Brunswick Mill, Ancoats

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Brunswick Mill, Ancoats 0001.png
Brunswick Mill, Ancoats is located in Greater Manchester
Brunswick Mill, Ancoats
Location within Greater Manchester
Spinning (ring mill)
Architectural styleFireproof
LocationAncoats, Manchester
Serving canalAshton Canal
OwnerHenry Bannerman
Further ownership
Coordinates53°29′07″N 2°12′51″W / 53.4852°N 2.2143°W / 53.4852; -2.2143Coordinates: 53°29′07″N 2°12′51″W / 53.4852°N 2.2143°W / 53.4852; -2.2143
Built1840s 1840
  • 1:
Design team
ArchitectDavid Bellhouse
Structural engineerWilliam Fairbairn
Engine typeBeam then horizontal then electric
Mule Frames77000 (1850s)

Brunswick Mill, Ancoats is a former cotton spinning mill in Ancoats, Manchester, England. The mill was built around 1840, part of a group of mills built along the Ashton Canal, and at that time it was one of the country's largest mills. It was built round a quadrangle, a seven-storey block facing the canal.[4] It was taken over by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in the 1930s and passed to Courtaulds in 1964. Production finished in 1967.


Ancoats is an inner city area of Manchester, in North West England, next to the Northern Quarter and the northern part of Manchester's commercial centre. Historically a part of Lancashire, Ancoats became one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution, and has been called "the world's first industrial suburb".[5] From the late-18th century, Ancoats became a thriving industrial district and from 1798 has been served by the Rochdale and Ashton Canals facilitating the movement of cotton, coal and finished goods. All Manchester's major railway stations were on the boundaries of Ancoats: Ancoats railway station on the Midland Railway, Ducie Street railway station and Manchester London Road railway station on the Great Central Railway, Cheshire Lines Committee, Oldham Road railway station and Victoria Station on the Manchester and Leeds Railway, Exchange station on the London and North Western Railway.


Surveying for the Rochdale Canal was carried out by James Brindley in 1765. The knowledge that its construction would make the transport of raw materials and finished goods more convenient, gave industrialists the confidence to build cotton mills. The first mills were built in Ancoats as early as 1790. In 1792 commissioners were appointed to improve the township of Manchester which included Ancoats. Towards the end of the 18th century steam power was used to power the cotton mills. Murray's Mills were built next to the Rochdale canal on Union Street (now Redhill Street) off Great Ancoats Street, by Adam and George Murray in 1798 and were known as Ancoats Mills when they were operated by McConnel & Company Ltd. The streets of Ancoats were laid out during the latter part of the 18th century, with little development taking place other than small houses and shops along Great Ancoats Street and Oldham Road. The Ashton Canal was linked to the Rochdale Canal at the Piccadilly Basin in 1798.

From the opening of the canals, development of mills continued on a much larger scale. Mills in Ancoats included, Victoria Mills, Wellington Mill, Brunswick Mill, India Mills, Dolton Mills, Lonsdale Mills, Phoenix Mill, Lloydsfield Mill and Sedgewick Mill, Decker Mill (owned by the Murray brothers), New Mill, Beehive Mill, Little Mill, Paragon Mill, Royal Mill and Pin Mill.


Brunswick Mill was built around 1840 in one phase.[4] The main seven-storey block facing the Ashton Canal was used for spinning. Preparation was done on the second floor and self-acting mules with 400 spindles were arranged transversely on the floors above. The wings contained some spinning and ancillary processes like winding. The mill is of fireproof construction and was built by David Bellhouse, but it is suspected that William Fairbairn was involved in the design. It was powered by a large double beam engine.[4]

Late in the century, Henry Bannermann of Stalybridge took over the mill. Its beam engine was replaced by a horizontal engine, and rope drives were fitted. New mules were installed longitudinally. In 1909, two towers were constructed and electric motors installed connected by a transformer to the Manchester Corporation Electricity mains. Brunswick was the first mill to be converted to electric in Manchester.[4]

The industry peaked in 1912 when it produced eight billion yards of cloth. World War I caused a halt to the supply of raw cotton, and the government encouraged its colonies to build mills to spin and weave cotton. The war over, Lancashire never regained its markets. The independent mills were struggling. The Bank of England set up the Lancashire Cotton Corporation (LCC) in 1929 in an attempt to rationalise and save the industry.[6] Brunswick Mill, Ancoats was one of 104 mills bought by the LCC, and one of the 53 mills that survived until 1950.

LCC replaced the mules with ring frames, which required the floors to be strengthened. The ring frames operated till the mid-1960s.[4]

The mill structure was classified as a Grade II listed building in June 1994.[7]


Brunswick Mill, Bradford Road, alongside the Ashton Canal, was a seven-storey mill with 35 loading bays facing directly onto the canal, with a smaller three 3/4-storey block of warehouses and offices backing onto Bradford Road.


  • Double beam
  • Horizontal
  • Electricity


The Brunswick Mill was one of the largest in Britain at that time and by the 1850s held some 276 carding machines, and 77,000 mule spindles,[2] 20 drawing frames, fifty slubbing frames and eighty one roving frames.[3]



  • George Bannerman
  • Lancashire Cotton Corporation (1930s–1964)
  • Courtaulds
  • Maryland Securities

The building is now used by a variety of businesses.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LCC 1951
  2. ^ a b "Manchester Cotton Mills". Archived from the original on 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  3. ^ a b Parkinson-Bailey, John (2000). Manchester: An architectural history. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-5606-2. Retrieved January 2009. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e Williams & Farnie 1992, pp. 154–156
  5. ^ "Explore Manchester". Pevsner Architectural Guides. Archived from the original on 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
  6. ^ Dunkerley 2009
  7. ^ a b Historic England. "Brunswick Mill (1197807)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 May 2014.


External links[edit]