It’s been a while since I last visited this Rossendale Valley museum and a photographer friend wanted to see it so we headed there after stopping for a tasty snack at Holden Wood tea shop.
Helmshore is now part of Lancashire County Council’s Pennine Lancashire museums along with Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham, Towneley Hall in Burnley, and Queen Street Mill at Harle Syke in Burnley among others.
The museum comprises two mills, Higher Mill which was a woollen fulling mill built in 1789 and powered by a 20 ton water wheel, and Whitaker’s Mill, built in the mid 19th century specialising in cotton spinning mill, starting from waste recycled cotton and finishing with mule spun yarn.
There is a bright new entrance and reception area. The staff were really friendly and the guides very knowledgeable. We had to get permission to take photographs and flash photography wasn’t allowed which made it difficult in some of the darker corners of the museum. We were also told we couldn’t take photographs of children (moral panic and a PC County Council spring to mind here ….)
There is so much to see that I just want to show you some photographs. Some of these depict the cottage industry where it all started but most reflect the mechanised factory system which it became (although they still incorporated nature’s technology e.g. using urine and teazles).
Helmshore textile museum on YouTube
See also Helmshore Textile Museum part 2