George Cheetham and Sons Archive

  • Reference
      GB 133 CHE
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      32 items Some items are in poor condition; typically bound volumes show signs of scuffing.
  • Location
      Collection available at John Rylands Library, Deansgate.

Scope and Content

The archive of the firm of George Cheetham & sons is fragmentary. It comprises primarily financial records of the Castle St. and Bankwood mills from the 1830s to the 1900s (CHE/1). These records are mostly ledgers and private journals, reasonably complete to the 1880s, as well as costings books and an 1859 valuation of the business property. The records of each mill were maintained independently and were designated as "Old" for Castle St. and "New" for Bankwood . There are also two letter books of copy business correspondence (CHE/2).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Cheetham family were important mill owners in Stalybridge, Lancashire. They played a leading role in local affairs for over one hundred years.

The firm was founded by George Cheetham (1757-1826). His family had originally been yeomen farmers, but he set up in partnership with several other local businessmen to spin cotton. The partners' mill, Bastille Mill, burnt down in 1804, and thereafter George operated independently. He opened spinning mills at Castle Street, Stalybridge in 1805, and his sons, John (1802-1886) and David (1797-?], expanded the business by opening Bankwood Mill, Stalybridge in 1831. Bankwood, a combined mill (spinning and weaving) became the family's main enterprise from the mid-19th century. The Cheethams were major employers in Stalybridge.

The Cheetham family were active in politics: John Cheetham was Liberal MP for South Lancashire 1852-1859, and Salford, 1865-1868. His son, John Frederick Cheetham (1835-1916), was MP for North Derbyshire from 1880-1885, and for Stalybridge, 1905-1910. They were also philanthropists, donating Cheetham Park and the Astley Cheetham Gallery to the people of Stalybridge.

The Castle St. mill closed in 1896, (reopening under different ownership in the 1920s to produce rayon; it was later converted to residential uses). Bankwood was taken over by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in 1930 and it was closed in 1935.


Arranged by series; CHE/1 is further divided into sub-series for ledgers and journals. 

  • CHE/1 - Financial Records
  • CHE/1/1 -Ledgers
  • CHE/1/2- Journals
  • CHE/1/3- Costings Books
  • CHE/1/4- Valuation Book
  • CHE/2 - Letter Books
  • CHE/3 - Other Records

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History


Related Material

No other records of the company are known to survive, and there is no evidence that any papers of the Cheetham family have survived.


There is a brief account of the Cheetham family in M. Sheppard Bankwood Mill, Stalybridge: the story of a Victorian cotton family (1985)

Geographical Names