Situated on the opposite side of the river Tame from the older established Rasping Mill, Lumb Mill was already in existence by 1796. The actual date of its building is difficult to establish, but in 1796 Joseph Lawton, a Delph shopkeeper, came into possession of Henry Buckley’s (of Hillend, Delph) half share of a “mill erected on the north corner of Joseph Lawton’s close called Midgreave Meadow near Delph, bounded on the south by the said meadow, on the west by the river Tame, on the north by land of the said Henry Buckley and on the east by the land of Henry Whitehead”.
It seems Joseph Lawton and Henry Buckley had established the mill prior to 1790. It was probably used for fulling, carding and scribbling, for these processes are indicated in a Deed of 1801, when Joseph Lawton was mortgaging the mill to bankers in Huddersfield. At that time the mill was in the occupation of James Beswick, William Haigh and James Lawton (Joseph’s son). The Lawtons also had interests at both Rasping and Shore Mills at this time.
By 1804 the mill was being used for cotton spinning. This is indicated by a Deed of transfer of mortgage to John Worthington of Altrincham, which mentions, “the building sometime since built by Joseph Lawton and Henry Buckley, on land belonging to Henry Buckley, and is now used as a cotton mill called Lumb Mill and now in the occupation of Joseph Lawton”. There is reference again in this Deed to Lawton’s other interests in Rasping Mill. The actual occupier of the mill can only be guessed at, but Commercial Directories of 1814 and 1818 mention James Lawton, a cotton spinner of Delph, and various Directories 1814-1824 record Winterbottom, Buckley and Mitton as wool merchants at New Delph.
When you see the proximity of Rasping, Lumb and even Shore Mills (just off map) it is hardly surprising that shared ownership is a recurring feature of their histories.
By 1824 the mill was being worked as a woollen mill once more by Lees, and Platt & Co. James Lees of New Delph, had come into part ownership of the mill, alongside interests at Rasping and Shore Mills. A Deed at this time describes the mill as “being formerly used for scribbling and fulling”, but now probably turned over to the finishing of woollen cloth. This is further confirmed in a Deed of 1825, which reports Robert Platt to be the tenant of James Lees at Lumb Mill.
By 1832 the mill was being worked solely by James Lees of Delph Lodge, and finishing had been replaced by fulling. The 1835 Church Rates Book shows him to be owner and occupier of the mill, along with “a new mill, store and warehouse”.
James Lees was still here in 1842 according to Slater, but by May 3rd 1845 the Manchester Guardian advertises the mill to let. The O.S. map of the same year shows the mill to be used for both wool and cotton.
There is further reference to “the new mill” in 1847 and Schofield and Broadbent were reported to be cotton spinners at New Delph, and Slater’s Directory refers to a John Broadbent, “a cotton spinner at Lumb Mill” in1853. The owner was still James Lees, who continued to own the mill until 1870.
Sometime between 1853 and 1861 the mill became occupied by J.W. Baber, though still being used for the production of cotton cloth. He was there until 1864 at least according to Jones. Wrigley tells us that the mill was not rated in 1870, so we can reasonably assume that it was empty.
According to various sources, cotton spinning was back on the agenda by 1874,but when Sykes and Co took over the premises in 1880 it reverted once more to wool. They were still producing flannel at Lumb Mill until 1898 when the Reporter informs us that Sykes and Co. had moved to Bankfield Mill, Dobcross.
The mill remained empty for a number of years, and the next reference is made when Astburn and Pickford employed 131 in their calico mill. Calico production and dyeing continued at least to 1935.
In 1967 Compoflex took over the premises producing flexible tubing. Much of the mill has now been demolished, and what remains are small industrial units.
This is Lumb Mill today. The river is immediately on the right, and just off picture to the left is the site of the old mill chimney, and millpond.