Project: Alexandra Shed

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Shed is rather a diminutive term, but Alexandra Shed was the last remnant of Hawksclough Mill. A large cotton (or woollen) mill on the edge of Mytholmroyd on the bank of the Rochdale Canal in West Yorkshire, that had stood there since the mid-1800s. When I saw it was starting to get demolished I realised I had a unique opportunity to preserve a little bit of West Yorkshire’s industrial heritage through my photography. All shots taken from public rights of way.

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X-E1, 18mm f5.6 1/550 sec

The mill from the canal side, showing the oldest part of the remaining mill building. The part demolished chimney just pokes up above the roof at the rear. The old mill chimney had been taken down while the building was still in use, presumably for safety reasons.

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X100, 23mm f4 1/80 sec

From the road side you could look in on the part of the building that saw the most recent use with what appears to be a little old stock left behind from the former blenders and slitherers.

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X100, 23mm f5.6 1/90 sec

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X-E1, 60mm f5.6 1/40 sec

The view further back in the building is revealed as the demolition crew work back from the road side. That rear wall is part of the original 1800s mill building. Note the old windows and doors had been blocked off.

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X100, 23mm f5.6 1/40 sec

From the canal side at the base of the chimney where part of the rear wall had collapsed. Note the old pulley wheel on the collapsed wooden framework.

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X-E1, 60mm f5.6 1/240 sec

I’d hoped they might repurpose the old mill building once the more recent part had been stripped away, but sadly it too came down brick by brick.

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X-E1, 8mm f8 1/150 sec

The building had been derelict for quite some time and part of the back wall had collapsed, allowing nature to start to reclaim the land.

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X-E1, 60mm f5.6 1/125 sec

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X100, 23mm f5.6 1/90 sec

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X-E1, 60mm f5.6 1/125 sec

With the middle of the building ripped away the well worn staircase is in plain view. Note the fold down side boards that presumably made it possible to raise or lower carts without needing a lift. You can see a mangled cart in one of the early shots above.

Today nothing of the old building remains apart from a 1 story high wall composed of the old mill’s rear wall. Where it had collapsed its been repaired with reclaimed stone. The old windows and doors all bricked in. Now Alexandra Shed is just a memory for those who once worked there and who passed it in their daily travels. If you know anything more about this old mill I’d love to hear from you, get in touch.

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