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Old Town Mill Chimney

From Julie C

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

There are strong rumours in the district that there are plans underway to demolish the Mill Chimney at Old Town Mill in order to create extra parking space. A wall close by has certainly gone already.

Word is that the Chimney is not Listed. If so, it is at imminent risk. So many of these local landmarks, the last echoes of the Industrial past, are already gone. Let's try and save this one.

From Anne H

Saturday, 27 September 2014

I really don't think the owners would knock it down to create a few parking spaces! For one thing it will cost a lot of money to dismantle, but the other point is that there is currently no real need for more parking around the mill (unless it's part of a bigger plan, does anyone have any reason to think so?).

The concrete wall that was pulled down was an eyesore and not serving its original purpose (which I think was as a bay for storing coal?). When you create a space, someone usually parks in it! That's not the same as saying the space was created to enable cars to park.

From Jeni Wetton

Saturday, 27 September 2014

I agree we need to keep this landmark of the valley's industrial past. Do they need some sort of 'planning permission' to demolish it?

From Julie C

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Safe for now, emergency listing Friday evening, through the efforts of one of the parish Councillors and support from English Heritage.

A hurried local ring round at 8am this morning, when a massive crane and steeplejacks arrived, and were spotted by a local dog walker. This brought a pile of folk out to make sure it was merely 'inspected'!

Police and Parish Councillors turned out too, and Calderdale confirmed the Listing by phone.

The Chimney does need work on it and replacement of the lightning conductor, the whole Mill is in fact in what appears to be a poor state of repair. If it was Windsor Castle and was falling down the answer wouldn't be - pull it down. The same should be the case for a feature such as this, part of a building where so many people laboured for a living years ago, and a well loved local landmark

English Heritage confirmed it is one of the few chimneys in the country to retain its full height including the sticky out bit near the top (probably a technical term for that.)

From Julie C

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Yes Anne, the rumour of 'more parking' doesn't really add up does it. The owner's answer is that the whole business was just about Health and Safety. The belief is that - at a minimum - they wanted to lop the top off, probably cheaper than fixing it. It undoubtedly needs money spending on it, hardly surprising, as it's been up there in harsh winds and weather for well over 100 years already. The worry is that the process might go still further, and could be a pre-cursor to other unwelcome developments at the site.

Hebden itself saw a great many old mills totally disappear, especially in the late 70s early 80s, many going up in flames. The site of the present Co-op in Market St was cleared by the Mill being brought down, without notice or permission, early one Sunday morning.

Though there is absolutely no suggestion here that any such activity was in anybody's mind on Saturday, it shows that protecting our Heritage is up to the whole Community, not just officials in Calderdale, the Owners themselves or a few History Buffs. Wadsworth people care about the chimney and turned out to prove it.

From Bernard B

Sunday, 28 September 2014

On a vaguely related matter and just out of interest, does anyone know anything about the water course that leads from the Viva Espana reservoir down to the mill? A few years ago it used to be running pretty much all year round, now I'm struggling to remember when I last saw water in it?

From Emma S

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Nice work Julie and everybody. Does this mean the chimney is now listed? The whole building should be listed in my opinion; I'm surprised that it isn't.

Who owns the building now, and what's it used for these days? It's a wonder it hasn't been sold to developers yet.

From Felicia J

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Bernard, I was on a guided walk in Old Town a year or two ago which was also attended by someone from Bog Eggs aka Viva espana/ Allswell farm. He said that the small reservoir at the top on the hill feeds/ fed the watercourse from its over flow. If I remember rightly he further said that they had altered the overflow feed because of concerns about people swimming in the reservoir. I replied that it was a great shame that this old impressive watercourse, a wonderful sight and landmark, was no longer running because of that.

From Chris Barnett

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

As far as I know, the watercourse from the mill reservoir has been diverted into a pipe which feeds a small hydro electric generator (in the shed in the field just above the mill).

I have no idea how much power it generates, but the ATC may have some info (or you could ask the owner of the mill).