Rochdale Road


Map Ref. SD 934214

See also BOTTOMS MILL and NEWBRIDGE MILL. The three mills formed part of the Bottoms Mill complex.

Known occupiers


FIELDEN Samuel & LAW Thomas






DUGDALE William and MILLS John




Now Gordon Riggs Garden Centre


Illustrated history


Winterbutlee Mill began its life about 1861 when Thomas Law and Samuel Fielden entered in to a partnership. The two young men were brothers-in-law, Samuel having married Ann Law, the older sister of Thomas, some seven years earlier.


Winterbutlee Mill

Thomas was a 23-year old bachelor living at home with his mother and stepfather at Newbridge in Walsden. His paternal grandfather, Robert Law, and two great uncles had built the large mill at RAMSDEN WOOD, which they worked successfully for over 20 years. His mother, Mary Bottomley, was the daughter of Old Thomas Bottomley who was responsible for building the equally successful SPRING MILL, also at Ramsden Wood.

The two cotton-manufacturing families of Ramsden Wood had come together with the marriage of his parents, and it is no wonder that Robert had an interest in starting up on his own. He had a little money, no doubt due to the early death of his father, and what better than to invest it in the business he was born in to.

Samuel Fielden was in a similar situation. His grandfather was John Fielden who built one of the first spinning mills in the area, CLOUGH MILL. His late father and uncles were all involved in the successful Clough Mill, and again, due to the deaths of the remaining partners at Clough Mill, Samuel had a little money to invest. He was aged 28 and living at Clough House with his wife and a growing family of daughters - Mary, Jane, Emily and Kate.

Clough House


Samuel purchased a piece of land between the turnpike road and the river at Bottoms in Walsden on which the partners built a new cotton-spinning mill. Neither man had previously taken on a mill of their own, but with all their family history behind them, they no doubt anticipated success. They furnished the mill with an engine and boilers, gearing and other machinery, but then came the infamous cotton panic. The brothers-in-law were unable to continue, and the mill stayed idle and unused.

Samuel found a use for one of the large rooms at the mill when the trustees of INCHFIELD CHAPEL in Walsden decided to build a new church in May 1861. Samuel Fielden gave them the use of a large room at Winterbutlee Mill where they could hold their services and meetings pending the completion of the new church. This continued for nine months, and at a ceremony in 1862, Samuel Fielden was presented with a bible and his wife with a hymn book as a thank you for allowing the use of the room at the mill, free of charge, for nine months.

The mill was occupied briefly by Horsfall & Co. before brothers William and Robert Bottomley of SPRING MILL, cousins of Thomas Law, were given a 7 year lease at £500 a year.


Thomas Law died in Manchester aged 30 in 1867 and is buried at St. Peters in Walsden. His brother-in-law Samuel Fielden returned to manage CLOUGH MILL for the new owner, William Dugdale. His family grew, and by 1873 his wife had given birth to 14 children. They later moved to live in Manchester where Samuel died in 1908 aged 76.


The Bottomley brothers held the lease and ran the mill in conjunction with their other concern at Spring Mill, Ramsden Wood, for the next 7 years. They were young men, unmarried, and living at home with their widowed mother at this time. They weathered the cotton panic, but decided enough was enough by 1870 and relinquished the lease.

On 19th August that year, the mill was offered for sale by auction at the Queen Hotel in Todmorden. There was a good attendance but the bidding did not reach the reserved price and the property was withdrawn.

In a private agreement after the auction, William Dugdale purchased the mill to add to his growing collection of mills in Walsden. He already owned CLOUGH MILL and BOTTOMS MILL at this time. William and two of his sons, James and Charles, ran the mill until William died suddenly at his home on Montreal Place in Walsden in 1883. His youngest son, Charles, took over at Winterbutlee. 

Charles Dugdale was educated at the Makeing Place Commercial College in Soyland, and on leaving the college, he worked for his father, first as a bookkeeper and then as manager.

During the time Charles was in charge at Winterbutlee Mill, there was a fire. This happened early in the morning on 28th December 1896, about 10 minutes after the staff had commenced work. The men on the spot immediately took control, confining the outbreak and limiting the damage to about £100. The fire was reported in the papers as follows:

Shortly after 6 o’clock yesterday morning a fire broke out on the premises of William Dugdale and Sons, cotton manufacturers, Winterbutlee Mill, Walsden near Todmorden. The work people had just started when the spinning department became enveloped in flames. Great alarm prevailed, but all escaped. The Todmorden Corporation fire brigade rendered valuable service. They saved an extensive weaving shed and confined the fire to the spinning department and engine rooms. More damage was done by water than by fire.


Another incident, far more tragic, was the death of a 14-year old boy, Thomas Smith. This occurred on 20th November 1905. Thomas, of 14 Garibaldi Street, became trapped by a hoist at the mill, which caused his immediate death.

Charles Dugdale married Ellen Taberner, a woman from Warwickshire who was 17 years his junior. They lived first at the imposing Holly Bank House in Walsden, then at Durn Lea near Littleborough, and finally at Inchfield Villa in Walsden. Charles, like his two older brothers, John and James, served on Todmorden Borough Council for a number of years. He died at Inchfield Villa in 1913, and with his death came the end of the Dugdale Cotton Empire.

