Ossett Pictures - Hepworth Brothers, Owl Lane Mill in 1952

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Owl Lane Mill 1952

Owl Lane Mill was built for the Hepworth Brothers in the late 1940s, replacing an older mill that had stood on the site, which was operated by Rowley and Sons and which had been built in 1830. Rowley and Sons seem to have suffered from the general depression in the textile business during the 1880s and, in 1881, the Ossett Local Board were informed that the business was closing on the 15th October 1881 with the loss of all jobs. Two years later, the mill was still unoccupied. It appears that the mill was largely neglected for the next fifty years or so until it was acquired by the Hepworth Brothers.

Hepworth Brothers had been working Moorcroft Mill on Church Street until those premises were requisitioned by the Government for the production of aircraft parts during WW2. After WW2, Hepworth Brothers decided not to return to Moorcroft Mill, but built on Owl Lane what was probably the most modern textile mill in the UK.

The firm were involved in all aspects of shoddy manufacturing such as carbonising, dyeing and the recycling of old woollen rags. A large mill dam was constructed to provide a good supply of water for the steam boilers and the dyehouse. The mill premises, which were very modern, were taken over by Moores bakery. After an extensive clean-up and re-modelling of the premises, production of "Moores Luxury Loaf" continued for many years. The premises are still owned by the Rank, Hovis MacDougal Group and at present the site is used to manufacture breadcrumbs.