Greenland Mills

The fall of water that is held up by Bradford Weir powered many of the mills and factories of the town. On the southern bank of the River Avon, at the far end of Bridge Street, was a group for factories known as Greenland, presumably so-called because of their relatively distant position from the town centre.

Greenland’s development came in the 18th century with the industrialisation of woollen cloth manufacture and a great factory building was in existence by 1804, operated by Thomas Divett, who, with partners purchased much of the old Hall estate. The greatest development came after 1851 at the hands of J.W. Applegate & Co, who extended the mill buildings with acres of mechanised weaving factories that surrounded both Greenland Upper and Greenland Middle Mills. Woollen cloth ceased to be made in 1905 and the buildings were put to other uses- the Sirdar Rubber Company that was taken over by the Avon Company in 1914, Rex Rubber Company, MY Sports, Marcos cars, Weir Electical Instruments, Dotesio’s printing works.

In the 1980s the companies working there had to leave in advance of development of the whole site for housing, which did not happen until the increasingly derelict and listed Upper Mill was burnt down by arsonists. Since then, a replica of the old factory has been built as a block of flats and surrounded by houses.

Most of the photographs below were taken in the 1990s when the buildings were being allowed to decay.

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