Pagefield Building of Wigan College of Technology
Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan
Part of Group: No
At Risk: Yes
English Heritage Ref: 233 (Link)
Built in 1865 by George Woodhouse at a reputed cost of £150,000 , the design was reproduced in the USA by Woodhouse
Originally Gidlow Mill, to the north of Mesnes Park, was built in 1865 to designs by George Woodhouse for John Rylands and was once the centre of his extensive business. It replaced an earlier mill. The complex, includes the spinning mill, weaving sheds engine house and chimney.
In the 1860's when the building was completed, the grandfather of Lord Deby, who was the Prime Minister at the time, was passing through Wigan on the London & North Western Railway on his way to see Queen Victoris at Balmoral when his Lordship was so impressed with the beauty of the mill and its setting that he was moved to write a letter to "the Times" congratulating both the owner, architect and the builder on such a beautiful and noble building and he pointed out that it was an example that might be very well followed in the future of such buildings
The mill is constructed in red brick with details in blue and white brick which was unusual for its date. Its roof has multiple ridges covered in Welsh slate. Its floors were supported on cast iron columns. The mill was of fireproof construction. Cotton was received into the upper levels of the spinning mill and progressed downwards in contrast to other mills.
John Rylands died at his home, Longford Hall, on 11 December 1888, at the age of 87 and was survived by his third wife Enriqueta who inherited the bulk of his estate valued at £2,574,922, greater than that left by any other cotton manufacturer to that time.
Rylands's widow erected in Manchester a permanent memorial of her husband in the John Rylands Library. In 1901, Mrs Rylands paid £155,000 for more than 6,000 manuscripts owned by James Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford of Haigh Hall.
October 2016. The building has been vandalised and is in a very poor state, negotiations between Wigan Council and the owners are currently taking place to establish a long term solution.