arlier this month, we featured a “mystery mill” (pictured below) at Birtle Dene on this page. Lots of readers contacted The Bury Times to share their stories about this mill.

Kevin German supplied the three images shown here on the right.

There’s a postcard of Dene Mill, a sketch from “The Vanishing parish Bircle” by The Rev Arthur J Dobb, published by Bircle Parochial Church Council in 1967, and then there’s a photograph from “The Forgotten Valley” by A V Sandiford and T E Ashworth published by Bury and District Local History Society in 1980 or 1981.

Mr German said the latter publication describes the various mills along the Cheesden Brook, including the last one that’s still operational, Simpson Clough.

Roy Turner from Bury and District Local History Society explained Birtle Dene Mill was built in 1824 by Thomas Ramsbottom, and that it was a “vertical concern” (spinning raw cotton into yarn and weaving yarn into cloth) possibly with some dyeing and cloth finishing taking place, too.

Graham Howarth also mentioned The Forgotten Valley, along with Tony Mosedale, who sent a copy of the relevant chapter.

In this chapter, it said: “The mill that Thomas Ramsbottom of Harwood Fields built there in 1824 was far removed, both in style and spirit, from those humble enterprises to the north of the valley.

“It was planned and built with the boldness and confidence of a man who clearly had caught the spirit of the Industrial Revolution.”

The chapter continued: “The Ramsbottoms had relinquished control by 1890 and in the last few years the mill was in the possession of Goulden, Adams and Company.

“By the turn of the century, however, all trading had ceased.

“Perhaps, had Ramsbottom chosen a more accessible site closer to the main communication links of the nearby town, the mill might have survived well into the present century, perhaps even the textile recession of recent years.”

Geoff Barrett, aged 73, who now lives in Read near Whalley but was born and bred in Bury, also got in touch, to talk about the site. He said: “My dad used take me there in the late 1940s and 1950s and he used to say there used to be a workhouse there, just like Fairfield Hospital used to be a workhouse.

“I also remember there being houses on the hill and there also used to be a pub near there, The Rose and Crown, and a little shop.”

There’s one vote for the mill featured showing Cheesden Lumb Mill.

Bob Hargreaves from Summerseat said this mill opened in 1786 and closed by the 1870s. “At one time there were up to 14 working mills plus cottages for the workers dotted all along this valley,” he said.

“It starts off at the Edenfield to Rochdale Road near Owd Betts and goes down as far as Ashworth Valley and the Bury to Bamford Road — some remains of the mills can still be seen today.”