930s and passed to Courtaulds in 1964. Production finished in 1967.
Kingston Mill, Stockport is a mid nineteenth century cotton spinning mill in Edgeley, Stockport, Greater Manchester. It was taken over by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in the 1930s and passed to Courtaulds in 1964. Production finished, it was made over to multiple uses.
Ellenroad Mill was a cotton spinning mill in Newhey, Milnrow, Rochdale in England. It was built as a mule spinning mill in 1890 by Stott and Sons and extended in 1899. It was destroyed by fire on 19 Jan 1916. When it was rebuilt, it was designed and equipped as a ring spinning mill.
Old Mill, completed in 1798 as part of Murrays' Mills, is the oldest surviving cotton mill in Manchester, England. Sited on the Rochdale Canal in Ancoats, it was powered by a Boulton and Watt steam engine, and its narrow six-storey brick structure "came to typify the Manchester cotton mill". Old Mill was designated a Grade II* listed building on 20 June 1988.
Thomas Hewes was a millwright, textile machine manufacturer and civil engineer professionally active in England from 1790 to 1830. He was born in Beckenham Kent in 1768.
Piccadilly Mill, also known as Bank Top Mill or Drinkwater's Mill, owned by Peter Drinkwater, was the first cotton mill in Manchester, England, to be directly powered by a steam engine, and the 10th such mill in the world. Construction of the four-storey mill on Auburn Street started in 1789 and its 8 hp Boulton and Watt engine was installed and working by 1 May 1790. Initially the engine drove only the preparatory equipment and spinning was done manually. The mill-wright was Thomas Lowe, who had worked for William Fairbairn and helped with the planning two of Arkwright's earliest factories.
Havelock Mills in central Manchester were built between 1820 and 1840. It was probably the largest surviving silk mill in the north-west region in the 1970s and had a unique combination of silk and cotton mills on one site. It was a landmark on the Rochdale Canal, overlooking Tib Lock, one of the Rochdale Nine.
Swan Lane Mills is a former cotton mill complex in Bolton, Greater Manchester. All three mills are Grade II* listed buildings. The mills were designed by Stott and Sons of Oldham. When completed, the double mill was the largest spinning mill in the world. It was granted Grade II* listed status on 26 April 1974. Number 3 Mill was separately listed as Grade II* on the same day.
Chorlton New Mills is a former large cotton spinning complex in Cambridge Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, England which has since been converted to apartments.