Demolition begins on ‘death trap’ Oldham mill

Dan Whelan

The grade two-listed Hartford Mill, which was built in 1907, is being demolished to make way for 68 homes at the site on Edward Street.

The council received approval for the complete demolition of the Mill, which has stood vacant since 1991, in January 2019. TFM Demolition is carrying out the work.

The mill is privately owned by Barry Parker who is in the process of finding a buyer for the site.

Cllr Sean Fielding, leader of Oldham Council, said: “Hartford Mill is a landmark but it had become a death trap and was causing issues in the neighbourhood with anti-social behaviour and arson attacks occurring regularly.

“This site will provide much-needed new housing for the future. The council does everything it can to support building on brownfield land, to reduce pressure to build on the greenbelt. This site is a great example of that.”

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Oldham council should be ashamed they let the mill got to this state. If they acted earlier (years ago) it could have been saved.

By Anonymous

As an Oldhamer I know this is necessary but can’t help but feel a bit sad that an important part of our heritage has been destroyed. The Industrial Revolution was our country’s greatest achievement and the North West the epicentre of it and yet it is now viewed as something almost to feel shame about. They won’t be happy until the whole of Britain looks like a West London suburb.

By Elephant

How about keeping the mill chimney as a reminder of the industrial past and a centre piece of the development..

By Timothy Warburton

Err yeah, they could have saved it so to free up more green field/green belt for development…

By Cecil B de Mill

Totally agree with Anonymous. This mill (a statement of Oldham’s industrious and prosperous past life) has been totally ignored and abandoned by the Council. I think it would have stood there for another 30 years or more in it’s current state if the council hadn’t been pressured by public opinion on the amount of development on greenfield sites. Oldham Council are a total disgrace.

By A Cynical

Am wondering if the Barry Parker named as the owner of the mill is the Barry Parker who had a stall on oldham market in the 1970’s . He owned property all over manchester. In which case why couldn’t the council make him responsible for saving the mill.

By Anon

What is a disgrace is that these mills are generally 200ksqft on 5 acres and they have been listed so the site can not be cleared and redeveloped. So an old factory (they are hardly Manchester cathedral) being listed is being used mostly on the first couple of floors and stopping around 80-100 houses being built, and then everyone is banging on about affordable housing.

By Notaoldhammer

68 homes fo who

By Kev b

Or the mill could have been converted to high quality apartments, reusing a historical structure and saving the green belt


Im glad to see the back of this blight. Another oppressive dark satanic mill bites the dust. Good riddance.

By Anonymous

Shame to see our heritage disappear once again

By Carlos

Good riddance to an eye sore

By Lee

As or ready said keep the mill chimney as a reminder of oldhams cotton mills as it is one of the last

By Peter

So those who declare the building “a death trap” get no financial incentive from the developer? hmmmm….

By jabjabjab

Not for the first Oldham Council have failed in their duty to preserve our heritage. Shame on them. No amount of mealy mouth justification will ever be adequate to cover the lack of care and wanton vandalism perpetrated by the Council. The building could have been saved and reused at half the cost and a fraction of the resultant carbon footprint.
Their failure is par for course along with their total lack of coherent planning policy for the rest of the Borough.

By Raad Al-Hamdani RIBA

I (like I’m sure most people) fully support retention of heritage assets as a reflection of a community’s past but I’m struggling how you could possibly criticise the demolition of an old mill that’s been derelict for 30 years. As for criticising the local authority for allowing it to fall into dereliction, would people have preferred millions in public spending wasted on a relic purely to keep it standing? The private sector wouldn’t touch this with a viability barge pole either. Get it down and get some development on it, reduce the need for Green Belt release.

By 4thought

4 thought is totally right.

There is a reason why the mill has remained vacant for decades and no developer whatsoever has touched it – it simply isn’t isn’t viable to reuse because of Oldham house values, contamination and its listing blighting any redevelopment potential. If you want to reuse the site then it had to come down and the Council have pragmatically supported this action. The alternative is to have another industrial ruin in Oldham rotting away, being kept from falling down using scarce public money and resources.

By Depressed Latic

Does Grade II listed mean nothing? Isn’t the grading put in place to protect the heritage of the country. Why couldn’t the mill itself have been converted into housing like the mill in Ashton? I assume with the mill in the state it is now it is cheaper to drop it and then build new homes. The owner Barry Parker should be fined for allowing it to fall into this state of disrepair. He should have done something about the mill decades ago when the mill was still viable for conversion.

By Visionary

Unless you turn these mills into apartments, then most of the time their fates are sealed.

By Chaddertonian

Has any provision been made to accommodate the increase in traffic on the neighbouring streets once the houses become occupied? The area is almost gridlocked as it is. Also, a car park is needed to accommodate the cars left dangerously in Block Lane and Robinson Street by tram users. Has the Council thought of these issues and what is the provision if so?

By Local Resident

The demolition of heritage in GM generally needs to be handled very carefully. Built heritage provides the visual narrative about an area’s history and significantly contributes to the grounding sense of place for people who live there today. Generic ‘could be anywhere’ buildings do not support the local narrative. It’s an economic providence and wellbeing issue of growing importance. Once demolished – gone forever!

By Colin

This eyesore was the first introduction to Oldham when arriving by tram. Mill apartments would have been a waste of time and money in a known rough part of the town. Like most of Oldhams better days it’s gone forever.

By Barker

Shame ombc didn’t step in earlier to save this building!

By P.D

Barker is right Block Lane the top end at least is pretty grim. The streets off Manchester road facing Werneth park would be better being bulldozed than this mill.

By Elephant

Should have been demolished years ago.

By Jeff

Oldham Council what a joke!.. how do these silly people get voted into office destroying our history of the town. Just to build low standard housing that won’t last 30years. Shocking shame on you

By Benjamin

The mill could have been made into apartments if not left for so long to rot and blight the neighbourhood,but then again the council are good at letting OUR history rot.Rest in peace Hartford Mill .

By Jules

Just knock down all these rat infested eyesores.

By Gabriel

It’s one of the very few still of full height (well virtually)

By Firewitch