This is Milnrow

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Milnrow is situated at the foot of the pennines at Junction 21 of the M62 motorway in Greater Manchester in the south east of the historical county of Lancashire.

Lying between Rochdale and Oldham, 10 miles N.NE. of the city of Manchester, it is bounded to the north by the Rochdale Canal and to the east by the Pennine Hills and the districts of Calderdale and Kirklees in the administrative county of West Yorkshire.

Click on pictures to get a larger version

Milnrow from Tunshill with M62 in background.

M62 Looking west from Tunshill bridge.

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Its history can be traced back to the Norman conquest of Britain, lands controlled by the de Butterworths, de Turnaghs, de Birchinleghs, de Schofields, de Wylds and Cleggs became the township of Butterworth.   Most of these names still exist either as farms or street names. 

The current name , Milnrow, Could have developed, via the corruption of the old pronunciation of Millner Howe, from the existence of a water driven corn mill mentioned in deeds of 1568 at a place called Mill Hill on the river Beal. Eilert Ekwall "The Place-Names of Lancashire" (1922) Reprinted EP Publishing 1972 cites sources showing Mylnerowe 1545, Milneraw 1577 and Milnehouses/Millhus 1292. Attempts to link the name to the Milne family (John or 'Earthquake' Milne) are erroneous.

The village has taken the form of a main street with developments on either side into the surrounding countryside.

The main street has various names on its journey through the village, Rochdale Road, Bridge Street, Dale Street and Newhey Road.  

This is a view of Dale Street looking towards Rochdale>

For centuries the occupation of the local inhabitants was agriculture but iron stone smelting and hand loom weaving also took place, as seen from the numerous weavers' cottages, which have survived to the present day.

The industrial revolution brought coal mining, water and then  steam powered mills and the railway.

This view is of the old fire station and town hall.

Milnrow was governed between 1870 and 1894 by a local board.This was superceded in 1890 by the Milnrow Urban District Council which had jurisdiction for local services over 5200 acres until it too was dissolved during the local government reforms of 1974, when its duties were taken over by the new Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council. 

In 2001 the state of the Carnegie Library, the old town hall and fire station were giving cause for concern due to extensive dry rot. It was eventually decided to sell off the site of the fire station and town hall for redevelopment, with the proceeds of the sale being used to refurbish the library building. However, this decision has caused controversy as the buildings had been used for communal use and now those groups would be 'homeless'. The pictures below were taken on 14 February 2002, a bright winter morning. Workmen were already removing roofing materials from the town hall. Click on the pictures to see a bigger version.

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As previously mentioned, industry in Milnrow started with the hand loom weaving of woollen goods.   This was done in two and three storey cottages which had a long top floor with plenty of windows for illumination.   In the course of time, the local River Beal was harnessed, providing water power, which enabled bigger mills to be developed.  In association with the woollen industry were the fellmongering yards.   Fellmongers removed the remaining hair from sheep skins, the hairless skins being further processed elsewhere into leather.   Various grades of woollen goods could be produced by blending different quantities of shorn and stripped wool.  To reflect the importance of wool to the area, the badge of the Chairman of Milnrow Council included a fleece in its design.

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Around 1870 the change from wool to cotton began and by the start of the twentieth century the cotton trade had become the staple of the district lasting until its general demise in the 1960-1980 period.

The demolition of one of the last cotton mills in Milnrow 1996

Coal mining has also played a part in Milnrow's industrial history.    Mines have ranged from simple holes in the ground to drift mines and a deep mine at Butterworth Hall.   Opened in1862, this closed as a mine in 1928 but after closure was used for several years as a source of water for Oldham Corporation's reservoirs in the hamlet of Ogden.    Capped ventilation shafts and spoil heaps can be seen throughout the area.

Modern industry includes:- Engineering, packaging materials, dyeing and finishing, greetings cards, ink manufacture, timber buildings .

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Holroyds (PTG Group)

Sonoco site on Station Road

Sun Chemical

Local Links

Rochdale M.B.C.
Rochdale On Line Another site about Rochdale.
Milnrow Town



Milnrow history and old photographs: Milnrow and Newhey a Lancashire Legacy; Tim Hignett; Milnrow Literary and Scientific Society. Published by George Kelsall book seller and publisher, 27 Church Street; Littleborough 1991

This web site supports the right of photographers to go about their business without being harassed.