Greater Manchester Textile Mills Survey Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This archive contains the records produced as part of the Greater Manchester Textile Mills Survey, from its inception in 1985 until the publication of Cotton Mills in Greater Manchester in 1992. However the range of dates of creation of the records (excluding CMS2/7) is 1985-1995 because the records were used and added to during their period of custody at GMAU after the completion of the survey and up until their deposit at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester in 1995. A further deposit of computer print-outs of the county Sites and Monuments Record database (CMS2/7) was made by GMAU to the Library in February 2000.

The archive contains records produced as part of the administration and organization of the survey as well as the resulting data. The former sub-group (CMS1) includes administrative records, reports, minutes, correspondence, research materials and background records for the different stages of the survey. The records are also relevant to other projects undertaken by GMAU, exhibitions prepared by GMAU, the Ancoats Study Group, the Urban Development Corporation Area Survey, the roles of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (English Heritage) and RCHME, the RCHME survey of textile mills in Yorkshire, issues concerning archaeological heritage and industrial archaeology.

The survey itself consisted of map surveys and the identification of mill sites, initial field surveys, detailed surveys, research using archives and library material and terrestrial and aerial photographic records. The second sub-group of records (CMS2) contains the resulting data of the survey. Some 2,400 mill sites were identified and over 1,000 were surveyed. Mill sites were investigated to differing extents and were divided into four categories. Category A sites were selected for detailed recording; files contain a full written report, a surveyed plan and elevation, historical and documentary information, photocopies of plans and documents, terrestrial photographs, and photocopies of aerial photographs. Category B sites were selected for detailed recording but without a full written report; files contain historical and documentary information and various combinations of plans and photographs. Category C sites are recorded in the archive with site survey sheets, a print-out of the county Sites and Monuments Record guide sheet and terrestrial and aerial photographs. Category D sites are no longer extant but are mention in the text of the publication. The gazetteer included in Cotton Mills in Greater Manchester lists all surveyed mills by area and makes reference to the category designated for each site.

Researchers investigating a particular mill site are advised to consult initially the print-outs from the county Sites and Monuments Record database for the particular district in which the site is situated (CMS2/7). The print-outs will provide the SMR number by which the site can be identified in the field survey sheets (CMS2/3), and in the terrestrial photographs (CMS2/6). Sites can also be identified on the survey maps (CMS2/2), by means of a list of SMR numbers (CMS2/2/1/2). Almost all sites in Categories A and B, and a few Category C sites, are documented by individual files, which provide much fuller information on their history and architecture (CMS2/4). For example, the Swan Lane Mills complex in Bolton (SMR 14419, Category B) is recorded in the archive by a print-out from the county Sites and Monuments Record database for Bolton (CMS2/7/1), which provides the SMR number to locate the mills among the terrestrial photographs (CMS2/5) and the field survey sheets for Bolton (CMS2/3/2). In addition, there are aerial photographs (CMS2/6), map data for Bolton (CMS2/2/2/1), and an individual mill file for the site (CMS2/4/1/12), while general information on mills in Bolton may be found in the town's documentary material (CMS2/1/1).

Administrative / Biographical History

A survey to identify and record all surviving textile mills within Greater Manchester was undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) and the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit (GMAU), between 1985 and 1991. A report entitled Mills in the 80s: A Study of the Re-Use of Old Industrial Buildings in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, produced by Roger Tym and Partners for the County Councils of Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire (June 1984), had identified a large volume of vacant space in old industrial buildings. The report recommended the refurbishment and re-use of mills as well as a policy of grant-aided demolition. Consequently it was perceived that textile mills in Greater Manchester were under threat. Work on the survey began in 1985 and was undertaken by GMAU with the support of RCHME and the Greater Manchester Council (GMC). The original intention was to create a record of mill sites prior to demolition. It was also hoped that certain mills would be selected for addition to the schedule of monuments to be conserved by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (English Heritage).

The objectives of the survey were twofold: to create an archive of survey data, and to publish the results. The survey was completed in 1991 and the results were published in Cotton Mills in Greater Manchester, by Mike Williams with D.A. Farnie (Preston: Carnegie Publishing Ltd, 1992).

Similar surveys of textile mills were undertaken by RCHME in East Cheshire and, with the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, in Yorkshire. East Cheshire Textile Mills by Anthony Calladine and Jean Fricker, (London, 1993) and Yorkshire Textile Mills 1770-1930: the Buildings of the Yorkshire Textile Industry by Colum Giles and Ian H. Goodall (London, 1992) were published as a result of these surveys.

The Greater Manchester Textile Mills Survey was jointly funded by RCHME and the Greater Manchester Council, and later its successor body, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, although during the latter stages the level of support from RCHME steadily increased. Facilities, including accommodation, were provided by the University of Manchester. The project was monitored by a working party of RCHME employees, GMAU representatives, councillors and academics.

