London Vale print work: part 2 – 1844

The London Vale advert in the Manchester Mercury gives a snapshot of the range of equipment required in a calico print works. From the inventory it is clear that the company is still reliant on large scale block printing, a labour intensive system which precedes engraved roller printing. There are also four roller printing machines for sale with their attendant 230 engraved rollers. Read on:-

By T. M. FISHER, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the 28th and days of February, and Ist March, 1844 at the London Vale Print Works, Agecroft, late in the occupation of Messrs. I.ycette and Coston. Sale to commence each day punctually at eleven o’clock the forenoon: ONE 7-8ths Single-colour, ditto, one 7-8ths Three-colour, and one 9-8ths Three-colour PRINTING MACHINES, by McFarlane and Briggs; forcing machine; 9-8ths lever mangle,-with two wood and one copper bowls; two 9-8ths calenders, each with wood two and one iron bowls; Cylinder drying machine by Mathers, eleven cylinders, each 7ft. 6in. by 1ft. 6in.; two winding-on frames, clearing beck, five dye becks, dung, and chymic cisterns; ten drum dash wheels, two pairs of lever squeezers, fly wince, two brick cisterns lined lead, steaming apparatus, forty-six printing tables, padding machine with two copper bowls, three cradle indigo mills, fourteen stone blue vats, dipping and skying frames, copper pump; three largo and six small copper pans, with doors, bars, and brickwork; lever weighing machine, drying rails, machine and table pattern books, new blocks, stoves and pipes, wheelbarrows, wrought iron bowking kier, cast iron do., singeing stove; capital hydraulic press, 3-inch ram; 10 inch lathe, mechanics’ tools, wrought and cast iron, copper, brass, stores; 8 steam engine, cylinder 22 inches diameter, 4fr. stroke; four steam boilers (two nearly new); steam and water pipes, valves, and taps; mill gearing; six hundred and fifty 7-8ths, and eighty-one 9-8ths copper rollers, all through tabs, and engraved with useful modern patterns; and a large quantity of drugs, also Three stacks well-got Hay, potatoes, heap manure, five broad-wheeled carts with iron arms, two useful draught horses, cart gears, stable utensils, and one hundred yards of wrought iron hurdles.  May be viewed on Monday and Tuesday, the 26th and 27th, and catalogues had on the premises; or from the Auctioneer, Princess-street, Manchester.

London Vale Print Works: part 1

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.

London Vale print works surveyed in 1891. The two large reservoirs, range of buildings and factory chimney show the extensive site. The map shows the location of Agecroft Bridge, Kersal Hall and the site west of the River Irwell which would become the Northern Cemetery 1903.

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.

Aerial photograph of the Cussons Soap Works, previously the London Vale print works. Kersal Hall,  in the bottom right hand side of the image, was later demolished for council housing. The Cussons site is now also housing.