ONE of Bolton's historic mills – and its iconic clock tower – is being demolished because it is unsafe.

Textile manufacturer firm Tootal Broadhurst and Lee built Sunnyside Mill, off Adelaide Street, Daubhill, between 1862 and 1867 and extended it in 1872.

Sunnyside Mill was described in newspaper reports at the time as 'the most complete and extensive in Lancashire, together will 100 dwellings forming part of the property' but it closed in 1980.

Current owner Lostock-based Lynstock Properties notified Bolton Council in December saying it was planning to knock down the four-storey derelict mill, the six-storey derelict clock tower and a two-storey link building.

Last month, Bolton Council's building control team served a dangerous buildings notice on the company, which submitted a notice to the authority under permitted development rights to specify that the demolition work would take place before April 15.

Margaret Koppens, secretary of Halliwell Local History Society and a volunteer at Bolton Museum, said: "I do think people will be sad to see it go. There will be a lot of people with memories of the place.

"If there was a mill like Sunnyside, all the community worked in the mill or in small trades allied to the mill like engineering firms manufacturing equipment that was used in the mill. It was one big community. I don't like to see mills left to rot and some of the mills have been converted into apartments.

"We're always sad to lose our heritage – although recently there's been talk on television of reopening some mills."

She said the book Cotton Mills of Bolton by James Longworth explains how Victorian entrepreneur Henry Lee bought an existing small weaving shed and engine house in 1862 and converted the site into the Sunnyside Mill in the years up to 1867.

Tootal Broadhurst and Lee operated the mill up to 1964 before it was taken over by England Sewing Cotton Company until the closure in 1980.

At its height in 1925 the mill boasted more than 63,000 spinning mules and 16,000 ring spindles.

Equipment from the mill along with photographs and other memorabilia can be found in the collection of Bolton Museum in Le Mans Crescent in Bolton town centre.

Nobody from the company was available for comment.

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