Arrangement

The archive has been divided into two sub-groups: Administrative Documentation (CMS1), arising from and documenting the administration of the Greater Manchester Textile Mills Survey; and Survey Data (CMS2), comprising the information amassed on textile mills during the course of the survey. Each of these sub-groups is arranged into series reflecting the different types of material represented in the archive. Within these series, where applicable, records are arranged into geographical/administrative areas within Greater Manchester (Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) in accordance with the organization of the survey.

The archive is arranged into the following series: 

  • CMS1 Administrative Documentation
  • CMS1/1 Papers of the Greater Manchester Textile Mills Survey Working Party
  • CMS1/2 Documents Relating to the RCHME
  • CMS1/3 Documents Relating to the Yorkshire Mills Survey
  • CMS1/4 Documents Relating to Detailed Surveys
  • CMS1/5 Stockport Survey Forms
  • CMS1/6 Documentary Research
  • CMS1/7 Supplementary Information
  • CMS1/8 Documents Relating to Publications
  • CMS1/9 Documents Relating to the MSC Community Programme
  • CMS1/10 Documents Relating to Ancoats
  • CMS1/11 Documents Relating to the 'Mills in Greater Manchester' Exhibition
  • CMS1/12 Documents Relating to Stockport Exhibition
  • CMS1/13 Documents Relating to Urban Development Corporation Survey
  • CMS1/14 Miscellaneous Material
  • CMS2 Survey Data
  • CMS2/1 Documentary Material
  • CMS2/2 Map Survey Data
  • CMS2/3 Field Survey Data
  • CMS2/4 Mill Files
  • CMS2/5 Terrestrial Photographs
  • CMS2/6 Aerial Photographs
  • CMS2/7 County Sites And Monuments Records Database Print-Outs.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

This finding aid may contain personal or sensitive personal data about living individuals. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) has the right to process such personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the JRUL to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the JRUL has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately, according to the Data Protection Principles.

Note

The following abbreviations are used within the archive and this finding aid:

AGMA: Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.

AIA: Association of Industrial Archaeology.

CASP: Community Archaeological Services Project (undertaken by GMAU, including, for example, mobile exhibitions and schools exhibitions).

CBA: Council for British Archaeology.

CP: Community Project (undertaken using Manpower Services Commission staff).

GMAU: Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit.

GMC: Greater Manchester Council.

HMC: Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (or Historical Manuscripts Commission).

MBC: Metropolitan Borough Council (e.g. Oldham MBC).

HBMCE: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (the official title for English Heritage, which is an Executive non-Departmental Public Body established in 1983 to offer advice and give grants for the preservation of historically-important buildings in England).

MPP: Monument Protection Programme (the programme established in 1986 to reassess all known archaeological sites to ensure the conservation of a representative selection of protected monuments, involving new surveys and research using Sites and Monuments Records data and wide consultation).

MPP: Monument Protection Programme (the programme established in 1986 to reassess all known archaeological sites to ensure the conservation of a representative selection of protected monuments, involving new surveys and research using Sites and Monuments Records data and wide consultation).MPP: Monument Protection Programme (the programme established in 1986 to reassess all known archaeological sites to ensure the conservation of a representative selection of protected monuments, involving new surveys and research using Sites and Monuments Records data and wide consultation).

MPP: Monument Protection Programme (the programme established in 1986 to reassess all known archaeological sites to ensure the conservation of a representative selection of protected monuments, involving new surveys and research using Sites and Monuments Records data and wide consultation).

MSC: Manpower Services Commission.

NMR: National Monuments Record (the public archives of English Heritage).

NRA: National Register of Archives.

RCHME:Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME was the national body of architectural and archaeological survey and record until its merger with English Heritage in 1999).

SMR: Sites and Monuments Record (the Greater Manchester Sites and Monuments Record is maintained by GMAU).

UDC: Urban Development Corporation.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to the entire archive is owned by the Greater Manchester Archaeology Unit except for all photographic records and copies of the George Watkins Collection which are copyrighted to RCHME (now English Heritage, the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission).

Reproduction request contacts: Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL; tel.: 0161 275 2314. NMR Enquiry and Research Services, National Monuments Record Centre, Great Western Village, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SNG 2GZ; tel.: 01793 414600; email: info@rchme.co.uk.

Related Material

In addition to the deposit of this archive at The John Rylands University Library, a selective copy of the survey records has also been deposited with the National Monuments Record. GMAU maintains and updates its own copy of the mill files.

The county Sites and Monuments Record is maintained by GMAU and contains updated records of archaeological sites throughout Greater Manchester including textile mills. The Sites and Monuments Record may be consulted through contact with the Unit.

CMS1/7/1 and certain other sections of this archive contain copies of photographic records from the George Watkins Collection concerning stationary steam engines. The original archive was transferred from the Centre for the Study of the History of Technology at Bath University, where George Watkins was a research assistant, to the National Monuments Record, RCHME, in 1988.

The John Rylands University Library holds the archives of several firms included in the survey such as McConnel and Kennedy (MCK), W.M. Christy & Sons Ltd (WMC) and the Sun Mill Co. Ltd. (SM).