Huddersfield Chronicle (20/Nov/1858) - Correspondence: True Progress at Meltham Mills
TRUE PROGRESS AT MELTHAM MILLS.
To the Editor of the Huddersfield Chronicle.
Having lately had to spend some time in the vicinity of Meltham Mills, near Huddersfield, permit me to make a few remarks, through the medium of your journal, in reference to that secluded nook. Since fixing the site of Meltham Hall, and laying out the grounds, upwards of 18 years ago, I have frequently had not only the privilege, but the pleasure, of visiting the locality ; and have as often keen struck with the changes and improvements which were constantly going on, and which I may say are now immense.
Some years ago extensive silk mills were erected by Charles Brook, Esq., of Healey House ; and the existing thread mills have been, I believe, more than doubled in extent, by Charles Brook, jun., Esq., and his partners. About 1,500 hands, as I am informed, are employed in these thread mills at the present time. I passed through the midst of the operatives the other day, when leaving work ; and, although I have seen the time when I should have avoided a similar mass of workpeople, the case was quite the reverse here ; for I was really interested in being surrounded by so many clean, healthy, and respectable looking persons. The deep interest and kind feeling which the heads of these two firm have shown towards their workpeople have won for them the esteem and gratitude of all. The same may also be said of my respected friend, Joseph Hirst, Esq., of the same nook.
Amongst the various improvements already effected expressly for the interest and benefit of the locality, and especially the workpeople, I may mention, first, a beautiful church erected at the expense of the late James Brook, Esq., formerly one of the principals of the thread mill firm ; next, a Sunday and day school, and, more recently, a handsome infant school and reading-room, built at the expense of Charles Brook, jun., Esq. ; also a good parsonage-house, erected by Charles Brook, Esq., of Healey House — all designed by Charles Pritchett, Esq., architect, Huddersfield, who has just completed a handsome terrace of cottages for workpeople. And there is now being erected for the use of such of the workpeople as require it, an extensive dining-room, replete with every convenience for warming and cooking, and enjoying their food with comfort. This room is also to be used as a concert and lecture-room. There are likewise, in connection with this spacious hall, baths for both sexes. And, lastly, we are engaged in designing and laying-out a narrow but picturesque valley, or rugged ravine, of several acres in extent. It will form an interesting range of pleasure-grounds, with rugged steeps and rocky precipices, encompassing a stream from which the mills are supplied. These last improvements are made through the kindheartedness of Mr. Charles Brook, jun., for the enjoyment of the workpeople. The same gentleman also patronises a first-rate brass band and a troupe of choral singers.
Now, I think, Mr. Editor, that though such benevolent acts, as I have enumerated, are done in a corner, you will agree with me they ought not to be allowed to remain there ; and therefore I have taken the liberty of requesting you to assist me in bringing them before the public, fully assured that there are many benevolent persons who require only to be informed of the existence of such things to “go and do likewise.'’
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
Knosthorpe, near Leeds, Nov. 17th, 1858.