Stories of People
Engine commissioning Goyt Mill engine with rope drums
Since launching the website, enquiries from members of the public have steadily increased. In most cases, we are able to help people, whether it is about their personal family history or people and places in general. One such enquiry about a house on Longhurst Lane, Mellor, involved ‘proving’ that a kitchen extension was not a new addition, built without planning permission. This was achieved by means of a very old postcard image from Ann Hearle’s collection, probably taken in the first decade of the 20th century.
Unsurprisingly, enquiries have increased during ‘lockdown’; some questions we can answer immediately whilst others will have to wait until the Archives Team can meet once again at Mellor Parish Centre. However, as has happened since the website was launched, people are generous and happy to provide information, photographs and ephemera, to be kept in the Archives. I have been reminded of one such occasion by reading this month’s heritage article about the Goyt Mill and in particular, the Carel Frères’s steam engine that powered the mill.
Last year, I was contacted by Anne Bradbury, who had a handwritten copy of the engine contract for the mill and wondered if MLHS would like it for the archives. It had belonged to Anne’s grandfather, Herbert John Turner, the first Engineer at the Goyt mill. Born in 1883 in Standish, Lancashire, Herbert worked initially as a blacksmith, continued his education at night school and became a member of the Institute of Marine Engineers, before becoming an engineer in cotton mills. This makes sense because the engines in cotton mills would be similar, if not the same, as those powering steamships. Herbert’s father, John had originally been a colliery engineer, working on a pit top winding engine, following in the footsteps of his own father, Martin. However, John moved to work as an engineer in cotton mills and eventually he was the engineer at Shepley Mill in Hawk Green. Perhaps it was from his father that Herbert learned about the job at the Goyt mill? He would have only been 23 or 24 when he got the job, quite a responsibility!
Photograph of the Turner family:
The oldest couple are John and Elizabeth Turner, the middle aged man and his young wife are Herbert John Turner and his third wife, Mary Jane, the girl is Clara Elizabeth Turner (mother of Anne Bradbury) and the boy is John Turner who died when he was eighteen.
In 1911, John and his wife Elizabeth were living at Lyme Dale in Hawk Green. Later, they had a house built and in Anne’s words;
they lived in Ellerbeck, a house on Hibbert Lane on the corner of what is now Links Road. My grandfather (Herbert) lived at Graycroft, also on Hibbert Lane, on the other corner of Links Road, which was a chicken farm when I was a child living there.
My great grandfather had Ellerbeck built first and then, I think, in 1928 my grandfather had Graycroft built.
Thanks to Anne for sharing her memories, donating the contract to the Archives and for the wonderful family photograph. We thought the contract might be of interest to the Northern Mill Engine Society so I passed a copy to them and they, in turn, kindly provided a typed transcript.
To view the typed transcript, follow the link: Engine Specification
The handwritten copy can be viewed at the Archives.
Hilary Atkinson July 2020