Spen Industry & Commerce

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Spen Industry & Commerce

The Spen Valley has a remarkable history of industry & commerce, which is fast disappearing. In order to capture this and create a record for future generations, Spen Valley Civic Society has gathered information about key industrial and business figures. Through this website, the local paper and periodic exhibitions, we asked the public to tell us their reminiscences and show us their pictures about life in Spen's mills and factories.

We have information about most mills and companies including: Phelon & Moore (motorcycle manufacturers); BBA (British Belting & Asbestos woven belting company); Cooke & Sons, carpet manufacturers; Critchley Sharp and Tetlow card clothing manufacturers; Willian Rouse Carriage makers; William Sugden shirt-makers; Thorntons & Chadwicks textile machine manufacturers; Henry Ellison's Yorkshire Tar Distillers; George Anderton worsted spinners;Charles Hirst & Sons wiredrawers (later Bridon Wire); Henry Cockill & Sons' leather belting company; and P & C Garnett Ltd.

In 2018 we contributed text and images for Wetherspoon's refurbishment of their Obediah Brooke pub on Bradford Road, Cleckheaton. See Wetherspoon's website about the pub or visit, to see a fantastic array of photos and information.

In September 2021 we unveiled an information board on Horncastle Street Cleckheaton, celebrating Phelon & Moore's marvellous motorbikes, including the famous Panthers, known as "Cleckheaton Cats". It faces Cleckheaton's indoor market, on Home Bargains' car park, once the site of the factory.

Spen Valley had hundreds of small pits, to mine the coal that powered the Industrial Revolution. Some were linked by little rail tracks, but little is left of them. If you're interested, read an article by Max Rathmell here, that tells you all about this hidden local history.

If you or any relatives have photos, documents or memories concerning Spen Valley industry which you're willing to share, please contact Spen Valley Civic Society via our homepage!

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