Purlwell Mill

Clerk Green Mill must have done well enough for some of those involved to embark on another venture. Purlwell Mill is said to have been built by James Hall, though Willans associated him with his brothers, Robert Brearley senior and Thomas Hirst.

In 1839Joseph Parker's obituary tells us that he, Michael Spedding, Phineas Fox, and Leeds merchant Matthew Johnson were in partnership with James Hall there under the style of Hall, Johnson, Spedding & Co.

As in the case of other mills, there would seem to have been other investors, for my 4th great grandfather Richard Smith, who was married to James Hall's sister Grace, had shares which are mentioned in his will. We hear in various accounts of hardship around 1840, and this may be why the mill was put up for sale in 1841, described as a scribbling and fulling mill with a 20 horsepower engine made by the Bowling Iron Works, and with equipment including "2 rag machines with speed wheel and gearing of the most valuable description"

Willans also tells us that James Hall left it to his nephew William Dean, and we do find him in possession later, so quite what happened at this time is unclear; it would not have been a good time to sell. but there are indications that a mortgage was taken out.

In 1865 William Dean's mortgagees offered the mill for sale, and it may be at this time that it passed into Brearley hands, Joseph Brearley being the owner Willans mentions. William Dean is said to have gone to America, and indeed I find him there with wife and younger children. His daughter Elizabeth married Oliver Hall in Batley in that year. Her sister Amelia went to America, but though I have not yet found what became of all the family later, Amelia was back in Yorkshire in 1878 to marry Oliver's brother, Louis Hall the cricketer.

Joseph Brearley was assisted in the business by his sons, but himself ran into difficulties in the late 1880s

In 1891, at a time when some 100 hands were said to have been at work fire broke out on the top floor of the mill, described as a four storey building where all the processes of woollen manufacturing were carried out. Although the building was described as fully insured it was destroyed andmany were thrown out of work.