Ellenroad working steam engine, cotton mill, Lancashire industrial heritage

Ellenroad Chimney

On my many trips oop North as I turn off the M62, about which I could wax endlessly lyrical without pulling your leg even once, I pass a neck- breakingly high chimney pointing upwards to the steely sky over Rochdale.
Wrapped up against the winter chill and seemingly constant rain which so soon becomes an endearing feature of these parts, how could I not resist the opportunity to go take a look?

What I discovered was that the chimney is a towering sentry guarding the place of something big, beautiful and wonderfully indicative of everything Rochdale is and was. Even if you’re not a steam engine enthusiast, a mule spindle is one of life’s great mysteries, have forgotten who Fred Dibnah was and Gracie Fields is little more than an echo carried on the wind sweeping over Saddleworth Moor, it’s very hard not to succumb to a sense of awe and nostalgia when you come face to face with the remains of Ellenroad Mill and worlds largest working steam mill engine.