Holly Bank


His obituary appeared in the 1914 edition of the Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Almanac:

The late Mr. Charles Dugdale of Inchfield Villa, Walsden.


One of the best known men in Walsden was Mr. Chas. Dugdale of Inchfield Villa, whose death took place on Wednesday October 15th 1913.

Mr. Dugdale was the youngest son of the late Mr. Wm. Dugdale, and carried on an extensive business as cotton spinner and manufacturer at Winterbutlee and Woodbottom Mills in Walsden, where about 350 people are employed. He was generally regarded as a keen and successful businessman, and was highly esteemed in commercial circles. He also took a fair share of public work.

He served on the Todmorden Town Council as one of the representatives of the Walsden ward from 1907 to 1912, and eventually retired on account of the state of his health. Although a Liberal in politics, he declined to contest on political lines and was returned as an independent in a three-cornered contest. He was first returned to the council in a bye-election in August 1907 for a vacancy in the Walsden ward caused by the elevation of the present Mayor to the aldermanic bench. After his first election, Mr. Dugdale had not to contest for his seat again. On the death of his brother, Alderman John Dugdale, in 1909, Mr. Charles Dugdale was appointed Overseer for the Township of Todmorden, a position which he held at the time of his death. Mr. Dugdale has been a generous supporter of many Walsden institutions, notably of the Walsden Cricket Club, of which he was elected President in March last, on the death of Mr. Thompson Helliwell J.P. Previous to that he had been Vice-President of the club for many years, and when the club was in debt two or three years ago he made a handsome donation of £100.


Gordon Rigg

The mill changed hands and continued in production until about 1962. Earlier than that, in 1945 after the end of the War, a local man by the name of Gordon Rigg borrowed £150 from his old boss and bought the lease on a quarter-acre smallholding immediately adjacent to the mill. On this land, he grew plants, lettuce, radish, cress, tomatoes and mushrooms, which he sold on his stall on Todmorden Market. His business was successful and his stall was possibly the busiest on the market.

In 1962, the owner of the mill died and Gordon was threatened with the loss of his land. He negotiated with the new owners, whereby it was agreed he should give up half his land and green houses in exchange for the option to purchase the other half outright. His only son, Peter, joined him in the business in 1968, and they never looked back.


They opened a Garden Centre on the site, which has expanded and grown to cover the entire site of the mill, making good use of some of the original buildings. It is probably the busiest Garden Centre in the North of England.


The chimney still stands, although the top half was demolished a few years ago for safety reasons, and the old engine and boiler house, with some of the weaving sheds, remain.

The old weaving sheds

Chimney and engine house


When Gordon Rigg died the business was continued by his son Peter. Gordon's name lives on, as does Winterbutlee mill.


Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


Walsden Rates Books 1861-62

Occupiers Horsfall & Co. owner Samuel Fielden; mill etc. Winterbutlee; rateable value £333.6s.8d.

Walsden Rates Books 1863

Occupiers executors of T. Bottomley; owner Samuel Fielden; mill etc. Winterbutlee; rateable value £333.6s.8d.

Walsden Rates Books 1864-70

Empty; owner Samuel Fielden; mill etc. Winterbutlee; rateable value £333.6s.8d.

1866 – rateable value £190.10s.0d.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 19th August 1870

Winterbutlee Mill for sale, no bids.

Walsden Rates Books 1871

Occupied by Dugdale & Mills; owner Samuel Fielden; mill etc. Winterbutlee; rateable value £190.10s.0d.

Walsden Rates Books 1873-75

Owned and occupied by Dugdale & Mills; mill etc. Winterbutlee; rateable value £190.10s.0d.

Halifax Courier 5th July 1873

Flood damage. Mr. Dugdale Winterbutlee Mill, damage £40 to £50.

Walsden Rates Books 1876-90

Owned and occupied by William Dugdale; mill and power; Winterbutlee; rateable value £190.10s.0d.

1880 – rateable value £198.10s.0d.

1881 – rateable value £176.

1885 – rateable value £181.10s.0d.

1888 – rateable value £190.15s.0d.

Halifax Guardian 17th May 1879

Work people at William Dugdale, Walsden, have “played” for 5 weeks. Summonsed back to work at reduced wages.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st August 1879

Winterbutlee Mill full time at present. 11,000 spindles (part of Bottoms Mills)

Halifax Courier 27th Sept 1879

Fire at William Dugdales, Winterbutlee Mill. Little damage.

Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 17th December 1880

Fire at Winterbutlee Mill, Walsden, in the occupation of William Dugdale, in the scutch room. Little damage to building or machinery. Only cotton destroyed. Fielden’s fire engine attended.

Halifax Courier 29th October 1881

Advance in wages, 1d. a cut; William Dugdale, Winterbutlee.

Todmorden Advertiser 11th January 1884

William Dugdale of Clough, Walsden, died 22nd November 1883. Letters of Administration to John Dugdale of Hollins, Walsden, ale, porter and spirit merchant.

Manchester Examiner 22nd July 1887

Bottoms and Winterbutlee Mills; 50,000 spindles; 300 looms; working full time

Views and Reviews 1896

James and Charles Dugdale trading as William Dugdale, cotton spinners and manufacturers, Bottoms Mills and Woodbottom Mill, Walsden. Winterbutlee Mill built 1861 and is opposite Bottoms Mill where the office and warehouse are situated.