Abandoned; Abraham Ormerod Centre

In the 1790’s, Anthony Crossley of Todmorden Hall saw the emergence of cotton as a potential money making proposition. Mills were springing up throughout the valleys and the construction of a canal was being discussed in Parliament. He owned land but didn’t really wish to be involved on a personal level, so he built a mill on his land for renting out to those who did. This piece of land was right in the middle of Todmorden village, on Burnley Road. The mill was turned originally by waterpower, and the reservoir for the storage of the water was made at Hall Ings between Todmorden Hall and Dawson Weir at Dobroyd. This became known later as Buckley’s Dam after the first tenant, John Buckley.

As time progressed, John Buckley decided to erect a weaving shed and acquired a site on which the old Patmos Inn stood. He demolished the inn and constructed a 3 storey weaving shed. However, the foundations were unsound, the building shook, and machinery could not be installed. The building became a machinery shop and warehouse, although a weaving shed was built later. By 1811 it was the largest mill in the Township with 6,000 spindles. In 1832, John added a mule frame with a further 1,280 spindles at a cost of £213.6s.8d., and by 1835 there were 150 power looms weaving a mixture of worsted and cotton, used for men’s coats.

During the latter part of the 1830’s there was a down turn in the cotton trade and many firms suffered great losses. The major casualty was John Buckley and Sons, who became bankrupt in 1839. A newly emerging firm, Abraham Ormerod and Brothers of Gorpley Mill, snapped it up and proceeded to expand by adding weaving sheds and other machinery.

The Abraham Ormerod Medical Centre was a gift to the town from the old textile family which operated mills in the area. The Clinic was built on the site of Ridgefoot Mill, and was opened on Saturday 23 July 1938 by the Princess Royal – the first time a member of the Royal Family had visited Todmorden. The Centre provided the most modern accommodation and facilities, and was conceived by the Trustees of the Will of Abraham Ormerod. The Centre has now gained some notoriety as the place where Harold Shipman began his career as a G.P and later was caught forging prescriptions of drugs for his own use.  With thanks for information to ancestry.com

Link to blog “Whatever’s Left’ showing photos of the interior of this building

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