Rasping Mill also known as Valley Mill
In 1773 James Farrer leased for 150 yrs to “John Booth of Manchester, Samuel Norrot of Manchester, John Whitehead of Delph and James Farrand of Swainscroft”, a piece of land containing 2793 sq.yds, set out for a Rasping mill, being part of Gatehead Tenement, with liberty to build a weir.”
By October 1775 the mill was working and it would appear that Booth and Norrot were now owners, but a Deed of the same year indicates that assignees of John Booth disposed of his half share to Samuel William Rigley, a drysalter of Quickwood, in 1777. The mill it seems was used for the chipping, rasping and grinding of dyer’s wood.
In 1778 the mill came into the occupation of Joseph Lawton, and Thomas Buckley of Tamewater, and a Deed of that year indicates that James Farrer turned all his rights in Rasping Mill over to these two men.
In1781 Samuel William Ryley sold his half share in the mill to John Harrop junior, a clothier of Dobcross. By 1786 the mill was carrying on some scribbling, as there is reference in Directories to both Thomas Wood and Robert Mellor, “as scribblers at Rasping Mill”.
By 1787 there is further reference to Joseph Lawton, Thomas Buckley, and their partners being in occupation of the mill.
By 1794 John Harrop, the younger, of Dobcross, and James Harrop of Tamewater took further interest in the mill.
In 1801 Joseph Lawton, of Delph, mortgaged his quarter share in the mill, “in water mill called Delph Rasping Mill and dwellinghouses, and buildings used as a store or drying house, next to the mill, all in the occupation of James Lawton and Robert Mellor.” This mortgage was transferred in 1804 to John Worthington, a gent, of Altrincham when the mill was in the occupation of Edmund and William Buckley.
By 1805 this quarter share was now in the hands of James Lees, of Delph, though still worked by the Buckleys. George Buckley, heir to Thomas Buckley’s quarter share in the mill, now passed this on to William Buckley Fox, of Tamewater in 1808. George Buckley’s other quarter share was sold to James Lees of New Delph in the same year.
At this time there is reference to Robert Mellor, scribbling at Rasping Mill, and 1811 valuations were as follows:- “the mill has two storeys, with one water wheel at £23, the other at £125. It also has one scribbling water wheel at £37, and the second at £47.”
The other half share in the mill, held originally by John Harrop, was sold (mortgaged?) to Abraham Schofield of Bleakheynook in March 1818.
The mill was now in the occupation of Edmund Buckley, who also had interests at Shore mill. In1825 he was still tenant but now alongside Henry Brierley.
In 1832 James Lees released his share in the mill to James Bradbury, a woolstapler, of New Delph.
Wrigley tells us that the old mill was pulled down in 1834, and the new mill was to be for the preparing and finishing of cloth. The 1835 Church Rates Book lists the owner of the mill as James Bradbury and the occupiers as Edmund Buckley and Henry Brierley.
James Lees worked the mill until 1838 when he died. The Manchester Guardian on 10th February lists the machinery for sale “the greater part of which is quite new”.
A willow patent teaser
6 double scribbling engines
3 slubbing billies
2 pairs of mules
5 pairs of double fulling stocks
1 pair of single fulling stocks
2 scouring machines
2 iron & 1 lead boiler
1 wool wash cistern
80yds double broad tenter
A further advertisement gave details of the mill, “lately rebuilt”. It was five storeys high, 21yds x 17yds, with a new water wheel and steam boiler, plus cottages and other buildings around.
The 1843 Church Rates Book claims the owner to still be James Bradbury, and the occupier to be Robert Hastings. Two years later the O.S. map shows the mill to be both wool and cotton.
It was about this time that Hastings Bros took over the mill. Later they were also to be at Eagle and Shore mills. They remained here as woollen manufacturers until 1860s. James Bradbury is certainly still the owner in 1852.
By 1867 Joseph Shaw & Co, flannel manufacturers were here. They were also at Shore and Squire mills. At this time about 116 were employed at the mill. They were here until 1911, and having left Warth Mill in 1899, they expanded here at Rasping. It was at this time that the new weaving shed was built over the lodge on the village side of the mill complex. In 1902 further buildings were added. Whilst the mill had been a flannel and shawl makers in the 1880s, hats were added in 1889, and by 1901 it was referred to as fancy flannel manufacturing mill with 7440 spindles and 80 looms.
In 1907 Armitage and Rhodes rented part of the mill for warping and weaving after the fire at Eagle Mill. Between 1911 and the early 20s Farmhill & Hirst, flannel manufacturers were at the mill.
In 1925 the mill was occupied by Saddleworth Woollen Co. and from that time to the present it has continuously worked producing high quality worsted materials, mainly for mens jackets and ladies skirts. Its zenith was probably during the 30s when 15000 spindles and 400 looms were running in the mill. In 1970, 169 were employed. Unfortunately, by the late 1990s trading conditions were proving very difficult, with overseas markets hard to maintain with the rise in the value of sterling. The company was put in the hands of the receiver in the summer of 1998, finally closing its gates as a textile mill on 26th November, with the loss of some 150 jobs. By the end of the year all machinery will have been sold and cleared and the mill will be truly “empty”.
A sad sight at any time, particularly two months before Christmas for 150 employees at Rasping Mill.
This sketch from 1878, when compared with the previous maps, shows how the mill grew over the years. The rather unplanned expansion of the 19th Century, was rationalised somewhat by the early 20th C. development over the top of the reservoir, along the Millgate side of the mill.