Yorkshire Industrial Heritage

Low Mill

Yorkshire > West Yorkshire > Keighley > Low Mill

Basic information

Low Mill.
Civil Parish
West Yorkshire.
Type of record
SE 0660 4120.
53.86697222, -1.901119556


First cotton-spinning mill built in Yorkshire, begun as speculation by Thomas Ramsden of Halifax and completed in 1780 by Claytons and Walshman who in 1783-4 also built Langcliffe Mill, Langcliffe, near Settle. Four-storeyed sixteen-bay water-powered mill, by 1788 with adjoining warehouse and steam engine to pump water back into dam. Extensive sheds and warehouses added after site taken for worsted manufacture c1840 by John Craven. Partly demolished.

Additional information

Fosters Low Mills Furniture is placed here. It is partly left.

Ortophotographic map

Aerial photographic view of Low Mill (Keighley, West Yorkshire).


Map of Keighley with its 56 textile mills.


1 Damian Mills


For many years, until 1979, the mill was run by J P Heaton & Company Limited, a woolcombing and spinning firm that was (by then) part of the Vesteys' Union International empire. In the mid 1970's, the Heatons spinning and admin moved to Knowle Mills at Ingrow, leaving the combing shed in operation. J W Allen (Topmakers) Ltd - formerly of Springfield Mills - briefly occupied the extant part of the mill adjacent to Low Mill Lane. Allens was also a part of Union International. The other small part of the mills still remaining by the old mill race is reputedly the remnant of the oldest cotton mill in Yorkshire. In 1979 Heatons closed their still profitable Combing business (in light of incoming regulations on effluent discharges) and Allens was closed down around the same time. In 1979 the site was sold to Peter Blacks, then a major supplier to Marks and Spencer, who used it for warehousing for some years. At one time this was a large mill complex, but it was ravaged by 2 fires in the 1970's and the site is now used for retail. My father, Graham Mills was Heatons' last Combing Manager (late 1960's to 1979), having first started there as an apprentice during WW2.

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