Photo: Betty Longbottom, used under CC licence

West Leeds Buildings at Risk: Stone Bridge Mill in Farnley

7 September 2018

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Stone Bridge Mill in Farnley is the latest building to be featured in Mark Stevenson’s ongoing series shining the spotlight on heritage at risk in West Leeds.

stonebridge mills aerial

Stone Bridge Mill was built around 1805 alongside Wortley Beck, which was used to power its steam engines.

By the 1830s Thomas Pawson had expanded the mill, adding cottages for the workers and more working sheds. Thomas Pawson’s warehouse at 17 Churchill House, Wellington Street, can still be seen today.

stone bridge mills old

By 1911 Fred Lodge had taken over the mill and his business F A Lodge & Sons remained at Stone Bridge Mills until 1952.

Four of the remaining buildings at Stone Bridge Mills are listed and West Leeds is in danger of losing more of its heritage to ‘progress’.


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Stephen Clayforth says:

The date of 1952 when F A Lodge & Sons left Stonebridge Mills is incorrect. My mother was working there, in the canteen, until about 1970 and it was still operating after that. They also had another Mill at Eyres Mill Side/Stanningley Road and regularly delivered between both mills until they closed. I believe the Mill at Armley is now apartments and is preserved in a better condition than this one is or will be if the planned development goes ahead as envisaged.

Mark says:

Yes I no Stephen I meant to change the date two sources gave different dates. I am still not sure if the other date is correct as it was the late 90’s

Stephen Clayforth says:

Mark. The date of the 1990’s is wrong. I know for definite it was still operating in the late 1970’s as I knew people who were still working there and the mill was still operating then. Unfortunately I moved away from the area about then and I lost touch with the people I had known but it did carry on in business until 1980 when the business ceased operating according to The National Archives at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/a0613da5-089f-437c-b42a-0d5c80afbd39.

However looking up the company name of Fred A. Lodge and Sons Ltd at Companies House the Company did not actually go into Members Voluntary Insolvency until 27 June 2009 at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the members at Haley’s Hotel, Shire Oak Road, Headingley where DL Partnership LLP were appointed as liquidators. Full Company House details of the Company can be found here: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/00406860/filing-history.

Therefore the official date of the company ceasing trading was 27 June 2009 and not either 1980 as the National Archives intimate. Hope this helps clarify things.

Stephen Clayforth says:

By the way the Registered Office of the whole company was Stonebridge Mills until it was transferred to the offices of the liquidators on 2 June 2009 so they MUST have still been working, in some form at least, at Stonebridge Mills until then.

Stephen Clayforth says:

Mark upon further investigation I think there is some confusion on the names of the companies as there was also a company named Fred Armitage Lodge & Sons Ltd which was set up by Fred Armitage Lodge the Elder and others including Fred Armitage Lodge the Younger and was the initial company that ran both Stonebridge Mills and Winker Green Mills buying the latter on 2 May 1919 and the former on 30 November 1931. Both properties were transferred (sold) to Fred A Lodge & Sons on 9 May 1946 for the sums of £5,800 for Stonebridge Mills and £8,000 for Winker Green Mills. Fred Armitage Lodge & Sons Ltd ceased, apparently, in 1980 which is where the erroneous date for the cessation of Fred A Lodge & Sons may have arisen.

Stephen Clayforth says:

Mark I do not know when production ceased at both mills but the latter accounts of Fred A Lodge & Sons Ltd show them as trading as ‘Letting of own premises’. Presumably they ceased production sometime in the 1980’s or 1990’s but still owned the properties which they rented out to other businesses. Presumably Winker Green Mills were sold some time before Stonebridge Mills as Stonebridge Mills were still owned by Fred A Lodge & Sons Ltd until they went into liquidation in June 2009 at which point they would have been sold by the liquidators some time before the liquidation was finalised in June 2012 when the liquidation was completed.