To stumble across the ruins of the Brock Bottoms Cotton mill, you’d think you were looking at a crumbling medieval fortification instead of a retired and forgotten piece of our industrial heritage.
The mill was brought into life in the valley, along with 20 cottages in 1790, and operated until the 1930’s. The building then served as a cafe and a Saturday night dance hall, until closing in the 1950’s. The cottages were abandoned and demolished a few years later, the only remaining evidence of their existence are the moss covered stones, scattered orderly across the woodland floor.
Today the mill lies strangled and reclaimed by the riverside woodland which served it. Like some mythological image of the mighty Kraken, constricting and drowning a condemned ship.
And just as the great northern mill towns sucked the rural communities into the industrial machine, in the late 1700’s, the stone and iron ruins of the cotton mill at Brock lie engulfed by the earth, frozen in time like a doomed shipwreck at the base of a deep green ocean.