MILLS AND BOOM
At the height of the cotton industry there were three mills in Padfield alone.
The scene before you and the sounds you hear are much changed from those experienced over a century ago. At that time the small lane ahead was the entrance to the grand Hadfield Mills complex and would have been accompanied by clanking, whirring, chuffing, shouting and grunting coming from the mills. A single track branch line also crossed at this point right into the factory site.
Built originally as a corn mill in 1819, Thomas Rhodes and Son converted the mill for cotton manufacture in 1874 which included an expansion of the existing site. At its height employed over 1,000 mill hands. It ceased production in the 1930s and was taken over by Hadfield Worstead Mills Ltd.
Rhodes Mill on Platt Street was supplied with water from the pond at the back. This is now home to a variety of wildlife including breeding redshank, lapwing, curlew, snipe, Canada geese, mallards and moorhen while in the roadside and Padfield Allotment site bushes, goldfinch, warblers, goldcrests and many more garden birds can be seen. The mill, relieved of its top three floors, is used today by Glossop Cartons Ltd.
Further up the street on the left hand side is the Laughing Badger Gallery. The gallery is located in the former Padfield Co-op built in 1880 as a satellite of the Hadfield branch to cater for the large number of mill workers who lived in the stone terraces on Platt Street. The floor comprised three inch thick pine and elm to carry the weight of horse and carts that brought the goods, with trap doors to the vast cellar. On the first floor, the cast iron winch manufactured by Carters of Salford is still there on the landing and remains in working order. In 2011 the gallery won Northern Rail's Hidden Gem Tourism Award under Best Attraction for the East Midlands region.
In the 1800s and early 1900s there were more than 7 shops along Platt Street. The 1851 census shows at least 13 in addition to pubs and clubs. Shops included a grocer, greengrocer, baker, confectionary, draper, haberdashery and fresh fish shop.