I Left it too Late: Batley’s Greenhill Mills Destroyed

Thank goodness no-one died, but even so I am feeling quite emotional about this. On 14 January a massive fire ripped through Greenhill Mills, Grange Road, Batley razing it to the ground.  

Apart for the sadness for those who will have lost their jobs, it was a place very much associated with an ancestor, Jesse Hill, who died in WW1: the ancestor I have spent most time researching. 

That connection has now gone, wiped out in a matter of hours. 

The firm Jesse Hill worked for, Wrigley & Parker, went into liquidation in the late 1920’s and the mill was sold. But it was still the same building. 

The mill was only down the road from me. I kept meaning to photograph it but I never got round to it. And I never made the effort to see inside, walk on the wood floors, touch the stonework. I know that sounds odd, perhaps it’s a family historian thing. 

Unlike many other places connected with my family history, because it was on my doorstop I didn’t have to make a special trip. It was there, I’d do it one day, no rush. A Victorian structure, still being used. It wasn’t like it would disappear overnight…..or so I thought.  

Following the inferno of 14 January, that’s exactly what happened.   

Not sparing the time to take that handful of photographs to record Jesse Hill’s workplace is something I now very much regret. As is never seeing the interior. It’s example of how we take for granted our local and family history.  

So a lesson learned the hard way. Don’t put off the chance to visit a family history connected location; don’t put off talking to family to record memories. Because one day you’ll wake up and realise that chance has gone. 

This is the only photo I took – too late.  

The remains of Greenhill Mills

 
Neither does Jesse Hill’s Spurr Street home exist. 

Spurr Street, Batley

5 responses to “I Left it too Late: Batley’s Greenhill Mills Destroyed

  1. Allyson Makin

    Hello
    What a lovely story . My husband had the Mill for 40yrs. it has devastated him ..a part of him went with the fire..It was supposed to be passed to our children ….very upsetting

    • Thanks Allyson. Every time I go past where the mill stood I feel immense sadness for its loss. It was a place I very much associated with my ancestor and I was so sorry I never got the chance to see inside or photograph it.
      I really can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for you and your family and what a huge gap its loss must have left in your lives, and the lives of those working there. I can only hope things improve for you all.
      Jane

  2. Nichola Collinge

    Were there many woollen mills in Batley or was this the only one I wonder if so then I will also lament the destruction of the mill. My Great grandfather x 3 James Lister was employed as a woollen spinner he was in later life employed as a nightwatchman I assume in the same mill where he’d worked as a spinner.

    I know your feeling about leaving things too late I can see photographs on line of a pub my ancestor once ran but I would have liked to have touched the wall I put off visiting as the firm i work for were moving offices and were moving to the next street the move kept being put back and by the time we moved in the put that was still standing that summer was by November that year no.

  3. Nichola Collinge

    Were there many woollen mills in Batley or was this the only one I wonder if so then I will also lament the destruction of the mill. My Great grandfather x 3 James Lister was employed as a woollen spinner he was in later life employed as a nightwatchman I assume in the same mill where he’d worked as a spinner.

    I know your feeling about leaving things too late I can see photographs on line of a pub my ancestor once ran but I would have liked to have touched the wall I put off visiting as the firm i work for were moving offices and were moving to the next street the move kept being put back and by the time we moved in the put that was still standing that summer was by November that year no more.

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