Video Yates, Duxbury Heap Bridge, Lancashire

Discussion in 'Resources' started by AJC, 17 December 2017.

  1. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Just stumbled across this rather wonderful bit of film that @Osgood and @Neil might enjoy (as might you all), showing the end of steam working at Yates, Duxbury paper mill at Heap Bridge in 1974. It's fair to describe the condition of the Barclay saddle tank as 'sub-optimal', but well-polished - look at that brass work - just not clean.

    The system, such as it was, had internal wagons (shown) and, aside from the Barclay, a pair of Pecketts, one of which survives at Embsay.

    Yates Duxbury & Sons

    The Barclay is still about, too:

    'Anne' at Whitwell and Reepham (C) Ashley Dace

    Last edited: 17 December 2017
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  2. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Wonderful, thanks! The same photographer's films of the Astley Green & Walkden colliery system are well worth viewing.
    A great film, illustrating well the industrial setting of the paper mill railway!

    Here's a nice portrait of one of the Pecketts during its visit at Beamish:
    Peckett 'R2' Class 0-4-0st 'Yates Duxbury and Sons LTD, Beamish Museum
    Edit: This is 1370 of 1915 owned by the Jubilee Locomotive Company, the Embsay-based Peckett being a Class R1 - 1159 of 1908

    Last edited: 17 December 2017
  3. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Thank you Adam.

    That's a superb piece of film making and a tiny piece of social history rolled in to one. Until I saw this I thought that the main area for paper manufacture in the UK was the John Dickinson factories (in fact our first house was close to the Nash Mills factory which was still working while we were there). John Dickinson did not rely on a railway, though, as all their factories were alongside the Grand Union Canal which was actually diverted through Apsley when the mills were built. In fact the route of the original canal was pretty well across the front of the house in which we lived, and further up the lane can be seen the derelict remains of a lock pool, but not the pound itself. Gradually the mills closed, but I managed to take some photos while those in Apsley were still working - most memorable were the deliveries of coal by narrow boat. The coal reserves were stored on the opposite side of the canal to the mill buildings and was delivered to the power house by a conveyor which crossed the canal. I think that JD stopped using the canal for deliveries in the early to mid '60s although the wharf was still present up to the time the mill closed.

    All that land, acres and acres of it, is now desirable canal side apartments with associated pubs and leisure facilities. Sadly the Edwardian Nash House which is within the complex which was Nash Mills and was John Dickinson's home is now derelict and unlikely to survive. It was originally intended to provide a pub/restaurant and community rooms. I know insufficient to be able to say whether the current state of dereliction is down to a council lack of protective enforcement with the new developers or a failure to appreciate the importance of the building and it's place in British industrial history. The positive side of all this, though, is the proper use of a brown field site for housing.

    Frogmore Paper Mill has been retained as a working museum - it's importance cannot be over estimated as it was the site of the first mechanised paper making machine. I also believe that part of the Nash Mills site has been similarly conserved as part of the same project, so it seems tragic that John Dickinson's home may not be saved.

    I could grind on for hours abut the industrial history of Apsley, but I won't.

    Please forgive this diversion, but if it's relevant anywhere it must be this thread!

    Thanks, Adam, for causing the memories to come flooding back.

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  4. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer

    I guess the Robinson mills and other paper making and processing factories around Bristol count as a major centre of paper making in the UK too. Unlike Apsley some paper working continues down here, although the huge Robinson's site is now housing and light industry.

    There are several sites, some of which were rail, canal or river served...

    Some very late steam workings down here too, including the Peckett 'Henbury' at Wapping Wharf and Princes Wharf in the 1980s.

  5. David Varley

    David Varley Western Thunderer

    Lovely video.

    I must admit that I always thought that Kent was the main location for paper making in the UK, but I guess that paper mills sprang up all over the place.

    One of the most idyllic must be what was Cropper's mill at Cowan Head in Cumbria which was served by a line from Burneside on the Oxenholme to Windermere line - it started out in 1880 as a 3'6" line, but was converted to standard gauge in 1924, with motive power initially consisting of an 0-4-0 petrol loco which is now preserved on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, with a Rushton D48 (which I believe is also preserved at the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway) taking over in 1951.

