Relics of the past are crumbling fast: Industrial heritage at risk – warning

ENGLISH Heritage wants urgent action to protect two important industrial relics in Calderdale.

It says a former coal mine ventilation chimney and the remains of a mill gas plant are among hundreds of heritage assets which are “at risk” nationwide.

The ornate chimney and what remains of the furnace house are believed to have been part of the Shibden Hall estate and stand in a field at the top of Beacon Hill.

They were probably used during the 19th century.

The coal gas plant was one of the first of its type and was used to illuminate Shaw Lodge Mills in Halifax.

All that can be seen today among the undergrowth is the remains of the retort house, containing three fireclay retort benches, and two cast-iron holder tanks, one of which has a deep well at the bottom, containing the tank drainage valve to the river.

The 1855 chimney at Shaw Lodge was recently restored with help from English Heritage, which is also keen to help protect the gasworks, said a spokesman.

According to English Heritage, the Shaw Lodge plant is “a rare survival of the main structural elements of a private gas plant built to supply a major textile mill. The survival of the fireclay retort bench is of particular importance to the study of the development of the gas supply industry.”

Other buildings on the At Risk register include Yorkshire’s earliest cotton mill at Low Mills, Keighley, and the First White Cloth Hall, in Leeds, which dates from about 1710.

Trevor Mitchell, English Heritage planning director, said: “We want to help owners and developers to halt decay and to plan for imaginative new uses.

“Even ruined sites can add to the quality of our landscapes and tell the stories of our ancestors”.