The single most important textile building in Darwen, possibly of North-East Lancashire. Built between 1859-71 by Eccles Shorrock & Company. The architect was E. Bates of Manchester. Stone was quarried at Darwen Mill and Cadshaw. Much of the building was completed in mid-1860s, including the massive chimney, but machinery was not installed until 1870-71.
Two 125 hp W. & J.Yates beam engines, 51" cylinders 6" stroke (later McNaughted by the makers) were started 1871, and by 1873 the mill contained 168 cards and 67 mule spindles.
Eccles Shorrock, Brother & Company appear to have been ruined by the costs of the mill and the effects of the Cotton Famine, and in 1874 the India Mills Cotton Spinning Company Limited was formed to purchase, complete and run the mill. The promoters were Eccles Shorrock (Ashton), Richard Eccles of Lower Darwen Mills, William Snape C.& J.G.Potter, Joseph Shorrock and Joseph Eccles, Darwen manufacturer.
In 1890 the beam engines were replaced by a 1800 ihp tandem compound, with a 30 rope fly pulley, by Musgrave of Bolton. A separate engine house was erected to received this engine. In 1892 84,308 mule spindles, producing 30s 80s weft, and 30s to 70s twist were running, employing a workforce of 250.
Ring spinning was introduced during the early twentieth century, and by the 1920s 62,776 mule and 32,400 ring spindles were working. After the business was reconstituted as India Mills (Darwen) Limited in 1933, the mill began to move towards spinning artificial fibres.
Mule spinning was abandoned following World War II and the company concentrated on rayon yarns in plain, fancy and coloured varieties.
The mill became part of the William Baird Textile Group in 1954. A major extension, named after the chairman and managing director, Arthur Moseley, was erected in 1968-70.
Four years later Carrington Viyella purchased the mill. Closure of the factory took place in the autumn of 1991.
Buildings: an impressive Grade II listed building constructed of ashlar and par-point masonry throughout, with ornate decoration to cornices, door surrounds and window openings.
The main, fireproof mill is five storeys high, with a cotton and yarn cellar under. All the floors are supported on brick vaults and cast iron columns. Each end of the mill is eight windows wide with projecting cabin, hoist and dust turrets.
Window openings are both round-headed and horizontal and have dressed surrounds.
In length the mill is thirty bays long with large, projecting central towers. The west, staircase turret, rises to form a tower. The corresponding east turret has blind windows and formerly housed latrines. All turrets are quoined and have stone copings. Windows are placed in pairs and have key-stone arched surrounds. String courses on stone brackets are a feature of both the towers and main walls.
The cellar can be clearly seen along the east wall and has round-headed windows set in ashlar courses. A low level loading area, with ten arches, projects from the west wall, but this is now obscured by Moseley Mill, and can only be seen internally. The doors gave access to the bale store and cellar blowing room.
An highly elaborate beam engine house is attached to the south-west corner of the mill. The end walls are ashlar with ogee mouldings on stone brackets and pilasters. Both gable windows are round-headed with stone mullions and fanlights. Two smaller windows are located on the west wall. The door, surprisingly small for the size of the building, is on the north end. All internal details have vanished and new floors have been inserted. The boiler house, with six arched windows, each with massive keystones, extends beneath the engine house. The building is rock-faced with an ashlar cornice. The original ten doors faced the mill yard, but are now hidden behind modern offices.
Adjoining is the campanile style, square chimney, which dominates the central area of Darwen. The massive base has recessed round-headed panels set in rusticated stonework and a stepped stone plinth. Above, the brick shaft is detailed with inset blue and yellow panels, slit windows and blind arches. The top terminates in two prominent cornices, the lower of which has stone urns at the corners.
Immediately to the rear of the chimney is the original office block. The 1890 engine house projects from the east wall of the mill and is built of random stone with engaged corner columns. The side wall has five pairs of round-headed windows. There are a pair of large, round-headed windows on facade, with blocked entrance below.
On the south side is a small, single storey extension, whilst a brick structure has been placed between the engine house and east central turret.
Moseley Mill, principally constructed of rustic brick, projects from the west wall of the spinning factory, and partly covers the site of Carrs Mill.
The building, functional in design, presents a striking contrast to the nineteenth century structure.