Lands End Works, Rhodes


The History of an Industrial Site

View the Lands End Works report


This document has been compiled to record the varied history of this old industrial site in Rhodes, Middleton, Greater Manchester (SD 84768 04965). It draws on recent research that highlights the changing use of the land in response to the industrial revolution and the development of the factory systems to replace home based manufacturing.

The site has supported the various phases of fulling cloth, cotton spinning and bleaching of textiles before eventually converting to its last use as a Rubber works in the 20th century.

The first documented reference to the site dates to 1734 in association with the water rights for a fulling mill powered by the adjacent River Irk. Subsequent development of the site is well supported by maps and estate papers.

Of particular note in the history of Lands End Works is that by the mid 1780’s, the site had a newly built cotton spinning mill using Richard Arkwright patented water frames. A census of 1788[1] records this as the only cotton spinning mill in Middleton, one of 39 in the county of Lancashire at the time. This and subsequent developments in textile technology rapidly changed Middleton from a sparsely populated rural area to a typical Lancashire cotton town. By 1891, Middleton had 22 Cotton Mills with over 500,000 spindles.[2]

The Land End works soon reverted to textile finishing, becoming a bleach works in the early 19th century. In the 20th century it became a Rubber works before falling into disrepair and eventually being demolished. The remains of the industrial history of the site now lie under landscaped rubble, slowly reverting back to nature.

[1] The Arkwright Mills-Colquhouns Census of 1788 and Archaeological Evidence, S.D.Chapman,IndArchRev VI/1/Winter 1981/82, p5-27

[2] Graces Guide of 1891, Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers in Middleton

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