Gill Bottom Mill Fire 1870

Report taken from Keighley News 3rd December 1870.

About a quarter to five on Wednesday morning Gill Bottom Mill, Cowling, belonging to Mr. W. Gott, and occupied by Messrs J. Laycock & Co., manufacturers, was discovered to be on fire.

 The news quickly spread through the scattered neighbourhood, and soon there were a large number of willing hands labouring with buckets of water to extinguish the flames. All their efforts proved of no avail

This being so, a mounted messenger was despatched at about six o’clock to go to go to Keighley for the fire engines. When he started, a portion of the roof had just gone down; and at half-past six the whole of the roof went in with a tremendous crash The flames rose up, and the heat resulting was intense, the floors of the mill (which were three storeys high) and being saturated with oil and grease collapsed.

 The messenger arrived at Keighley at five minutes to seven the steam fire engine and one of the hand engines were despatched with the brigade at ten minutes past seven, and the drivers exerted themselves in a praiseworthy manner to get the engines in place.

 When the brigade had arrived both the floors had gone down with all the machinery. The men had to direct their attention to the saving of adjacent property, and they were successful in doing so, and great praise was given to them for the energies they displayed. The engines were kept at work till a little after ten o’clock.

The mill was completely destroyed. The low room was used as a storing-room, and the upper room was filled with machinery. It is supposed that the fire originated in a small room in front of the boiler used for storing of waste etc. from which room it made rapid progress.

The damage is estimated at upwards of £4000, which is we are informed, covered by insurance.

The picture with this article is of the ruined mill. There is now (2020) very little left. There is now a bungalow where the building on the left is.

Gill Bottom Mill was there in 1818 ( survey of Cowling for Church Wardens) but we do not know when it was built. J Laycock the tenant at the time of the fire, was in 1871 the shopkeeper at Gill Top. He later moved to Bradford where he had a mill that also burnt down. He then took his wife and family of nine children to the USA. Some of his descendants have since been in touch with us and visited Cowling.