P is for Park Bridge and Pike

OwlPark Bridge is a heritage site in Tameside, an old industrial area nestling in the countryside and the starting point last December for a winter solstice walk to Hartshead Pike.

The photo shows a an owl carved atop an old tree at the Park Bridge Heritage Centre, based at what were the stables for the Park Bridge Ironworks.

It was founded in 1786 by one Samuel Lees, originally producing raw iron, and was one of the earliest ironworks in the north west of England.

Samuel died in 1804 and the works was taken over by his widow, Hannah. She expanded the business, building a weir and a water power building on the adjacent River Medlock.

Park Bridge IronworksThe works produced rivets you can still see today, holding up the Eiffel Tower and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Those used on the Titanic are harder to visit!

Park Bridge Ironworks remained in the Lees family for a further four generations, but business began to decline at the end of 19th century when coal mining in the area ceased.

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.

The abandoned ironworks fell into decay and were demolished or reduced to ruins in the 1970s, but in 1975 the Medlock and Tame Valley Conservation Association opened the Park Bridge Museum to encourage interest in the historical significance of Park Bridge.

Hartshead PikeAs mentioned at the start, Park Bridge was the starting point for an early morning walk we joined in December and when I took the photos.

Hartshead Pike is 1,000 feet above sea level and local tribes worshipped here during the Iron Age, which is appropriate given what I’ve written about Park Bridge.

I may well feature the Pike in another ABC post, but for now I’ll leave you with the photo of it left taken at sunrise and below the glorious view across the Pennines.

As always, click on the images to view them on the lightbox.

Solsticve Sunrise

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Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • vernz 4th May 2011

    very glorious view… the last photo is so magical… love it.. was here for Skywatch Friday hope you can visit back.

  • rog 4th May 2011

    love the foresight some had to protect the environment
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • VioletSky 4th May 2011

    What a shame it was demolished and then almost immediately recognized as a heritage site.

  • Yorkshire Pudding 5th May 2011

    Ah yes… the glorious view across the Pennines and there beyond the magnificent shining light lies the land of our dreams, our holy land, our Yorkshire.


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