Many local people will be aware of the Cussons Soap works and its location at Agecroft. However, long before the soap company occupied the site on Kersal Vale Road, it was preceded by a very large and periodically successful textile company, known as the London Vale Print works.
To the west of Ageroft cemetery, the London Vale factory was also known as the Kersal Vale and Agecroft Bridge print works. London Vale appears to have changed hands many times throughout the nineteenth century. Initially owned by James Bayley, the business is listed under his name in Pigot’s Directory of 1818 and 1828. Bayley continued in ownership until around 1838 when his parnership with his sons was dissolved. The next owners, James Lycette and Thomas Coston dissolved their partnership in 1843, putting the building up for rent. The advert in the Manchester Mercury notes WORKS—TO BE LET, ready for immediate working, all those Excellent and Compact London Vale Print works’. situate Agecroft Bridge, in the parish of Prestwich. The supply of water is unfailing, and coals abound in the immediate neighbourhood. The machinery is in capital working order, and in first-rate condition, a large portion of it having been recently put in; it must be taken with the copper rollers at a valuation. A more desirable opportunity for commencing printing without trouble, or works better adapted for the purpose is rarely to be met with. The premises will be let for the remainder of a lease of fourteen years, which eleven years and half are unexpired.—For further particulars and to treat apply to Mr. BROOME, Accountant, No. 3, St. James’s square, Manchester.
Later Thomas Coston went into partnership with Joseph Jackson promoting themselves as ‘printers of calicoes, muslins and other goods’ at Agecroft. However, they also ran into trouble in 1854 at which point John and Cable Brennand took over. In 1868 a fire totally destroyed the building putting 200 employees out of work. The fire damage was estimated at between £8,000 to £10,000 resulting in the Brennands being declared bankrupt. The buildings were later used as a bleach works but by 1891 the site was disused. However, in 1909 the buildings were bought by the Cussons family who established their soap works in the factory buildings.