Hollins Road


Map Ref. SD 932225


Known occupiers






ASHWORTH Henry & Bros.





1928 - 2006

CROSSLEY’S Shuttles Ltd.

April 2006




Notes from John Travis, contemporary historian:

James Greenwood and John Newell returned after a few years in America where they had been loom overlookers, in 1859. They wanted room and power for a few looms and found it advertised in part of Turvin Mill at Cragg Vale. They took it and the looms were supplied by Marland Bros. of Sun Vale. Partnership joined by John Sutcliffe, previously a bookkeeper at Waterside Mill then at Mellor in Derbyshire. There was no weaving place nearer than Mytholmroyd, so the wives of the 3 partners taught the local girls how to weave. Trouble caused by the girls leaving the local spinning mills in Cragg Vale to weave. Pressure brought on the masters of the spinning part of Turvin Mill, although they were only the tenants and not the owners. Greenwood, Newell and Sutcliffe decided to move out.

John Sutcliffe had purchased Woodbottom Farm in Walsden, and the partners decided to build a weaving shed there, as there was a good supply of water. John Travis was consulted and he made a plan, map and model. The building of Woodbottom Shed began in 1860 and the partnership started work December 1860. Then came the cotton famine, but they went forward by spasms for a year or two longer.

In 1863-64 James Hargreaves took the mill but failed after a year. Greenwood, Newell and Sutcliffe then had to assign the property to trustees for their creditors, having previously sold the looms. The trustees let the mill about 1865 for £156 a year.

After several years, the trustees sold the mill to Ashworth Bros. for £1305. (The building and furnishing of the mill was said to have cost £2000.) Creditors of Greenwood, Newell and Sutcliffe eventually received 19s.10d in the pound.  Henry Ashworth & Bros previously had room and power at Sladen Wood Mill, Summit. The Ashworths sold the spare land for £500 and worked the mill for a long time, then sold to the Dugdale Bros. for £650.





Committal of a bankrupt manufacturer


On Monday, at the Manchester Bankruptcy Court, Mr. Higgin applied to Mr. Commissioner Jemmett, to have JAMES HARGREAVES of Woodbottom Mill, near Todmorden, cotton manufacturer, committed under the 260th section of the old bankruptcy act, for not satisfactorily answering certain questions relative to the loss of three several sums of money, amounting to £230, £30, and £207, which he had received in the course of his business, and which ought to have gone for the benefit of his creditors.

The prisoner received from Messrs. W. and T. Rymer of Manchester £230, early in May. He proceeded to Rochdale by train, and stayed there several days, and one Saturday was drinking in a public house with some soldiers. On Sunday morning, when he awoke he found himself on the fairground in Rochdale, minus the £230 and the £30. He gave no information to the police, made no inquiries, and the only person to whom he mentioned the loss was his wife.

A few days afterwards he came to Manchester, and received £207 from Messrs. Rylands and Co. He then went up to London, and was present at the Derby, where in backing Lord Clifden he lost £100. The remainder of the money he spent on "pleasuring". He was ultimately arrested in London upon a warrant of the commissioner, and when searched had no money on him. The only account he could give of the total amount received, was, that he paid £40 of it to a person at Manchester, to whom he was indebted - The commissioner said that he could not think that the money was satisfactorily accounted for, and he should commit the bankrupt to prison until such time as he was prepared to give a satisfactory account of the money. The bankrupt was removed in custody to the New Bailey.


HALIFAX GUARDIAN 26th September 1863

Fraudulent Bankrupt

On Wednesday, at the Manchester Bankruptcy Court, JAMES HARGREAVES, cotton manufacturer of Wood Bottom Mill, Todmorden, came up in the custody of Captain Midland, to pass his last examination. Mr. Higgin who opposed the application, said that the case was a very peculiar one. The bankrupt had received a very large sum of money from his agents, Messrs. Rayner, of Manchester, but stated that he had lost it whilst "on the spree" getting drunk from public house to public house in Rochdale. On a subsequent occasion he received a sum of money from Messrs. Rylands, which he said he had lost at Epsom races.

