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King's Mill

A Grade II Listed Building in Burnley, Lancashire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.8105 / 53°48'37"N

Longitude: -2.2005 / 2°12'1"W

OS Eastings: 386895

OS Northings: 434934

OS Grid: SD868349

Mapcode National: GBR FS2C.DS

Mapcode Global: WHB7Y.5HD4

Entry Name: King's Mill

Listing Date: 13 July 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1433792

Location: Briercliffe, Burnley, Lancashire, BB10

County: Lancashire

District: Burnley

Civil Parish: Briercliffe

Built-Up Area: Burnley

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Briercliffe St James

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Summary

A purpose-built cotton weaving factory of 1912 with a layout, construction techniques and power transmission system that are highly evolved.

Description

Cotton weaving mill of 1912 with some alterations, architect unknown.

MATERIALS: constructed of buff sandstone and red brick laid in a hard cementitious grey mortar, with slate and glazed roofs.

PLAN: King’s Mill comprises a large, single-storey rectangular structure incorporating a weaving shed, offices, loading bay, warehouse and power block, including its original chimney.

EXTERIOR: the primary elevation faces W onto Queen St. It has 16 bays in total, comprising, in the northern 14 bays, a showroom, preparation block and warehouse to the weaving shed, and to the S the power-plant of engine and boiler houses. The warehouse block is of regularly-coursed and rock-faced stone with ashlar dressings comprising a dentil parapet cornice and string courses at window-lintel, sill and plinth levels. Bays (from the left) 6 and 7 have a pedestrian door and loading door which share a surround with alternating quoins and an ashlar separating pier. Between this and the lintel course, five shallow stone corbels with a raised ashlar label above them probably indicate a sign hoarding for the main entrance. The remaining bays each have a large rectangular window with a shallow projecting sill, and the internal corners of each jamb are tooled to a drafted finish. Windows are timber casements, probably replacements.

The southern end of the building comprises engine and boiler houses, each with a gabled roof, that to the southern boiler house being slightly lower, and each with coped parapets with kneelers. These bays project forward of the remainder of the elevation by the same depth as the ashlar pier at the northern end, framing the coarser stonework of the warehouse block. The coursed sandstone has a regular patterned finish with drafted margins. The blockwork below lintel height in the southern bay comprises larger blocks of ashlar masonry, suggesting the infilling of an aperture that was originally wide enough to receive the two boilers. The engine house is symmetrical with a pedestrian doorway at the centre flanked by a window either side, with three taller windows above. The doorway has a shallow four-centred arch lintel and square section jambs. Immediately above the windows is a large block with a small arched hole, which probably accommodated the beam from which tackle was suspended for installing and maintaining the engine (this is in-situ at Queen Street Mill opposite). Behind this front block, not visible from the ground, a higher gable probably marks the portion of the building that housed the large rope-wheel whose axle formed the drive-shaft along the western wall of the weaving shed. The boiler house is plain with a large loading door to the left and to the right an inserted pedestrian door with an overlight.

Returning to the right, the S elevation is constructed of dark red engineering brick, laid in uninterrupted stretcher coursing. Reading from the left, the elevation steps up twice; once with a parapet and metal water tank just before the chimney, and immediately after the chimney; this marks the junction between power-plant and weaving shed. There are various inserted openings, and some replacement windows. In the left-hand third, a large iron lintel appears to mark the insertion of the electricity sub-station; the opening has been partially infilled in two phases. Below the water tank a narrow plank door with six-light fanlight appears to be original, together with the opening to the right; these served the economiser. A lower doorway further right giving access to the chimney is bricked up. To the right the formerly largely blind wall of the weaving shed has had several openings and a brick terrace added, but the vents and octagonal cast-iron rainwater hoppers in each bay largely survive.

The E elevation is largely blank in similar brickwork to the S. The N elevation is constructed of watershot sandstone, with three doorways and 19 square high-level vents, some blocked but many retaining their wooden shutters, with stone sills and lintels. The roof is concealed by a parapet, but of ‘north-light’ construction, although orientated more to the E than the N; the power-plant has slate pitched roofs. The circular chimney tapers gradually to a collar at approximately 15m and then rises vertically to the oversailing crown, with a total height of approximately 21m. It is constructed of curved red brick laid in three-stretcher English Garden Wall bond, with approximately 16 steel straps at regular intervals.

INTERIOR: internally, the mill has been subdivided into several modern units using concrete block-work, and modern finishes have been applied to significant parts of the building which may obscure further historic detail. At the time of survey, access was either not possible or very limited in the NW quarter of the building, the central portion of the southern half of the building and the former boiler house. Despite the subdivision of the building the basic original plan form survives. This consists of a large, approximately square weaving shed to the E, with a two-brick thickness partition wall on its western side to the preparation block/warehouse and the power-plant. The power-plant intrudes slightly into the weaving shed, to facilitate the transmission of power into the shed.

