Mill historian mourns loss of heritage
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