Broadbottom Community Association

History Project

1830s -1850s

The Boom Years

After the building of the new toll road to Mottram, the next great development which increased the status of Broadbottom was the arrival of the railway in  1842. John Chapman, now married to George Sidebottom’s daughter Ann, was closely involved in these developments and on the board of the Sheffield, Ashton under Lyne and Manchester railway.

This extraordinary feat of engineering linked Broadbottom not only with Manchester and Sheffield, through the Woodhead tunnel, but also southwards to London. The line through Broadbottom went on to Marylebone Station in London until the early 1960s. By 1846 22 trains a day passed through Broadbottom station. The first viaduct was made of wood and burnt down. It was replaced in

Of the new bridge the Glossop Chronicle in 1859 reported

‘This will now place all fear at an end and confidence will be restored.’

 The drawing opposite also shows a quarry at the right of the road, one of many around the village.

The cutting through of the railway made another change in the village’s geography. Gorsey Brow, which had once run down to join what is now Ogden Street was diverted at the end of Hague Road to join the main road further up.


 Contemporary engraving of looms in a mill (Joyce Powell)

The Mills continued to boom, using steam power and gas lighting.  Mechanised weaving was established. The new railway made deliveries of coal to the mills much easier since local supplies were modest and raw materials and manufactured goods could be transported much more easily.

 Photograph of loom   (Joyce Powell)

Population in Mottram (including Broadbottom) had been growing rapidly as people moved in to work and the birth rate also rose.

The first census return of 1841 provides a glimpse into the village. Many of the adults were born outside the village, but most came from villages and towns in the region. A handful of Irish workers are mentioned, a small number living in Hill End Mill and a group of five men living in Hodge Fold, described as labourers, probably working as navvies on the railway.


Sizes of some households, with families and lodgers, indicate high levels of overcrowding for the workers. It is interesting to compare one family, mostly workers at Matley’s print works, who lived on  Summerbottom with that at Hill End House 

John and Deborah Hadfield  at Summerbottom headed an overcrowded household of six young children, and with only two of them and the father working, would have had only modest wages coming in. The two lodgers must have contributed significantly to their income, but it is hard to imagine how they managed in a two up two down cottage.


At Hill End House, at the time of the 1841 census, there were 9 permanent residents ( 4 family, 5 servants ) and  3 guests, Mary Findhersen, who was John Chapman’s sister, and her family.

Summerbottom 1841

John Hadfield            41      labourer

Deborah Hadfield      37

Joe Hadfield            13      calico print works

Elizabeth Hadfield     11      calico print works

James Hadfield           8

Thomas Hadfield         2

Mary Hadfield            6

Ann Hadfield              1 month

Joseph Berry            25     calico printer

James Berry               29     cotton spinner  

Hill End House 1841

George Sidebottom  66 Cotton manufacturer

John Chapman        30   Independent

Ann Chapman          30

Edward Chapman          1

Gustavus Findersen  39   Merchant

Mary Findersen              30

Johanna Findersen      15

Mary Ardon               20 Female Servant

Sarah Ardon            20 Female Servant

Harriott Fernaley           18 Female Servant

Ann Denton                    18 Female Servant

Mary Bruiner                   15 Female Servant


 Homes for rich and poor.

New houses were built to accommodate the workforce:

Thornley Row (Spring St 1839)

Lower Market Street (1850 onwards)

New Street, St Ann St (1851)

Brick Row (demolished 1970s), Travis terrace, Bonton Terrace, Mount Pleasant and West End (the main road section) between 1847 and 1872)

Bank St, with Garden Street below it, two roomed cellar dwellings.

More homes were added for wealthier families:

The Hague and Hague Bank were built in 1858 by Samuel Marsland (of Best Hill Mill) for his family.

 Ashlar House was built next to the Crescent.

Garden Street , below Bank Street, 2 room basement dwellings.

 Ashlar House

 Hague Bank(Claire Hussell)





1859 by an iron and steel construction.








                                                                                                   back to history index             back to 1805         next page 1860


The village’s social structure now extended to chapels and some small opportunities for schooling.  Anglicans went to Mottram to worship. Catholics in the village seem to have been supported by Mr Bostock of Broadbottom Hall who gave them a place in which to meet.


The Primitive Methodists built the first chapel in 1852 on Gorsey Brow (now a pair of houses.) A second chapel and Sunday school were built in the 1870s further up Gorsey Brow. John Clayton the younger, a prime mover in building the Wesleyan church on Etherow Brow, was living in Haven House in 1851 and is listed as a corn dealer.
 John  Clayton the younger ... never relaxed in his efforts in his struggle to push forward the education of the rising generation. He and others succeeded in erecting a beautiful stone school and chapel at Broadbottom belonging to the Wesleyans.’
(Chadwick 1890s)




































































Ebenezer Place, the Primitive Methodist Chapel








Second Primitive Chapel and Sunday School, Gorsey Brow.
















A figure in early education provision in the village is John Andrew, a self-improved mill worker. He is listed in the census of 1851 on Market Street  as a school teacher, aged 40 with a wife and two children. His daughter Emma took over the school in 1860; John was still alive in 1881. 

The following is an extract from an early account of the village (Reminiscences of a chief constable) written in the 1890s by William Chadwick, then chief constable of Stalybridge but himself a self -made man, born in the village in 1822.

'In his younger days he was an operative hand spinner at the Broadbottom mills at which place his father was employed as a book keeper. From the mill, however, Mr Andrew removed himself by indomitable energy and perseverance. There was no school within two miles of what was then the rising colony of Broadbottom and consequently the youths of the place were very much neglected in an educational point of view. Mr Andrew commenced a night school which succeeded so well that the labours of attending it became too great after a hard day’s work in the mill of nearly thirteen hours to the day. He left the mill in order to devote the whole of his time to the education of the youths of the neighbourhood, and he succeeded so well, by care, attention and natural abilities, that he built a very commodious school, which was and still is well attended.

He not only taught his pupils the usual rudiments of education, but promoted an elocutionary class among the young men of the village, in order to show the beauties of Shakspere and other standard authors to the people- a much more important thing in a place like Mottram than the dwellers in towns may think it is.’

 Chadwick 1875.

Chadwick’s account may be rather romantic but perhaps he knew Andrews and gained some of his own hard-won education at the school. Other accounts of standards among Broadbottom children when the board school opened 1874 were not complimentary. Nonetheless, it illustrates what a struggle education was for mill workers. (for more on Chadwick, see Lives)



 Welcome at Broadbottom Station for John Chapman on his election as High Sheriff of Cheshire.

Illustrated London News 1855        (courtesy Joyce Powell)