Julian Carr. 'Victoria Mill and the People of the Ryburn Valley'. 2016

This is the story of the evolution of an industry and a community.

It begins at the end of the 18th Century, over 60 years before the birth of Victoria Mill in 1861.

The progress of the mill and the people of the Ryburn valley were influenced by events around the world: the growth and decline of an empire, trade wars, a civil war, technological revolutions, fashion and economic booms and recessions. It is also a story of nobodies and somebodies, people who helped create our particular Pennine landscape and whose lives depended on it.

The Ryburn valley now plays its part in a post-industrial economy but the signs of its former identity are all around and will not be forgotten.

The story is told drawing from a variety of sources:

Original property deeds, census returns, newspapers and secondary sources - especially the articles of J.H.Priestley, maps, photograph collections and interviews with ex-mill workers.


Published by the Ryburn Valley History Society. All proceeds to RVHS.


The economy and landscape of the Ryburn Valley were dominated for at least 800 years by one industry, the making of cloth.Most of the land has been used for farming since Medieval times and the valley is still largely rural and very picturesque. However, until the mid-late 20th Century, it was the textile industry embedded in this landscape that provided the majority of jobs and livelihoods and

created the character of the villages and hamlets that we see today.


In the last 200 years of its history, the industry left its principal mark on the landscape in its buildings. The size and number of these mills in such a small rural area are almost impossible to imagine today. Most have left some kind of mark which can be found with only a little effort. These traces include:mill ponds and dams;massive retaining walls pockmarked with joist holes, set into a field bank; an engine house converted into a cottage with a large arched window in the gable end; the shell of a whole mill now converted into apartments; rusting sluice gates and finely engineered channels, now silted and overgrown, once leading to water wheels; bumps in the ground where stone from fallen walls now lie hidden.


This book provides a record of all mills known to have existed in the Ryburn Valley,including those making paper.

Introductory sections provide historical context beginning with an exploration of the origins of the textile industry followed by a broader look at the nature of the mills. A little light is shed on the lives of the owners and the workers as well as odd threads such as the architecture of clothiers’ houses.

Maps and photographs will help you discover the clues to our past whilst personal interviews, trade journals and newspapers help to up-date the picture to the present day.

'Mills of the Ryburn Valley' is available from Ripponden Parish Council Office, Stanley's Kitchen in Ripponden and at Ripponden and Sowerby Bridge libraries and now also at the Book Corner book shop in the Piece Hall, Halifax. 

The book paid for by the society has 152 pages with full colour £9 each.