    The line to Cowan Head (which included some roadside running) closed in 1965, but there was another line which served the Cropper's mill at Burneside which didn't close until 1974.

    Some photos at Burneside tramway c1960


    David V
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  6. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I was going to say Kent was a major centre, too. Northfleet, Maidstone, Sittingbourne, just a few of the paper mills. Indeed Whatman Paper, which specialised in scientific filter papers, was active in Maidstone until about a decade ago, was founded in 1740. They're now part of GE Healthcare and based in Buckinghamshire, the former mill site now an "innovation" park and residential development.

    Much of the Medway valley towards Tonbridge had paper mills. For a short time, I lived in Tovil, which is to the south of Maidstone. There was still a lot of the old industrial heritage left, originally served by railway as well as river traffic I expect, but it's all sadly long gone.

    Edward Lloyd, later Bowater, set up in Sittingbourne, and 2ft 6in gauge line that served those mills is now a heritage line. I must try and get down there next year!
  7. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Actually I'd not thought that through!!

    I was fortunate to be a delegate at the ARPS meeting in Sittingbourne when we had one of the very last tours of the railway associated with the Bowater paper mills. I remember it well, but had no camera with me. Living in Herts we had (and even now in Bucks) easy access to Whipsnade and it's railway. How fortunate we are that three of the locos are in leafy Beds.

    Nevertheless, unless there is some effort the industrial past of Hertfordshire will be lost and forgotten. I suspect that this may be the unintended result of gentrification....... Not that Apsley could be considered gentrified - yet.

  8. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Brian - I believe there will be a small exhibition at Welwyn Garden City library sometime in 2018 on the Nabisco Shredded Wheat factory railway. When I find out the dates I'll let you know.
  9. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Hi Tony.

    I'll be interested to hear about it. Thank you.

  10. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer

    As well as Yates Duxbury and Transparent Paper in Bury, we had the East Lancashire Paper Mill and the Radcliffe Paper Mill in Radcliffe.
    IIRC, Yates Duxbury were the first to install electric lighting in a mill in Lancashire.

  11. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    For anyone interested, I have dug up two very interesting articles -

    1) Railway Bylines June-July 1997 (vol 2 issue 4), "Worked to a Pulp" by Steven Oakden, and
    2) Industrial Railway record 155 (Dec 98), "Yates Duxbury" by Adrian Booth - an excellent 9 page article including well detailed map.

    I would recommend reading both these articles, the latter describing the unusual use of BR's Heap Bridge branch by Yates Duxbury engines once it was formally closed (due to poor track and use of 5F and 8Fs due to non-availability of smaller locos (4F, 2MT) towards the end of BR steam causing frequent derailments), and the excellent map / track plan puts the mills and branch into better perspective - thus enabling one to make more sense of the movie in Adam's opening post.

    Additionally, "The Industrial Railways of Bolton Bury & the Manchester Coalfield" by Townley et al. yields further information on both Yates Duxbury and the adjacent earlier Bridge Hall Mill of James Wrigley (which mill was the cause of building the Heap Bridge branch). This book's 1920s plan of Heap Bridge shows the interesting access to Bridge Hall Mills from the railway branch via two wagon turntables, each track crossing on its own river bridge at 90 degrees to the railway and river to two turntables situated on the mill's railway lines running along the north bank in line with branch and river - one bridge used for incoming traffic, the other for outgoing. This mill closed down in the mid 1920s, leaving Yates Duxbury as sole beneficiary of the Heap Bridge branch.

    Of additional industrial interest to industrial railway folk is the adjacent (but not rail connected) Phoenix Foundry - home at one time of James Kay who in the 1920s built a handful of internal combustion shunting locomotives, including at least one standard gauge engine. The spec and a photo of this std gauge loco (which was taken on the Heap Bridge branch) appear in Brian Webb's "The British Internal Combustion locomotive 1894-1940".
    Last edited: 27 December 2017
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  12. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Thanks @Osgood - that's saved me a lot of digging through Bylines. I recall that article with fondness: some extremely evocative photographs and really informative text (not always the case, especially not Bylines now...).

  13. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

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