Square Road



Map Ref. SD 934217


See SQUARE for further details and history of this mill.


Known occupiers



(Reuben Haigh, Edmund Barker, Edmund Lord)


Todmorden Commercial Spinning & Weaving Co. Ltd.










For Sale





Reuben Haigh had a bad start in life. His mother died when he was born and as was usual in these circumstances, he was baptised on the same day she was buried, 16th April 1811. The family lived at Pexroyd at the time, later moving to Watty Hole and finally to the farm at Hollow Dean. Reuben initially earned his living as a hawker and rag dealer, living down in the valley bottom. By 1842, he lived at Shade where he was a linen draper. He was married to Mary Barker and they had a growing family. Edmund Barker, the brother of Reuben’s wife, lived at Frithswood Bottom with his family. He was an overlooker in the Helliwell’s factory near his home.

Reuben, Edmund and another man, Edmund Lord, a corn miller’s man of GAUXHOLME CORN MILL, formed a partnership and commenced building a small mill at Square in Walsden. This was in 1852. The three men did well for themselves, finding employment for local people. They sold out about 1860, at a time when the mill, fully furnished with machinery, was a flourishing concern. Reuben moved to live at Clough and continued in the business firstly at WATERSTALLS MILL then at NEWBRIDGE MILL. Edmund Lord took over at Crescent Mill in Todmorden. Edmund Barker moved with his family to live in Todmorden on Peel Street, where he is described in 1861 as a fund holder. He later returned to Walsden, where, in 1871, he and his family are living at Oak Cottage and he is once more a cotton manufacturer.

The Todmorden Cotton Company, who began at SHADE MILL, later building the large concern at ALMA MILL, purchased Square Mill to use it as an extension to their larger mill. It was a Limited Company and its shares and dividends were doing well at the time. However, disaster was just a few years away. The American Civil War caused a severe downturn in fortune for all the cotton manufacturing concerns, and this company was one of the victims. In 1864, the company sold the mill to Crossley & Co.

The new owners could do no better, relinquishing the mill to John Horsfall by 1868. He is the last known owner. The mill was closed and empty from 1879 until it was demolished in 1888


Additional information


researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


Walsden Rates Book 1860

owned and occupied by Barker & Co.; mill, 9.5hp; Square; rateable value £80.14s.5d.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st Sept. 1860

Cotton mill and dwelling houses at Square, Walsden, to be sold by auction at the Golden Lion 13th September 7pm. Mill, vacant land, scutching room, engine room and boiler house, smithy, steam engine and boiler, main shafting etc. in the occupation of Messrs. Haigh, Barker and Lord. 2127 square yards. Annual chief rent £8.17s.2d. Mill 21.5 x 16.5 sq. yds. inside. Two storeys and attic. Steam engine 15hp. Boiler 35hp. Also four houses called Holme Cottages adjoining the turnpike road situated 0.25 mile from Walsden station bounded by turnpike road in front and Rochdale Canal on back and easterly side.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 15th Sept 1860

Sale of machinery at Square Mill Monday 17th September.

Walsden Rates Book 1861-63

Owners and occupiers Alma Co. mill, 9.5hp and additional hp; Square; rateable value £90.1s.1d.

Halifax Courier 13th June 1863

Sale by private treaty. Spinning mill called Square Mill, Walsden, and machinery. 6 carding engines, 1 draw frame, 1 slub frame, 2 roving frames, 12 throstles - 256 spindles each, 1 winding frame 260 spindles, 1 warp mill. Machinery new, mill only part filled. Apply James Lord, Railway Tavern, Walsden, or Thomas Foulds, manager.


Walsden Rates Book 1864-71

occupiers Crossley & Co. owner Samuel Smith, mill and power, Square, rateable value £90.1s.1d.

1866 - owners and occupiers Crossley & Co. rateable value £84.7s.0d.

1867 - new shed rateable value £5.8s.0d.

1868 - owner and occupier John Crossley

White 1866

Crossley & Co. cotton spinners & manufacturers

Walsden Rates Book 1873-1878

owner and occupier John Horsfall, mill and power, Square, rateable value £89.15s.0d.

Slater 1875

John Horsfall, cotton spinner & manufacturer

Halifax Guardian 9th Feb. 1878

Auction 5th March 1878

Estate of John Horsfall, Square Mill, Walsden. Leasehold cotton mill, 2 storeys and attic, 68ft. x 53ft. with the engine house and reeling room over boiler house, making up room, with 2 warping rooms over scutch room, mixing room, store room and offices, stone chimney and vacant land. Motive power, horizontal steam engine 30hp. Also the cotton machinery - double beater scutcher, double beater finisher, 15 single carding engines, 2 drawing frames, slubbing frame 84 spindles, 2 intermediate frames 98 x 58 spindles, 4 roving frames 124 spindles each, 1 roving frame 116 spindles, grinding frame, 30 throstle spinning frames 7,476 spindles, 2 winding engines 160 and 140 spindles, etc.

Halifax Guardian 16th March 1878

Auction 27th March at Square Mill, Walsden, estate of John Horsfall in liquidation. Cotton machinery - double beater scutcher for 48" cards by Lord Bros; Double beater finisher with patent regulator by Walker & Hacking; 15 single carding engines 48" on the wire with iron frames and bends fitted with coiler and can motions and baywood covers by Walker & Hacking; drawing frame nearly new with 3 heads of 5 deliveries, 4 rows of rollers, stopping and can motion by Walker & Hacking; slubbing frame 84 spindles, 10" lift by Walker & Hacking; 2 intermediate frames 98 x 58 spindles, 9" lift by Walker & Hacking and Dickens & Co; 4 roving frames 124 spindles each 7" lift by Walker & Hacking and Mason; 1 roving frame 116 spindles 7" lift by Tatham; grinding frame for 48" cards and spare emery rollers, turning-up rest, with all necessary cans, bobbins and belt; 30 throstle spinning frames containing 7476 spindles 2" lift by Harling and Todd, Walker and Hacking etc; 2 winding engines 160 and 140 spindles; 4 double bobbin reels by Thomas Holt; 15 x 12 yard warp mills etc. also yarn.

Halifax Guardian 23rd March 1878

Auction 27th March at Square Mill, Walsden. 39 calico pieces, 28", 32" and 36" wide; warps on beams and damaged warps.

Walsden Rates Book 1879-81


Halifax Courier 5th July 1879

Auction at Square Mill, Walsden. John Horsfall, 2127 square yards. Not sold, only £500 offered.

Walsden Rates Book 1888