A History Of The Mills

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Peter Hartley founded Greenroyd as a worsted spinner in 1830. It is to be believed the first in the district.

Peter Hartley had five sons.

John the eldest who took over the mill in November 1831.

James owned Hayfield Mill and lived at Hayfield House, Glusburn. His daughter Elizabeth Ann married John Cousins Horsfall. James married twice, his investments included Crosshills Water Company and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Stock.

Richard lived at Greenhill, Crosshills, his obituary describes him as a manufacturer.

Peter’s home was at Wheatlands, Crosshills. In business as a Wool Stapler, he was practically the last of the original worsted spinners.

William, Worsted manufacturer, employed 58 men, 12 women, 2 girls and 3 boys, this was 1851, possibly some of these were outworkers. The family home was prospect house.

John William inherited from his father William. John William was a bachelor dying, like his father, at the age of fifty-nine.

John Hartley who was the eldest of Peter’s five sons took over the mill at the age of twenty-two, after his father’s death.

The mill worked seventy-five hours a week, six of the employees under ten years of age.

The Mill was powered by steam and water supplied by Sutton Beck.

John Hartley was a bachelor he died on the 8th September 1848 and bequeathed the mill to William Hartley his brother.

William extended the mill in 1880, this section referred to as the New Mill, three storeys high, with attics and cellars, the out-jutting section down the centre containing toilets, built of local stone.

A wide stone steel-edged stairway connects the two buildings, a second one with worn steps is spiral and near the Engine House, this new section was for machinery, by now power came from a beam engine.

Williams only son John William Hartley inherited the mill from his father in 1883. Along with other manufacturers, the firm had many business connections in Bradford. On taking over the business which employed 150, Mr Hartley gained the reputation of a good master.

At a sale in 1906 he purchased property in the Ellers, Park Row, Ethel Street, Dophin Row.

Most of the houses and cottages in the older part of the village were owned by him and many hillside farms.

At the time of his death Mr Hartley resided at Sutton Hall, he suffered from sciatica for about a year with other contributory illness.

Mr Hartley did not forget about the people who worked for him in his will and also left a gift to the Village of Otter Holes about four and a quarter acre for a park and £1,000 for upkeep.

Mr Hartley never married. Miss E Hartley, his cousin, became tenant for life. Greenroyd Mill was put up for auction in 1911, the rest of the property in 1933.

Mr James Bairstow bought Greenroyd Mill on the 3rd November 1911.

The Bairstow family owned mills in the village from 1809, first a corn mill then in 1838 Sutton Mills, founded by Mr. Thomas and Mr. Matthew Bairstow. At this time a steam engine was installed which generated 7 h.p. in addition to the 40 h p. produced by the water wheel. Mr John Bairstow Spencer became a partner in 1868.

T & M Bairstow, Sutton Mills

The firm passed into the hands of Mr. James Bairstow, born at the Knot, Eastburn, the only son of Matthew, and made partner in 1874, going through all of the processes of spinning and manufacturing while working for his father in his teens.

Sutton Mills by 1920 had two powerful steam engines are installed to drive the mills of spinning and weaving. They were given the names of Hannah and Victoria. The water wheel was removed in 1923 after being used for adding to the engine power for many years.

At this time his nephew, Lieut. Colonel C.M. Bateman had been made junior partner. In the following years Colonel N. B Chaffers became a director.

The firm progressed to be one of the chief spinners and manufacturers in the North and also the whole of England.

Mr. Malcom and Mr. Dan Bateman were the next to run the firm, in 1963 they appointed Mr. F C. Tetley, Mr. W. A. Tucker, and Mr Frank Thornton of Greenroyd Mill, directors.

Unfortunately, and regretfully for workers, the village and all connected with T & M Bairstow, in early 1970 spinning ceased, later production and weaving stopped.

The mill closed after 142 years.

Silentnight Holdings, bed manufacturers, purchased the buildings, discontinuing their production in 1995 to move out of the village.

August 1996, equipment for demolition arrived at his magnificent local millstone grit building, once employing 1,000 workers.

On the 30th June 1966 workers all assembled in a warehouse at Greenroyd Mills, where Mr A. D. Bateman announced the change in ownership, to part of Wm. Hutchinsons, Holybrook Mills, Greengates, who are part of the Courtaulds Group.

From the 1st July 1966, Hartleys hove no connection with Sutton Mill.

By this time wool textiles had seen a change, the machines processing more man-made fibres, Messrs. Hutchinson spun fancy yarns.

They built an extension, ground floor, in 1971, this was filled with modern machinery bought in from Europe.

In 1975 a kitchen, canteen, staff dining room and toilets opened in the former wool sorting department.

On Friday, 1st February 1980, workers were instructed to stop machinery, clean, sweep out and to be in the canteen at 4pm.

Wm. Hartleys, Greenroyd Mill to close in 90 days. The end of an era.