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Queen Street Mill
Queen Street, Harle Syke, Burnley, Lancashire
associated engineer
Not known
date  1894 - 1895, 1901
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SD867349
Queen Street Mill on the outskirts of Burnley was the last commercial steam-powered textile mill in Lancashire when it closed in March 1982. This Scheduled Ancient Monument is probably the only surviving steam-powered weaving mill in the world that still has its own working machinery. The mill was built by the Queen Street Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and was run as a Workers’ Cooperative.
The mill complex is built of rusticated sandstone, with smooth sandstone lintels and window sills. In the south eastern corner of the site there is a one-and-a-half storey preparation wing, with engine house and boiler room, and an adjacent circular mill chimney and stable. There is a small millpond in the south western corner. The complex was constructed in 1894-5, though the single storey weaving shed in the north of the site was not completed until 1901.
There are over 300 Lancashire looms, manufactured by either Harling & Todd or Pemberton, arranged atypically longitudinally rather than across the weaving shed. Generally, looms are arranged in sets of six, and each set would have been looked after by a single weaver, for the production of ‘grey cloth’. There are some looms in sets of eight or ten.
The looms are driven by flat leather belts from cross-shafts, powered from a first motion shaft directly coupled to the crankshaft of the 373kW horizontal tandem compound condensing steam engine named Peace, built by William Roberts of Nelson. Each cross-shaft rotates in the opposite direction to its neighbour.
There are two Lancashire boilers in the boiler-house, one original and the other dating from 1901. Both boilers were made by Tinker Shenton of Hyde and converted to mechanical stoking by Procter of Burnley in the 1960s. Peace is now supplied by the 1901 boiler, which has been returned to hand stoking. Feed water is supplied by a Weir pump fitted in 1956, passing through a 120-tube economiser by Green of Wakefield, installed in 1901.
Burnley Borough Council bought the mill when it closed in 1982 with the intention of making it a heritage attraction. The mill became a working textile museum supported by English Heritage, the National heritage Memorial Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. It was re-opened by HRH the Prince of Wales in April 1986.
Ownership of the mill passed to Lancashire County Council Museums Service in 1997. The machinery and equipment, together with that at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, is a designated Collection of National Importance.
Research: PD
"A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Lancashire”
by Michael Nevell and David George
Association for Industrial Archaeology, Annual Conference, Preston, 2007
"Burnley Weavers’ Triangle and Queen Street Mill" by Ian Gibson and Brian Hall
Industrial Archaeology Tour notes for Lancashire
Association for Industrial Archaeology, Annual Conference, Preston, 2007

Queen Street Mill