Bramley: Then and now

Craven Mill Bramley

The township of Bramley can be justly proud of its industrial past, both in textiles and engineering. Its contribution to textiles saw 29 mills listed as working in the 19th and early 20th century, writes David Horner.

Sadly Bramley has little to show of its industrial past, with many of the mills demolished or now used for other purposes.

Craven mill site now

One such mill near Bramley Town End was Craven Mill, now totally obliterated and the site now occupied by an Aldi supermarket.

Two photographers had the foresight to record the mill’s steam engine and the mill itself before the engine was scrapped and the mill demolished.

The jewel in the crown of Craven Mill was the steam engine which powered the mill’s line shafting and ultimately the textile machines.

The last engine to be installed was a Horizontal Tandem Compound engine manufactured and installed by a Bradford company, Cole, Marchent & Morley in 1914.

The engine was state-of-the-art at the time, offering an accurate speed control. Chris Allen’s picture of 2001 shows the engine covered in rust and pigeon droppings, the scrap men got their hands on it about 2007.

Craven Mill steam engine in 2001

In 1967 Peter Ellis photographed the engine in working condition complete with the engine man’s coat hung on the wall.

1967 image of Horizonttal steam engine

Sadly, Bramley now has little to show for its contribution to the wealth created by its textile trade.

Chris Allen’s and Peter Lewis’s photos are used under Creative Commons licence.


  1. I am hoping you would be interested in some very old postcards I have that belonged to my great great grandfather who was from Bramley and migrated to Australia about 1890-96……I have approximately 35 old postcards depicting churches and points of interest around Bramley and Leeds. I also have his book of Bramley Football Club season tickets, 1888-1889……Dear little book with tickets and information on teams and players etc…..My Grandfather was also a member of the Orange organisation, and it appears he was quite active in Australia. He also had a couple of medals and I cannot find anything out about them. It states he was a pioneer, and I am not sure if that is because he immigrated to Australia or because he was a member of this Orange group. I have his sash that they obviously wore at meetings and it says Loyal Orange Institution of NSW No 83 Star of Peace LOL Goulburn…….Probably has nothing to do with him when he lived in England but thought it may be of interest to you.
    So there you have it. Post cards and they are all in wonderful condition.

    If you would like them please contact me and we can arrange postage and details on where to send them etc.
    I would rather them go to where they will be appreciated then be thrown to the tip when I am no longer custodian of these treasures.
    Kindest regards, as I feel I will always have one foot in England as that is my ancestory.

    Judith McFarlane (nee Hudson)
    Great Grandfather J Bentley (Bromley- imigraged to Goulburn NSW.)
    late 1800’s


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