Thursday, 14 June 2012

14th June 1812: Gibraltar Mill at Pudsey burns to the ground

At 4.30 a.m. on Sunday 14th June 1812, the woollen mill of Messrs Thackray & Carlisle - aka Gibraltar Mill - situated at Pudsey in between Bradford and Leeds, was found to be on fire.

By that time, the fire had progressed so rapidly that it was too late to save the mill, and by 5.30 a.m. only the shell of the building remained. The mill contained a large number of machines - the Leeds Mercury of 20th June listed 10 Stocks, 9 Billies, 9 Carding Machines and 11 Slubbing Billies, as well as miscellaneous machines. In addition, 60 pieces of woollen cloth and wool sufficient to make 150 cloths were destroyed. The mill was powered by a steam engine.

The total damage was estimated at between £6,000 to £7,000. Thackray & Carlisle were insured for £5000 with the Sun Fire Office.

The Leeds Mercury was keen to allay fears that an arsonist connected with Luddism was responsible, and explained that the fire had started in a quantity of wool 'prepared with fish oil' in the North East of the building and spread.

As reported in the Leeds Mercury of 20th June 1812.

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