Broadbottom Community Association

History Project


Shaping a New Village

The Mills Expand

In the early 1800’s three Sidebottom brothers, William, George and Joseph, moved down from Hollingworth where their family were established as cotton spinners and built a large cotton-spinning mill on the banks of the Etherow on land bought from Mr Bostock of Broadbottom Hall. Other buildings were added here  in 1814 and 1827.

Weaving did not take place in the mills until the 1830s. At first water wheels were used to drive the machinery   but by1834 steam was supplementing water power. The weaving sheds on the photograph and drawing  to the right were added in 1846-50

By 1830 the village had undergone major development. The number of mills had expanded and new housing for the masters and men was built. Indeed the vicinity of Broadbottom, particularly in the last few years, has increased so much in buildings as to give it the appearance of a complete village.’   (Butterworth, 1827)

A new turnpike road was built linking the village more directly to Mottram and this significantly altered the geography of the village.  ‘The old road from Broadbottom to Hill End followed a tortuous path which was recut… into the smooth curve of the modern road.’ (Butterworth) There was a turnpike house where Hill End Lane joins the main road.



Working Lives  
‘The people of Broadbottom were some 30 years ago a contented happy race of factory operatives earning good wages…’
(Chadwick 1890's)
This is a rather rosy view from the 1890s when the impact of the cotton famine showed how precarious the livelihoods of mill hands could be. The mills depended on the labour of whole families. When weaving was mechanised, men were the spinners and women weavers because weaving was seen as less skilled, a fact reflected in wages. Child labour was widespread: they worked as big piecers, little piecers and scavengers. Most working people worked a 12 hour day. In the cotton industry generally, working in an atmosphere of fine cotton dust led to lung disease for many and there were many accidents before factory acts improved safety .

Houses for the Masters.

The mill owners built themselves grand new houses, near or very near their works.
George and Joseph Sidebottom built two houses in the 1820s, Hill End House and Harewood Lodge. The house at Hill End was the grander of the two  with a ballroom and a billiard room.
Harewood Lodge was built in a similar classical style. Visitors were suitably impressed:
 ‘The mansion is of polished stone with an elegant portico in front and gardens surrounding the same, and also a neat porter’s lodge on the approach from the mills, and the high road, give the same imposing effect.’
Richard Matley built his, Hodge House, in about 1837 beside his print works, above the three reservoirs he had built to ensure the supply of water. These became like ornamental lakes. There was a lodge at the top of Moss Lane and Matley built a drive to the house to separate the works traffic from the house.
Haven House was built in 1827 by Marsland of Best Hill Mill for his son, Henry Kelsall Marsland.

Hill End House  in the 1870s

(Joyce Powell Collection)          

Harewood House   

(Joyce Powell Collection)

Hill End House

detail from 1874 OS map, showing the grand house and its gardens.

The toll gate for the new road to Mottram is shown at the bottom of Hill End Lane

Haven House



Map of Hodge Mill, showing the extent of the dye works and Matley’s new house, Hodge House, built in 1837. The 3 reservoirs for the mill functioned as ornamental lakes for the house and it had its own entrance drive, running from its  lodge at the top of Moss Lane in a great sweep round. The field to the left of the dye vats  was used for bleaching cloth.                                           (sale catalogue 1841)

Corner of Old Street and Well Row

Houses for the 'Hands': the Streets

As the mills grew, houses were needed for the mill hands. The Sidebottoms built Bottom Row, Middle Row (Old St) and Top Row (between New St and Old St.)
The houses on Market St ( then called Stone Row) and Well Row were built in1827.


Extract from OS map of 1872 showing Well Row and Bottoms St (demolished 1970s), Old St and and Top Row, which stood between Old St and New St and which was demolished in the1890s to create sufficient  privies for the houses.

Engraving of Spinning Jenny (courtesy of Joyce Powell)


Photograph of Broad Mills, probably from the 1930s. Warrastfold Bridge is at the front right. (courtesy of Joyce Powell)

Drawing of Broad Mills (built 1801-2) at a later date, showing the 5-storey Old Mill with the tail race coming out just by Warrastfold Bridge. Two more spinning mills were added in1814 and 1824. The weaving sheds on the right date from the 1850s.

From Tameside in Transition - Nevill & Walker

Hodge Print Works.

Samuel Matley, a calico printer from Manchester, took over the mill at Hodge in 1805 and developed it as  Hodge Print works.   When he died in 1829 his son Richard took over and the business continued to thrive. Samples of fabrics printed at the dye works in the early nineteenth century are in the collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Samples of fabrics printed at Hodge print works c1819

(Victoria and Albert Museum)