In the last few weeks we’ve seen the iconic chimney stack of the old Mondi Paper Mill start to be demolished. Although it will not be completely removed – just having a third of it’s current height taken off, it will still change the scenery of Ramsbottom which has remained since the mid 1800’s.
The primary reason for this is safety, having sat unused since 2008 the chimney and site have both became unsafe. In 2014 a 60 metre exclusion zone was constructed around the chimney and site to prevent accidents.
Since the chimney is changing forever, I thought I would dedicate an episode of the podcast to go into a little detail about the history of that iconic chimney.
The majority of the information obtained for this episode was from a report drawn up in 2014. The owners of the land commissioned a heritage report from Atelier Urban Architects. This report goes into great detail with regards to the chimney, the mill and it’s importance to the town through our history.
Ramsbottom Paper Mill, also known as Trinity and Holcombe Paper Mill was owned by James Broadbent Ingham who was born in 1815 in Bradford. James eventually entered into partnership with Joseph Hughes and Joseph Barnes at White Hall Paper Mill in Chapel-en-le-Frith between 1838 and 1848.
James then went into partnership with his brother Samual Broadbent Ingham at the Shuttleworth Paper Mill from 1848 soon building his own mill on the Irwell in Ramsbottom.
There is some slight variation over the original build date of the mill, one source providing a date of 1859 another source references 1865 and one final source gives a construction year of around 1857.
We can certainly assume that the building has been there at least the past 150 years or so.
The chimney originally stood at a height of around 46 meters constructed of brick, common for the construction period.
Prior to the demolition works, the chimney had a metal conical flue on top which would have been an additional modification towards the latter part of the twentieth century.
The purpose of this flue addition will have been to improve the performance of the chimney and to weatherproof.
Paper production was a large industry in the 19th and 20th century across Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Traditionally, the paper was made using rags and cloth, which there was a good supply of around the area due to the textile industry boom in and around Manchester. Greater Manchester is still one of the largest suppliers of paper in the whole of the UK.
When other Mills were all functioning around the area, the supply of the River Irwell became a problem, this lead to the construction of a mill race and sluice, which is still there today running down the side of the mill site.
In addition to water power, the site required coal, this was transported in using the now East Lancashire Railway line, there was even a section track directly onto the site. This can be seen on this model on flickr constructed by the Ramsbottom Model Railway Club.
Although the chimney is not actually a registered building, it does fall within the Ramsbottom Conservation Area, due to this 15 meters of the chimney will be removed leaving around 30 meters remaining.
So what does the site hold now? Several suggestions over the years since the site closed had suggested that a couple of supermarkets were going to develop on the land, those being Netto and Sainsburys.
There have also been suggestions put forward that the site would be developed for residential properties.
What do you think should be built on the land?
Yesterday Ramsbottom United were supposed to have had their first home game in two months, however sadly yet again we had another match postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Could we possibly have the wettest pitch in non-league? If we had money we could invest in a 3G pitch or even an RNT (which stands for Reinforced Natural Turf) as these can have built in resistance to heavy rain.
Hopefully our next 6 matches, which incidentally are all at home, will be played and not rained off.
Here are some of the upcoming events on the Ramsbottom calendar, check out the events calendar here for most upcoming Ramsbottom events.
Date: Monday 22nd of February
Venue: Lolos Vegan and Raw
Sources for information:
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