Mill his­to­rian mourns loss of her­itage

Macclesfield Express - - BOSLEY TRAGEDY - KAREN BRIT­TON

AFORMER Bosley mill worker who wrote a history of the site says the com­mu­nity has lost a ma­jor piece of her­itage.

Chris Pow­nall knows the mill bet­ter than most af­ter be­ing born in Bosley and work­ing at the mill as an engi­neer.

The mill has been run by Wood Treat­ment Ltd for 90 years, but has a much longer history. It was built on the River Dane around 1760 by Mac­cles­field in­dus­tri­al­ist Charles Roe.

Chris, whose mother and fa­ther also worked at the mill, wrote a book, Dane Mills, four years ago to doc­u­ment its past.

He said: “I was shocked and sad­dened when I heard about the ter­ri­ble dis­as­ter. I feel deeply sorry for those af­fected. Bosley has lost a big part of its history.”

Chris was born in Bosley in 1943 at num­ber 3 Penn Bridge. He be­came a mill ap­pren­tice in 1958 and learned skills in main­te­nance and in­stalling new ma­chin­ery which set him up for a ca­reer in en­gi­neer­ing.

Af­ter re­tir­ing in 2008 he wrote au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal books be­fore writ­ing the mill history with sto­ries about fel­low work­ers.

There are two mills known as Higher Works and Lower Works. Chris has given more de­tails about their history.

He said: “Ini­tially they har­nessed wa­ter power from the River Dane to process cop­per and brass which was in great de­mand. The re­fin­ing pro­cesses in­volved rolling and ham­mer­ing ma­chin­ery which was driven by over­shot wa­ter wheels.

“Later on the mills were used to process silk and cot­ton and then they were con­verted into corn grind­ing mills.

“The mills closed in the 1920s but were re-opened in the 1930s when the core busi­ness was grind­ing wood flour which was used in the down­stream man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries such as linoleum, Bake­lite and ex­plo­sives. My sis­ter Cyn­thia Ed­wards lived in one of the mill cot­tages with her hus­band and mill worker Cyril and chil­dren un­til they left to be­come man­agers of the Har­ring­ton Arms. My mother Lucy Pow­nall was a sack mender at the mill and our fa­ther was em­ployed as a steam lorry driver in the 1920s and in the 1950s as an elec­tri­cal fit­ter.

“I wanted to write about the mills to cap­ture the cul­ture of the place. I owe a great deal to the mill and have happy mem­o­ries.

“I do hope some­thing can be sal­vaged out of the dis­as­ter which will af­fect the peo­ple of Bosley and sur­round­ing area for many years to come.”

●● Chris Pow­nall wrote Dane Mills, a history of the mill at Bosley

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