View Full Version : Ellenroad Engine House,M62 J21 may 2011

captain cave man
16-05-2011, 04:57 AM
Many a time both me and my Fiancée have gone down the m62 and passed a nice derelict looking mill on the right of the motorway the last time we passed going to the Alderley Edge Copper Mines we noticed scaffolding up at the front and said to each other it's about time we go there as it looks like there is going to be a conversion of this mill several weeks now passed and little did we know but going down past the same mill we came off the motorway where this mill was to go to yet another grand day out exploring in the opposite direction !, so the sat nav stating take the next turn off the roundabout i hit hard right and Jo stated it said left ere, my only reply was I want to see this mill what we always pass !, no more than 2 mins down the road we took a right and boy was it worth while, never in my greatest imagination did i expect to find what we did, we got to the security gate where a nice bloke came out and i asked him if we could go see the old mill for some photography !, he gave me a pan-flit and told us some off the people are down there, they might let you in.

So off we went into the secured area,left the car taking our cameras n tripods for a shoot at the derelict mill (this was our first mistake thinking derelict), we went into the grounds of the mill and round the back where we heard some form of masonry work and was greeted by a reet nice bloke called Neville, we explained what we did and asked to see the mill , no problems, its not open to the public today (cogs in my head started turning), following him in for a full guided tour to what I can only describe as heaven for a bloke of my nature (Maintenance Engineer/Turner/miller/Fitter), I was like a child let loose in a sweet shop with no grown ups about :).

If I was to say the 'Main Steam Engine' was huge this would be an understatement in fact it would be like classing Einstein himself to been nothing more than an amoeba !.

Time for some history, information And Pictures.

Ellenroad Engine House is located within the hills in Rochdale also the location of the river Beal at Milnrow at the junction of 21 off the M62, the Engine House and chimney can be seen from the M62.

The buildings and machines within hold the 29 position in the Country list. One of the Engines is the 'Whiteless Beam Engine' another is the 'Worlds Largest Steam Mill Engine' which is named after 2 Queens 'Victoria And Alexandra' which also include the mechanical symmetry of the 'Browett Lindley Steam Generator'.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors named the Engines 'Victoria and Alexandra' stating how well the Engine builders had done there work,on the firing floor the coal is hand shovelled into the 2 mechanical stokers into the double furnaces of the Lancashire Boiler in conjunction with large fans blowing a massive amount of air making 'White Heat' giving an excellent amount of steam.

The 4 original Boilers when in full swing back in the day took a massive 6000 gallons of water each minute !



A small amount of haze can be seen coming from the chimney and hot water goes into the river which let you know both the Queens are alive and kicking !.

The sounds of moving machinery powered totally by steam, the warmth of the Engines and Lancashire Boiler, Highly polished Steel and Brass and smell of hot Oil with the occasional wisp of condensed steam does not come close to what the experience is like...........it is a 'Must see masterpiece of Engineering' for the whole family.

Going right back to the beginning, way back to 1892 a group of Capital owners south of Rochdale in Newhey thought the need for a large spinning mill was required and so A massive mill was constructed by the river Beal, this mill was Ellendroad Mill 270,000 square feet of brick built factory standing five stories high, this building was designed by Stott & Sons of Oldham and was 100 yards long by 40 to 50 yards wide. Between 1903 and 1915 the fortunes of the cotton mill fluctuated.

The mule spinning all 99,756 spindles made by Platts of Oldham with supporting drawing frames, carding and other machinery were powered by a large steam engine made by the Rochdale Engineering Company owned by John and William McNaught. The blowing room and card room were on the ground floor separated by the rope race and beneath the whole mill was the conditioning cellar and warehouse.

1916 Wednesday 19th January at 2.30 pm disaster struck !, A spinner named George William Taylor was working on one of the mules when he noticed the headstock of another mule had burst into flames, Taylor gave the alarm and instantly the fire spread down the whole length of the second spinning room where the mules were located, the operatives left the mill quickly leaving the firms own fire brigade to try and tackle the blaze, 4.30 pm a pump and crew arrived from Oldham and by 5.30 the fire seamed to have been extinguished.

Suddenly at 7.30 pm the fire broke out again luckily the firemen were still at the mill and started to hose the mill again, unfortunately the windows from the initial fire and strong winds which had started engulfed the mill and sadly to say by 8 pm the mill was fully ablaze, part of a newspaper stated 'When the roof fell in with a thunderous roar the flames shot up high into the air and later when portions of the two sides of the building came crashing down amidst a cloud of dust,smoke,fire the place resembled an inferno'.

