IF you drive from Mossley to Stalybridge, you may not notice that you’ve passed through Millbrook. Today it’s a little sleepy village, but in the past it was a hive of activity.
There were four cotton mills, two of which became woollen.
Staly Mill built in 1803 was rebuilt in 1837 after a fire.
It was run by the Harrisons and closed in 1969.
Staley Mill Howards began cotton spinning in 1805 and turned to wool in 1896, closing in 1962.
Spring Grove Mill was cotton from 1818 to 1868 and then was in wool production for 100 years it was the last steampowered mill in the area.
Oakfield Mill began in 1851 and closed to cotton in 1961 when it became a bleaching company until 1992.
Fires were a regular occurance in mills.
Staley Mill was on fire in 1959 and an employee William Ogden became disorientated in the fire and found himself on the roof. The vicar from St James Church came and Ditchcroft was lined with people who prayed for him and he jumped into the millpond 70 feet below and survived.
Millbrook was well served with transport.
There was a railway station on Grove Road and trams began in 1904 from Stalybridge via Heyheads to Mossley along Huddersfield Road which was formerly called Queen’s Road.
There were also four churches, six public houses and four working mens’ clubs.
Millbrook Cricket Club produced two well known cricketers, John Sullivan was born in 1945 and played for Lancashire and Harry Pilling born in 1943 who at five foot three inches tall has the distinction of being the shortest English cricketer of modern times and he also played for Lancashire.
In the Second World War the cricket pitch was used by American soldiers to play baseball tournaments.
James Grimshaw Lowe ‘owned’ the village.
He lived at Oakwood House in the 1920’s.
His nephew took over from him in the 1960s.
If you walk above Walkerwood Reservoir you may come across the Chincough Well.
Mothers would bring their children suffering from whooping cough up to the well to drink the water mixed with a little gin.
Many children were cured, but whether it was the water, the gin or the fresh air, nobody knows.
To hear more tales of byegone Millbrook, join Tameside Greenspace Volunteer, Paul Nethercott to celebrate Heritage Open Weekend.
Meet at Oakgates car park, Hartley Street, off Huddersfield Road, Millbrook, Stalybridge SK15 3EP, at 1pm on Saturday, September 8.
This two-mile walk will explore the history of the growth of Millbrook and the decline of the cotton industry. ● Sarah, 28 Join hundreds of people who are taking on the BHF’s iconic 52-mile ride from Manchester to Blackpool, through the night to help fund life saving research into heart and circulatory conditions. Get your friends together, saddle up and make incredible memories, from Manchester to Blackpool, through the night.
Become a Champion for the BHF.