Thursday, 16 February 2017

Brock Mill, Wigan


Brock Mill first began operations around the mid 1700's and was further expanded when The Earl of Balcarres bought the mill and built a furnace at Haigh Foundry, which was half a mile downstream. The iron smelting business didn't thrive and furnaces at Haigh were given up as well as work at the forge at Brock Mill. However, the two sites began to prosper and build fire engines. At this time Robert Daglish was appointed as chief engineer in 1804. From 1812 to 1835 Daglish helped build the first locomotive for Lancashire (1812) and the foundry became skilled at casting large steam cylinders as the forge wrought the parts which couldn't be cast. In 1835 The Earl leased the business for 21 years to Messrs Evans & Ryley, soon to be joined by a Mr Burrows. They re-entered the locomotives business and built around 110-120 locomotives. However, locomotives were only part of the business. Haigh Foundry was producing swing iron bridges and dock ironwork for Liverpool and Hull and large steam engines for coal and metal mines. The even attempted iron architectural work. After the 21 year lease had run out, the three men were getting old and didn't renew the lease. Instead, Messrs Birley & Thompson saw the opportunity at hand and took another 21 year lease. Within this time, Haigh Foundry was concentrating on winding engines but had also expanded into brick and tile making and continued to build locomotives that tendered for the Festiniog Railway’s ‘Prince’ class. By the late 1870s, the market was less buoyant and the depression of the early 1880s hit Haigh hard. The lease was given up and the works closed in January 1885. In more recent times the mill had been used by Potters herbal remedies.


Esoteric Eric

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