Plaque 16: The Low Mill ‘Penny Hole’

Plaque 16

The Low Mill ‘Penny Hole’

Awarded a Blue Plaque in 2016

This plaque commemorates Low Mill and the fact that this cottage was the mill gatekeeper’s home. He had responsibility for fining millworkers who had to drop one penny into the collecting box if they were late for work, hence the name.

Low Mill was built in 1787 and became the largest mill in Addingham. In 1826 it was the scene of a riot when hand-loom weavers, fearing the threat to their jobs posed by the new power driven machinery ordered for the mill, marched to the mill intent on smashing the new looms. They were initially repelled but it required the help of the Yorkshire Hussars, from Leeds, to finally restore order.

The mill was most famously run by members of the Cunliffe-Lister family and was the first successful worsted spinning mill. Various other textile materials were produced here, including silk and velvet, but during the Second World War it was taken over for the production of carburettors for Spitfires and other warplanes.

The workers’ cottages were renovated as Low Mill Village in 1985 and the last use of the mill, for wool scouring, ended early this century.

Penny Hole

The Penny Hole at Low Mill in the 1930s