In the morning after the damage was inspected. In the Engine house the two horizontal engines 'Victoria and Alexandra' were badly damaged, the portion of the roof which had not been burnt lay in wild confusion all over the machinery which was covered with charred beams and all manner of debris, In addition the rope race was also badly damaged.

A decision to rebuild the mill was taken although actual construction was delayed due to WW1, in 1921 the new Ring Spinning Mill designed by John Russel was opened again with 5 stories and a conditioning cellar the first 2 floors were card rooms, the third and forth floors were Ring spinning rooms leaving the 5th floor for the Beaming room. New Lancashire Boilers from Tinker Shenton in Hyde were installed and the mill engine was altered to provide more power for the ring frames, there were 12,880 rings and double spindles spinning 8's to 32's single and double American and Egyptian yarns.

The Boilers one of which still remains and is use today for the powering of all the steam Engines within the building, the other one is cut showing the structure of the boiler.
These modifications brought about the twin tandem compound Engine which is one of the largest and heaviest in any mill in the world, This ran for years giving an output just shy of 3000 horsepower.

Behind us is the 80 Ton '44 belt V-Grooved' pulley and is 28 feet in Diameter, rotating at a Colossal 60 RPM roughly 87.5 feet per second surface speed !.









A closer look at one of the the Lubrication systems.


A magnificent view from above (non public area) due to been on an access ladder for the roof.



Until you have someone along side this great wheel you can not really judge size of this Engine.


This linkage 1 of 2 has a stroke diameter of around 6 foot.


Electric flow meter measuring the output.


Although I did not ask what this part of apparatus was I think I am right in guessing it is (when engaged) to get the massive pulley into the correct position on start up bringing into line the pistons within Victoria and Alexandra
for the steam to fire off the sequence in motion, once in line this would be disengaged.


captain cave man
16-05-2011, 05:01 AM
In 1970 It was decided to install individual motors onto the machinery within the mill and slowly the Engine was no longer needed and in 1975 it was de-commissioned. in 1982 the mill 'Ellenroad Ring Spinning Company' ceased trading and became derelict, this mill like many other just died destroying the industry within the area.
Good news was to prevail because back in 1984 the Ellenroad site was bought by the Coats Brothers PLC which was to locate a modern manufacturing plant for highly specialised inks, Coats assessed the site and in doing so made a decision to save the Engines 'Victoria and Alexandra' with the associated plant. In April 1985 funds raising began the refurbishment of what is now known as the Ellenroad Trust which was given a 999 year lease on the site giving them responsibility for all the restoration.

The Generator room and main switch board.

The Generator. Although no longer connected still works to an extent but unfortunately a bearing has collapsed possibly at the big end which luckily for me will be my first repair job as both me and Jo are going to join the group and freely help due to my back ground in Engineering.


16-05-2011, 06:09 AM
wow that looks great! :)

16-05-2011, 07:38 AM
Nice one Nick, that's spot on.

mr beardy
16-05-2011, 08:13 AM
great history and find :)

16-05-2011, 09:36 AM
Fascinating CCM.. well worth stopping for a look, I can just about smell the steam oil looking at the pictures..

16-05-2011, 09:56 AM
Wow, what a find! Good on them for showing you round

16-05-2011, 10:34 AM
I can see why you were excited now. Another fantastic post and great location.

16-05-2011, 11:37 AM
thats truly a monster piece of engineering. Itll be brilliant to see it in steam.

16-05-2011, 12:31 PM
Crikey - what a find and bravo on volunteering for them - I bet they were gald they showed you around now! :thumb

14-06-2011, 08:49 PM
what a great find good history to nice to see sensible people restoring instead of scrapping things

14-06-2011, 09:20 PM
Top report that mate. Love it loads :thumb

captain cave man
16-06-2011, 03:27 PM
well just to keep you all informed first Sunday in any month is steam day so come n c a big'un running under steam and the other engines too......oh on steam days i will be there too as i have started to strip the steam generator......cracks in the half cup bearings is not good.....this will take some time especially since there is no diagram of this unit :).....

16-06-2011, 05:04 PM
well just to keep you all informed first Sunday in any month is steam day

Nice one mate. Will bear that in mind indeed :thumb

17-06-2011, 09:51 AM
excellent :)