Last weekend we had planned on going over to Greenfield to try Robert Fletcher’s Paper mill, but we soon realised as it was Mothers day the trip over was going to be too far. So on the way over to the parents house we decided to pay Failsworth Mill a visit, this place is actually pretty decent but we could have done with a little longer in here as we didn’t get time to see the upper floors but I am sure we will revisit at some point.
History is a little thin on the ground here which is always a little disappointment, going off what I have seen on other reports, which unusually are only a few, it seems a company called “R & J Partington” have been here since around 1920 with the premises being split up over time into various units being used my a variety of companies. I have heard many people speaking of buying antiques in here over the years and the old engine room is full of doors and bathroom furniture. Looking online it seems the antiques business moved from here around 2010.
According to JST’s report:
“The mill seems to have been inhabited by a company named R&J Partington (1920) who manufactured cloth for export, later being incorporated into a division of Indo Afican Exports Ltd. Judging by some of the documentation and business cards found around the offices, the company ceased to trade in August 2012 with Chinese, Indian and African clients”
On first view entry looked unlikely but we managed to climb in through a small gap! Straight away this place is pretty eerie and I had heard on some reports on 28dayslater that people had felt like they were being watched in here and had heard footsteps above!! It did have a very different atmosphere to other places we have been in recently and I think what adds to that is the partitioning of many of the sections of the mill, especially the offices on the first floor.
We ended up not seeing much of the as we wanted mill because of time factors and the fact we spent so much time on the ground floor and rooting through the offices and paper work on the first floor. We were also unsure on the location of the next set of steps upwards, the initial set were also blocked by a set of filing cabinets which we climbed over, but they looked intentionally placed.
In all likely hood those steps where across the other side of the first floor but the whole floor was soaked wet through and we were a little skeptical of walking across. We made our way through using the offices but the was was blocked by the recent fire. After visited I learned of how recent this fire was an I suspect all the water on this level was because of that and it may be ok to traverse across to locate the steps.
There is a lot to see in here and many retained items from the businesses as it hasn’t been closed too long. Although looking at photos from previous reports it has suffered some damage recently and the offices are in quite bad shape but still worth a look. In light of the fire too I think this place has become a victim of vandalism and metal thieves so I would advice caution. As I said the access is not now “walk in” and has clearly been locked up by the fire services but has been kicked in since (the fire was around 2 weeks ago).
Seeing as we had to get to my mums for mothers day and the place was becoming a little creepy we decided to leave it after about an hour on the lower levels. But after coming home and having another look on the internet at other reports I think we missed some really interesting features on the higher levels and so we plan on going back sometime in the near future for another look around.
Another thing that has caught my mind recently is the interest I have in the mills and factories of the area and their importance to the local history and the impact the industrial revolution had world wide. Many of these mills have fallen out of use in recent years and it seems the majority of exploration opportunities around Manchester and certainly Oldham and Rochdale are within these mills.
Some people find them a little boring, but to me this is what urbex is all about, exploring the history of these places and town first hand, the history that sometimes doesn’t get the same coverage as more “favourable” histories and the sad fact these buildings face uncertain futures because of that when they should be being conserved as important historical landmarks of the areas development.
The empty mill floors a testament to the changing culture of the north, ironically once a place of hard work and progression as well as inequality and exploitation they now become our escape from the conveyor belt of the everyday, our shelter from the real world.