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OS map 1846

Ordnance Survey Map surveyed 1844 published 1846

The first factories were built in the year 1844, the very first being Bank Mill erected by Lawrence Catterall. Four mills were operating by 1851 and it is apparent from the census of that year that changes were rapidly taking place in the town. There were now only 200 hand loom weavers but 608 power loom weavers.
Britannia Mill was built by John and Robert Clayton Mercer and Joseph Haydock in 1849-50. The mill was originally leased to Thomas Birtwistle, James Walmsley and Co. in 1850 but the builders took over the running of the mill in 1854. It was closed in 1869 but reopened in 1878 and then, after intermittent production in the early 1930s, finally closed in 1933. Bought by Great Harwood Urban District Council in 1937 it was demolished and eventually a nursery and a library were built on the site, these too being demolished to make way for the Co-Op, now Morrison’s, and the new library.
This was not the first cotton mill in this area though. In 1792 Henry and Richard Mercer took the lease on a ‘cotton mill for carding cotton in a meadow called Bank meadow in Lower Town and water wheel and other machinery, dam, lodge and water’. The lease ran for 21 years and the rent was £27 12s per year. Henry and Richard were uncles of John Mercer, the chemist, who said the mill had been behind the lowest pub in the town, which in his time was the Plough.
The Plough itself had originally been the farmhouse to Birches Farm and had been leased in 1850 by the builders of Britannia Mill. Later, in 1854, a new lease allowed them to use the building as a public house; this was a year after Victoria Mill was opened just to the east.
Further mills were built in Queen Street along Harwood Brook; Park View Mill in 1860 and Wellington Mill in 1863

Britannia Mill, Queen St
Britannia Mill
Source: R Marsden




Queen St 1851

Map source: Trappes-Lomax collection

Plough Inn, Queen St
Plough Inn
Source: Mrs M Goodliffe



When did Queen Street become Queen Street? It is not named in any census until that of 1861 and the plan of 1851 shows that at that time the western end of the street as far as where the Mercer Hall now stands was known as Hodgson Street and the eastern end from there known as Water Street, the present Water Street not having then been built. So sometime between 1851 and 1861 the street acquired its present name, presumably named for Queen Victoria.



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