Some clue had been obtained to the notes received from Messrs. Rayner, and, if the information was correct, the bankrupt could not have lost the money. The assignees whished for an adjournment of the case, with a view of ascertaining the accuracy of the information they had received. Mr. Boote, for the bankrupt, consented to the adjournment of the last examination, but said that he thought the bankrupt might be released from custody. The bankrupt had been imprisoned for sixteen weeks, for not satisfactorily answering the questions put to him. Surely he had suffered enough. The Commissioner said it was clear that the bankrupt's last examination must be adjourned, and the bankrupt must be present to be confronted with the witnesses who might be brought forward. Under the circumstances, he could not order the release of the bankrupt.


HALIFAX GUARDIAN 7th November 1863

Re James Hargreaves.

On Thursday, at the Manchester Bankruptcy Court, Mr. Boote mentioned the case of JAMES HARGREAVES, of Wood Bottom Mill Todmorden, a bankrupt, to obtain the opinion of the Court as to a bankrupt being required to pay the expenses of an adjourned meeting. HARGREAVES not having given satisfactory answers to certain questions put to him, the Commissioner had committed him to prison.

During his imprisonment, the accountant made out a statement of his accounts, upon which the bankrupt was examined on the 30th ult. There were certain explanations required, which the bankrupt could not give, and an adjournment took place to allow him to afford the necessary information. The Registrar had ordered the adjournment to be at the bankrupt's expense, but at the same time had said he should like the general principle as to expenses of adjournments in such cases to be determined. The Court decided that as the adjournment was rendered necessary by the bankrupt's neglect or misconduct, he must pay the expenses.


HALIFAX GUARDIAN 26th December 1863

Re James Hargreaves, Cotton Manufacturer

On Wednesday, at the Manchester Court of bankruptcy, Mr. Boote applied for the discharge of this bankrupt. Mr. Shipman opposed the application on the ground that he had brought himself within the clauses of the act which related to misdemeanours; he having omitted to keep proper books of account; the cause of his insolvency being attributed to rash and hazardous speculations; and having within sixty days previous to the adjudication concealed a part of his property, above the value of £10.

He was adjudicated bankrupt about the 20th of May, and within sixty days he received £200 from Messrs Rymer, of Manchester. He received the money of a Friday, and instead of going home, he stopped at Rochdale, where he remained until nearly midnight the following Saturday, having spent the interval in visiting public houses. According to his own statement, he became so drunk that he slept in the open air, and on recovering found he had been robbed of his pocket-book. He did not communicate with the police, and made no attempt to find the money, although the notes were for £100, and could easily have been traced.

On the following Tuesday he came to Manchester, and received £207 from Messrs. Rymer, £40 of which he had paid to a man named Lord. With the remainder he went to Epsom races, and by backing a horse named - Lord Clifden - lost nearly the whole of it; having thus lost £400 within a week. Instead of consulting his creditors he caused a letter to be written to his wife by a clog-maker at London named Hinchcliffe (with whom he had been stopping) in which he asked to be informed whether the mill was running and if anyone had been attempting to take any proceedings for the money.

He also requested his wife to send the pieces in the mill immediately to Hinchcliffe's address, and that if anyone attempted to stop them she was to say that he (the bankrupt) had ordered them to be sent to Messrs. Rymer. The creditors having ascertained that he had gone away without making any provision for his debts, he was declared a bankrupt, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He (Mr. Shipman) therefore asked the commissioner to direct that a prosecution should take place, seeing that the bankrupt was engaged in hazardous speculations, thereby bringing him within the 159th section of the act.

Mr. Boote, in reply, said he did not contend that his client had done what he ought; but as to the charge that he had been guilty of rash and hazardous speculation he apprehended that those words meant rash and hazardous speculation in trade and unjustifiable extravagance in living. Taking the wording of the whole section of the act, it was perfectly plain that that was so. The bankrupt had lost £100 in betting, but it was not that sum which had made him insolvent. As to the bankrupt having omitted to keep books, the words of the section were, that he should have willfully omitted to keep proper books "with intent" to defraud his creditors. The bankrupt had not concealed any of the facts, dark as they might appear against him, and he had told the same story from the beginning.

A dividend had already been declared of 8s in the pound, and £200 was now in the hands of the assignees, available for a further dividend. The cost price of the estate would have shown over 30s in the pound; and if the property had fetched anything like the actual value the creditors would have been paid, irrespective of the two sums in question; 20s in the pound. He submitted that, although the bankrupt's conduct had not been what it ought, yet it did not bring him within the sections of the act referred to. He therefore hoped the commissioner would not order a prosecution.

