Dyeing to solve these mysteries

Tofts Road Warehouse in Cleckheaton. Picture taken from The Cleckheaton Branch published by the L&YR Society.
Tofts Road Warehouse in Cleckheaton. Picture taken from The Cleckheaton Branch published by the L&YR Society.

What is a Stover ?

Since the mid 1700s Rawfolds has been home to a succession of Dyeing and Finishing companies: indeed, Rawfolds Mill itself included both processes at the time of Mr Cartwright’s famous occupancy in 1812.

Rawfolds Dyeworks

Rawfolds Dyeworks

In 1875 a Mr George Briggs built his mill, to be called the Rawfolds Dye Works, on the triangle of land between Bradford Road and Cartwright Street in Cleckheaton.

It seems that the business expanded quickly because by 1893 the mill had grown into the palatial premises shown by the drawing on this page.

The company became part of the Bradford Dyers’ Association in 1898.

The mill survived until at least 1939 when the caption under an aerial photograph describes Rawfolds Dye Works as being “disused”. George Briggs & Sons described themselves as “Dyers and Stovers”.

Does any reader know what is or was a stover?

What was it?

The 1897, 1905 and 1922 maps of Cleckheaton all mark this strange building beside the railway line at Cleckheaton Central station, opposite the junction of (today’s) Tofts and Prospect Roads, Cleckheaton.

The photograph, apparently taken from the “Down” (northbound?) platform of Cleckheaton Central Station is undated but I am told that it was taken around 1950.

The building is described on various maps as either a warehouse or a goods depot. The overall appearance of the three-storey structure suggests that it was not built by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) or any of its successor companies: the many, large (and expensive!) windows suggest that its occupants required far more daylight than was normally afforded to a Victorian storage facility.

The wooden structure to the right of the building clearly overhangs a railway track – so presumably housed a hoist for loading/unloading railway wagons.

Does any reader of the Spenborough Guardian know anything about the name, owner or usage of this one-time Cleckheaton landmark/eyesore?

Was it a warehouse: in which case, what was stored there? Was it a factory: in which case what was made there?

l If you have any information, please e-mail grylls@dsl.pipex.com or write to the Spenborough Guardian, 17, Wellington Road, Dewsbury, WF13 1HQ.