Thirstin Mills, Honley

Thirstin Mills is a now-demolished woollen mill in Lower Thirstin, Honley.


Originally a dye house, the mill was linked to joiner John Carter of Mag Bridge in the 1790s.

The earliest known occupant was Thomas Hinchliffe who provided responses to the Royal Commission on Employment of Children in Factories (which recorded the name of the mill as "Thirsting").

Together with Old Moll Mill, Thirstin Mills was advertised for let in the summer of 1853.[1]

The body of 44-year-old Grace Hinchcliffe, an inmate of Honley Workhouse, was found in the mill dam in January 1859. She had only recently been admitted into the workhouse as a pauper, although it was felt she might harm herself. At the inquest into her death, it was stated that she had smashed her way through a window to escape the workhouse and was found drowned a few hours later. The jury were apparently appalled at the conditions they found — "Not only was the workhouse in a bad ... horrid state, and a a disgrace to the Huddersfield Union." A verdict of "temporary insanity" was returned.[2]

The mills were advertised for sale or let in September 1866 and was described as comprising:[3]

...reservoirs, waterwheel of nine-horse power, and steam engine of 16 (capable of turning 50-horse power), with an abutment and never-failing supply of water springing on the premises, and famed for a considerable distance around the locality for its purity, softness, and adaptability for scouring and other purposes. The greatest part of the buildings are of recent erection, lighted with gas, and contain five billies, four pairs of spinning mules (one pair self-actors), seven pairs of narrow and three pairs of broad power looms. The machinery is all in good working order, and admirably adapted for either sale yarn, spinning, or manufacturing, both having been carried on recently.

In May 1869, the Honley Local Board approved the laying of improved gas mains to the mill.[4]

Messrs. Denham, Dearnley and Co. advertised in November 1871 for a "thoroughly practical man to take [on] the management of sizing, beaming and putting-up of woollen warps" at the mill.[5]

Huddersfield architects John Kirk and Sons were hired to extend the mills, and an invitation to tender for the work was placed in the local press in February 1874. The work comprised "the erection of an engine house, engine bed, entrance gateway, and boundary walls."[6]

Bankruptcy proceedings against James Shaw and Co. in 1877 linked Shaw to several mills in Honley, including Thirstin Mills.[7]

In November 1884, concerns were raised that leaking sewerage from "Wright Littlewood’s sizing, boiling and tripe works" was polluting the mill dam.[8]

By the early 1890s, the mills were under the ownership of Eastwood Brothers Limited.[9] In August 1895, plans were approved for the erection of a new dyehouse as well as 12 privies at Thirstin Mills.[10]

The mills were still owned by Eastwood Brothers in the 1940s, when one of their employees celebrated his 80th birthday in November 1942.[11]

By the 1960s, the owners were Dobroyd Ltd.

Thirstin Mills finally closed in 1998.

In 2000, developers NEP Honley were granted planning permission to erect 29 detached houses.[12] However, following the initial work of demolishing the mill, the company went bankrupt.

North Park Homes of Greetland then applied to build 24 houses on the land, with planning permission being granted in December 2012.[13][14]


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Britain from Above

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Notes and References

  1. "To Be Let" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/May/1853).
  2. "Honley: Distressing Event" in Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Jan/1859).
  3. "To Be Let" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Sep/1866).
  4. "Honley: Local Board Meeting" in Huddersfield Chronicle (15/May/1869).
  5. "Situations Vacant" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Nov/1871).
  6. "Contracts" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Feb/1874).
  7. Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (27/Mar/1877).
  8. Huddersfield Examiner (08/Nov/1884).
  9. The Honley Local Board approved the erection of a shed at the mills in April 1891.
  10. "Honley" in Huddersfield Chronicle (31/Aug/1895). The latter seems to have been in response to inspection of privy facilities at local mills earlier that year.
  11. Yorkshire Post (27/Nov/1942).
  12. Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2000/60/92412/W3).
  13. Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2011/62/92197/W).
  14. ADP: Residential Developments.