Quarmby Clough Mill, Ballroyd Clough, Longwood

This page is a bare-bones entry for a specific location marked on an old map. More detailed information may eventually be added...


  • location: Ballroyd Clough
  • status: no longer exists
  • category: woollen mill


The mill had originally been a single-storey dye works but was enlarged in the early 1900s by the addition of two floors, so that the mill comprised three floors and a basement. The upper floors were primarily supported by one of the inner walls of the dye works, along with new brick pillars with iron cross girders.[1]

Ownership of the mill passed from Messrs. Hamer & Sons to Joseph Hoyle & Sons Ltd. in 1906.

Fatal Collapse
Annie Blacker (1900-1922)

Three employees were killed when the mill partially collapsed at around 10:45am on 22 March 1922:

  • Annie Blacker (aged 23) weaver of 26 Dowker Street, Milnbridge
  • Ellen "Nellie" Keefe (25) weaver of Yew Green, Lockwood[2]
  • Edwin Castle (38) headler of 45 Beech Street, Paddock[3]

Eleven other employees managed to escape or were rescued alive from the rubble. It was estimated that nine workers were on the upper floor at the time of the collapse.

Nellie Bolton fell with the floor but "made her escape along the steam pipes to a part of the floor which had not collapsed". Two of the other women working on the upper floor were named as Lily Bradley and Emily Hancock.[4]

Rescuers could hear Nellie Keefe's cries for help, but it had proved impossible to remove the rubble covering her body — she was found unconscious and was later pronounced dead by Dr. Tansley of Huddersfield.

Local newspapers reported the strange coincidence that Annie Blacker's uncle, George Armitage Crumack of 27 Dowker Street, had been found dead in his bed shortly before the mill's collapse.[5] Annie and her uncle were both buried on 25 March 1922 at St. Mark's Church, Longwood."

According to witness testimony at the inquest, there was a "crack like a cannon" as mill's floors gave way. Nellie Farrand, a weaver, stated that she fell to the floor as it tilted and the mill "machinery slid down in front her". Evidence was given that the old dye work's wall had failed, causing the floors to give way. The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death" for all three victims.[6]

Historic O.S. maps suggest that a new and larger mill was then built on the site.


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Notes and References

  1. Yorkshire Evening Post (30/Mar/1922).
  2. Born 1897, daughter of labourer Thomas and Margaret Keefe.
  3. Born 1878. The 1911 Census records him being married to Florence, with a 3-year-old daughter named Irene. Oddly, Edwin recorded his wife's place of birth as "not known" on the census.
  4. Yorkshire Post (31/Mar/1922).
  5. Leeds Mercury (23/Mar/1922).
  6. Sheffield Daily Telegraph (31/Mar/1922).