There is little definite evidence of textile production at Cherry Clough in the early years of the 19th Century – but there are clues to strongly imply that something of the like was taking place at this hillside hamlet on the New Hey Road, just above Denshaw.
The first reference to wool manufacture is an entry in Pigot and Dean’s Directory of 1821 which mentions a John Gartside, wool merchant, of Cherry Clough. Prior to his death in 1836 he is mentioned as such several times, as are Joseph Bigwood, a cloth dresser, in 1822; Abraham Gartside, a wool manufacturer, in 1828, and F. Barnes in 1834.
In his will of 1836, John Gartside writes, “whereas I have in part erected a certain building at Cherry Clough, intended for a factory--- my executors and trustees shall complete the same, and if my personal estate is insufficient then I give my trustees power to mortgage the whole or part thereof of my real estate to raise sufficient sums to complete the same”.
By 1840 ownership is vague, but there is reference to “ messuages in the occupation of Jabey Broadbent, Frederick Barnes and others plus buildings nearby lately used for dyeing and scouring wool”.
Moses Shaw is listed by White in 1842 as a wool printer, as he is again in 1847. John Gartside the younger is a wool merchant at Cherry Clough, in 1848-52, but the Church Rates book of 1852 lists James Radcliffe as the owner of the “warehouse and dyehouse”.
There are references to James Andrew and Co., Thomas Wrigley, and Joseph Whitehead in 1853, but, by 1860 it would appear that the owner, James Radcliffe had extended the enterprise, because he needed a £600 mortgage, and he had already “built a cotton mill or factory on part of said land, plus engine house, boiler house and warehouse”.
References in the 1860s mention W.R. Gartside, a wool printer, several times, and by 1867 it would appear that James Shaw & Co., of Stubbings Delph, a shawl manufacturer, was pursued by the owner James Radcliffe for non-payment of rent for 14 yrs (£76).
In June 1870 James Radcliffe sold the mill to George and Charles Taylor, of Huddersfield Road, Oldham, for £1000. The mill had been empty for three years at the time.
Throughout the 1870s and 80s there is regular Directory listing of James Andrew, a shawl and flannel manufacturer of Cherry Clough, and in 1880 the owner George Taylor sells the mill back to James Radcliffe for £680 to pay off a mortgage.
The last reference is in 1896 when John Rowntree, an Oldham solicitor, sells the mill to Mr. S.A. Shaw, a farmer from Cherry Clough, on behalf of the estates of Hannah Roberts, the sister of James Radcliffe. The sale for £235, included “the farm called Cherry Clough and the stone contained in the old mill and chimney now on the said land”.
The farm is on the left of this photograph. The building pattern has changed little over the years in this area, and there is little map evidence to show exactly where the mill was.
Cherry Clough farm is still there, and by the side are two modern houses, that were perhaps built on the site of the original mill, between the stream and the roadside.