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Alt to Park Bridge

30th Dec 2012.

Parking on Alt Lane and stumbling down to the wet and boggy banks of the Medlock between Alders Farm and Cockfields Farm. This is the section below Lees New Road and emerging from Leesbrook. The river showed signs of recent flooding with flattened grass and deposits of rubbish. Beyond the fields the river enters a small and atmospheric valley – the site of a mined coal seam. There are warning signs and sectioned off areas where the mine shafts used to be. Fragments of coal can still be picked up. The destination was Bridge Park – a significant heritage site.

Not sure of the meaning of the place name ‘Alt’. Probably from the Gaelic meaning stream or burn? But the Germanic word means ‘old’.

IMG_1971 IMG_1972 IMG_1973 IMG_1975Horse chewed bark….

IMG_1976 IMG_1977 IMG_1979Landslip and signs of coal…

IMG_1980 IMG_1981 IMG_1982 IMG_1984 IMG_1990 IMG_1991 IMG_1994 IMG_1995 IMG_1996 IMG_1997 IMG_1998 IMG_1999 IMG_2000 IMG_2001 IMG_2004Eldencross Ltd. is a warehouse and storage facility…..

IMG_2005From Wikipedia:

Samuel Lees junior founded Park Bridge ironworks in 1786 on 14 perches of land rented from the Earl of Stamford.[1] Originally the ironworks produced raw iron; the ironworks were some of the largest in 19th century Tameside, and one of the earliest ironworks in the northwest. Samuel Lees’ wife, Hannah Lees (née Buckley), inherited ownership of the ironworks on her husband’s death in 1804. Under Hannah Lees, the ironworks were expanded including the construction of a weir and a water power building on the River Medlock. The success of the ironworks precipitated the construction of worker housing in the 1820s. Further worker housing was added in the 1840s and 1850s.[2] The ironworks remained of the largest such works in Tameside, including a nearby colliery and associated with the Oldham, Ashton and Guide Bridge Railway. The business was inherited by another four generations of the Lees family, until the closure of the site.[3] The ironworks started to decline at the end of the 19th century with the cessation of coal mining in the Medlock Valley in 1887. Competition from the steel industry over a long period and the closure of the railway in 1959 further dented the profits. The ironworks finally closed in 1963, still under the control of the Lees family.[1]
The abandoned ironworks fell into decay and were demolished or reduced to ruins in the 1970s. Because the buildings were not recorded before their demolition, they site of the ironworks is of interest to archaeologists – particularly the University of Manchester Archaeological Unit – as part of the development of the later iron industry in the north west. In 1975 the Medlock and Tame Valley Conservation Association opened the Park Bridge Museum to encourage interest in the historical significance of Park Bridge.
In 1986, the museum became a visitor centre, and in 1995 was renamed the Park Bridge Heritage Centre.[1]
They provided rivets world wide. The Eiffel Tower and The Titanic both used their rivets in their construction.

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Reminiscences of Park Bridge

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