The commissioner said it appeared to him that the evidence was not sufficiently strong against the bankrupt to being him within the 159th section, with regard to his insolvency being attributable to rash and hazardous speculation or unjustifiable extravagance in living. But he thought his conduct had been such that he had brought himself within the penalties of the 221st section. The course under that section was to indict the party for misdemeanour if they thought proper to do so. The conduct of the bankrupt had been extremely bad towards his creditors, and he should adjourn the consideration of his discharge for two months, so as to give the assignees an opportunity, if they thought proper, to indict the bankrupt for misdemeanour.



Additional information

researched, recorded and referenced by Mrs Sheila Wade

Hebden Bridge WEA Local History Group


Fielden papers 15th Aug 1861

Fielden Bros. letter to Greenwood, Newell & Sutcliffe, Turvin Mill near Mytholmroyd. In answer to your enquiry, we must decline to supply the new mill at Woodbottom with gas.


Walsden Rates Book 1861-63

Owned and occupied by Greenwood, Newell and Sutcliffe; shed, warehouse etc. 42 looms at 2.5hp; rateable value £78.2s.3d.


Walsden Rates Book 1864 - 1888

Owned and occupied by Ashworth & Son; shed, warehouse etc. Woodbottom; rateable value £78.2s.3d.

1866 – Hollins Road; rateable value £97.19s.0d.

1867 – owned and occupied by Ashworth Bros.

1870 – owned and occupied by John Ashworth & Sons

1880 – owned and occupied by Henry Ashworth & Bros. rateable value £117.

1881 – rateable value £111.5s.0d

1885 – rateable value £78

1888 – empty, rateable value £73.5s.0d.

1890 – empty.


White 1866

Henry Ashworth & Bros. cotton spinners and manufacturers

Slater 1875

Henry Ashworth & Bros. Lob Mill and Walsden Mill, cotton spinners and manufacturers

Slater 1877

Henry Ashworth & Bros. Lob Mill and Walsden Mill, cotton spinners and manufacturers.

Halifax Guardian 3rd May 1879

Ashworth Bros. Woodbottom Mill, closed works for indefinite period.


Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Advertiser 1st Aug 1879

Woodbottom Mill, 212 looms, closed.


Halifax Courier 18th Oct 1879

Woodbottom, owned by the Ashworth Bros rumoured to re-open. Later abandoned.


Halifax Courier 8th Nov 1879

Ashworth & Bros of Lob Mill and Woodbottom now working full time after entire stoppage of about 8 months.


Halifax Courier 7th Feb. 1885

Claim for 30 weeks’ wages from Ashworth Bros, cotton manufacturers, Wood Mill near Todmorden.


Worrall 1891

Henry Ashworth & Bros. Woodbottom Mill, 262 looms.



Transcript from a Todmorden newspaper 21st April 2006


AN ERA will come to an end tomorrow when the last shuttle manufacturer in this area stops production.

Crossley’s Shuttles Limited, of Woodbottom Mill, Hollins Road, Todmorden will cease production after 118 years manufacturing shuttles of all types and sizes for automatic and non-automatic looms.

Director Ian Bancroft said it had been a business decision.

“With the decline in the Lancashire and Yorkshire textile trade and pressure from foreign markets I have decided to call it a day. It’s very sad but there’s nothing I can do,” said Mr Bancroft.

“I have three men downstairs who will finish on Friday and then my son and I will sort out the mill. We’ve been busy for the last three or four months filling panic orders from our customers from all over the world but it isn’t enough to keep us going.

“Our employees have been very loyal giving many years’ service, including former Todmorden Mayor Clarence Brown.

“Recently we had five employees who had 250 years’ service between them,” said Mr Bancroft, who has himself been with the company since the Bancroft family bought the business in 1968.

Shuttles have been sent to textile manufacturers around the world and even given as gifts by British Airways to air travellers to commemorate the launch of their shuttle service.

John Crossley and Sons started Crossley’s Shuttles Limited in 1888 located originally in Ridge Mill, in the centre of Todmorden. In 1928 the company moved to Woodbottom Mill, a textile mill complete with looms which cost £500.

The family sold the looms for more than they had bought the mill and paid the electricity company to bring power to Hollins Road to power the mill.

The company was owned by the Crossley family until the 1960s when it was taken over by British Northrop Loom Co Ltd before the Bancroft family bought it in 1968.