Broadbottom Community Association

 History Project

1880s and 1890s

Ups and Downs




 At Broad Mills the number of  looms rose from 850 in 1884 to 1,197 in 1887.  

However, by the 1890s some mills were in decline;  new owners took over and some tried different businesses.

 Best Hill Mill was closed by 1891 when the bank foreclosed.  The owners, the Marsland family,  lost their houses on the Hague, though they continued to rent them.

 Hodge Print works was in decline, changing hands over the years. Harry Costabadie bought it in 1889, and built himself the house called Overdale, beside the cricket field, but he sold the mill on in 1902. 

 There were also periods when even the prospering mills went on short time in the 1890s because of slumps in the industry nationally.

Best Hill Mill around 1900 -  (Gould family)


Some improvements were made in living conditions in New and Old Streets when Middle Row was demolished to provide extra privies: there had been only a handful.  The detail (right) from the 1910 OS map shows the changes.



The adult population in 1881 was about the same size as a hundred years later but the number of children in some streets is striking:

178 people lived in Crescent Row of whom 77 were children;

 56  people lived in Summerbottom, of whom 30 were children.

 50  people lived at Hodge Fold of whom 27 were children.

176 residents in New St of whom 98 were children.

So, about half the population in these streets  were children. While overall levels of crowding had fallen from the 1840s, some houses were still overcrowded.


Broadbottom Ladies Guild at the King Street Gate to Harewood Lodge (courtesy Joyce Powell)


Churches and Schools.

In the 1890s both the Anglican and Catholic Churches were built.

The Anglican church was built in 1889-90 because the vicar of Mottram, Canon Miller, and Colonel Sidebottom thought that Broadbottom needed a church of its own.  This was supported by key local landowners and worthies, Colonel Sidebottom, the Hirsts of Broad Mill and Edward Chapman supported its development and gave money. There were wrangles among the committee, probably about the design, and Colonel Sidebottom left the committee and had to be pursued for  the money he’d pledged. Edward Chapman gave the land for the Church, though a number of other sites were considered.

The Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception was built on land acquired from Lord Howard of Glossop and opened in  1896. When the foundation Stone was laid in 1895 by Canon Sabela, there was a great procession headed by the Broadbottom brass band, followed by an open air service and a tea for five hundred people at the Co-operative Hall.

Engraving of the site of the Catholic church showing the viaduct and 'New York' the row of cottages on the right, now demolished.    (Clare Hussell)

Church of the Immaculate Conception   (photograph Jack Hetherington)

Broadbottom Church of England School

 In 1898 a new primary school building was built on land given by Edward Chapman, though Bankfield School remained in use as the  infant school until 1917.The building had three classrooms and separate entrances for boys and girls. It was built to accommodate 219 children with three earth closets for the boys and five for the girls. They were sited at the back of the school and the children had to go down the front steps and round the back to reach them. The new school building did not appear to promote any sudden rise in standards. ‘Discipline lacks firmness and time is wasted. The Hygiene lesson on Cleanliness suffered in several ways. It is useless to dogmatise to a class of 71 on such a subject in a dirty schoolroom. ‘        (HM Inspector’s report 1908)

Bankfield School Children c 1901 - (Olwyn Brown Schooldays in Mottram)

Plan of Bankfield School        (Joyce Powell)

Broadbottom School (Olwyn Brown)



St Mary Magdalen: dedicated 22 June 1890


Celebration at Broad Mills 1890s.

The photograph on the left shows a group of women posed in the mill which has been decorated for a celebration with floral swags and baskets. Such  events usually took place to celebrate a wedding or a coming-of-age for the millowner's son.      (photo Clare Hussell)

Broad Mills looking towards Warhurstfold Bridge showing the lane down below Well Row (Joyce Powell)

Broad Mills from the rear. -  (Joyce Powell)







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