The western three bays, fronting onto Queen Street, formed a single-storey ancillary block, probably combining the functions of showroom & offices to the N, loading bay in the centre and preparation block and warehouse to the S. This is now subdivided with modern concrete block partitions. The north-light roof has seven cast-iron valley gutters, supported by crossways steel I-section beams which required only two rows of internal columns, giving a more open floor space. Raking T-section cast-iron supports extend up to the roof apex from the edge of each gutter, with rows of six narrow lights set in timber frames between each raking support. The columns themselves are plain and there is little evidence of provision for line-shafting. There is evidence for power in the room, however, with bearing-boxes and large cast-iron brackets fixed to the walls. The windows have cambered brick arches formed in headers, bull-nose jambs and projecting wooden sills. Doorways in the E wall gave access to the weaving shed.

The weaving shed has a further 19 valleys of the same north-light roof structure but here the circular cast-iron columns (4½ inches in diameter) directly support each valley, set at 20’ centres along the N-S axis and 10’ along the E-W axis. Each of the columns has a flat bolting face to the S to carry line shafting. Although the structural members were not visible, the southern pitch is finished in laths and coated in plaster, whilst the underside of the gutters is clad in timber, with several bolting plates for mid-bay line-shaft hangers. In each bay, lateral support is enhanced by the use of wrought-iron bars located just above gutter height. The columns in the eastern three bays have been removed, and several replaced with modern I-section steel equivalents to allow greater access, while many of the roof windows have also been replaced with larger three-light units. Two doorways on the E wall contain modern fire doors; the northern one retains its cast-iron steps beneath a later timber replacement. Numerous ventilation apertures are visible internally, with one retaining its timber shutter. Two shallow niches, probably used to house tackler’s benches, were observed within the W wall, with a cambered brick arch and bull-nosed jambs.

The engine house is a long, narrow single-storey structure, split over two levels and now used as an office and store. The raised section of roof had two glazing bands above the upper purlin, but was not available for internal inspection. The western part of the engine house has been extensively modified with modern finishes and changes in floor level hiding any surviving original features, but within a small cupboard, green glazed tiles on the southern face of the northern wall are identical to those in the engine house of the adjacent Queen Street Mill. The timber-clad ceiling also survives. Steel I-section beams forming the tie-beams of the trusses would have been used during the installation and maintenance of the engine. The south-eastern part of the boiler house retains elements of the inserted electrical sub-station, including a cambered brick arch at its western end, which may be a niche for a fuse array. The economiser retains its roof-top water tank and a cast-iron lintel for the aperture housing the flue between the boilers and economiser, and a cambered-arch six-light window.

History

King’s Mill was built for the firm of Mason, West, and Bather, and was put into production in September 1912. It was known locally as ‘Dawdy’s Mill’, after one of the partners, George Mason, and the mill engine was named ‘William’ after William West. In 1960 the mill was taken over by John Grey Ltd, who also owned Livingstone and Cameron Mills in Burnley. The new firm immediately implemented a three-shift system at the mill. King’s Mill was the last of those owned by John Grey Ltd to remain in operation, and did not close until the early 1980s. At the time of inspection the mill buildings were used by a variety of small businesses.

The mill is a single-phase building. The only notable addition is the insertion of an electricity sub-station into the southern part of the boiler house, and although this is undated, it probably happened concurrently with, or shortly after the introduction of an electricity supply to the neighbouring Queen Street Mill in 1947. The boiler house appears to have been arranged to house two Lancashire boilers, as at Queen Street Mill, and it may similarly have had these installed at different times, or possibly never had a second boiler inserted. The installation of the electrical supply in the southern part of the boiler house suggests that the northern boiler remained in use until installation was complete, at which point the economiser was removed to install the meters and fuse array. Following closure the mill has been subject to some modifications with some application of modern finishes, removal of columns, replacement of roof windows and addition of various openings and extensions. However, it is considered that elements of the original engine house, possibly including the engine bed, survive beneath later floors and partitions.

Reasons for Listing

King’s Mill, a cotton weaving mill of 1912 with C20 and C21 alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Regional distinctiveness: in its design as a specialised cotton weaving factory including a full-height chimney of considerable architectural merit;
* Technological interest: as one of the most technologically advanced purpose-built weaving mills to have been erected in Lancashire, in the structural design of the north-light shed and in the power transmission arrangement;
* Group value: with the Grade I listed Queen Street Mill on the opposite side of the street, with which it shares identical external architectural detailing and which also has a surviving tall chimney.

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