History of the Mill

The history of

The Mill

Litton Cotton Mill was founded in 1782 by Ellis Needham & Thomas Firth. It seemed to be doomed from the start. It faired poorly due to it’s isolated position. Transport of raw materials in and finished goods out was difficult and the area was sparsely populated so workers were hard to come by. In 1786 it was barely profitable so was put up for sale but there were no buyers so they struggled on. Firth left the partnership in 1799 to go back to his native farming but Needham’s money had all been sunk into the mill.

In the early 19th century there was depression in the industry. In 1811 there was a fire at the mill and as a consequence the waterwheel was out of action for over a month. By 1815 Needham was declared bankrupt and given notice to quit by the landowner. During Needham’s time and probably more so due to the financial problems, many of the workers were children. The mill has a bad reputation for it’s treatment of these child workers during these times.

It was operated for a while by the ‘Newton’s’ who owned Cressbrook Mill nearby, but was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1874. Little remains of the original 1782 Mill. It was completely rebuilt in late 1800s and enlarged. The only original 1700s buildings are the current “townhouses” to the east of the main Mill building, and the current house (which was the mill canteen for a time) to the west.

In 1893 the mill was bought by Matthew Dickie a Stockport mill owner. He also took over Cressbrook Mill and had a road built between the two along the river. Litton Mill was sold to Anglo French Silk Mills in 1934 and then it changed hands again in 1963 manufacturing textured yarns until it eventual closure in the 1970s.

The buildings were empty, disused and derelict until they were converted to apartments in 2003 and renamed ‘Phoenix Building’.

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