A HERITAGE board, setting out the history of Walk Mill, Cliviger, has been unveiled by the village’s archives group.

It is the second area within the community to go under the historical microscope – Mereclough and its chapel was the first – and more are planned, to provide facts and information of how the different parts of the village grew and create a heritage trail.

This latest information board tells how the area got its name and provides details on its former industries, old buildings and people.

It explains about the fulling mill. A 1734 map shows a dye house near the River Calder. Earlier documents still name it as Walk Mill, a fulling mill, where newly woven wool was scoured, cleaned and thickened, by beating it in water, before it was dyed.

The early fullers trampled cloth in troughs and so became known as ‘walkers’ and these water powered mills became known as walk mills – the one in Cliviger giving its name to a whole area.

With the arrival of cotton, the process died out in the early 1800s.

The building of the weaving shed at Walk Mill began in 1876 and in its early years it was owned by a number of companies. In between the wars there were 736 looms operating.

In the boom years, it produced large orders of fine quality cotton for America, but closed in 1958, leaving 200 workers with no jobs.

The railway pit is one of Walk Mill’s buildings. It once housed a steam engine, installed in 1848 to drive chains which towed the coal tubs from the drift mine, under the road to the railway. The course of the ‘ginny track’ climbed to the coal staithe and coke ovens.

The original drift entrance was the Turner Carr Level at Southward Bottom, which was extended downhill to become the Railway Drift.

William Edmondson, regarded as the father of the Cliviger coal industry, was one of the operators.

The colliery owners agreed to provide housing for their workers and in 1873 the stone built homes of Walk Mill Terrace were built. They were always known as Long Row.

The Police station is featured on the board, which tells visitors the first policeman in the village lived at Croft Houses in Holme Chapel. Towards the end of the 19th century, PC James Corner covered the area from a house in Long Row. In 1906 land for a new police station was purchased from the Towneley estate. By 1911, the station had a staff of three under Sergeant Corner. Another police station was provided in 1946.

Mount Zion Chapel had its roots in 1878 when Thomas Butcher, the schoolmaster at Mereclough Wesleyan day school was dismissed from his post for no apparent reason, which caused an outcry among villagers.

A breakaway group started meeting in the weaving shed at Walk Mill and held services in a hired room under the name of the United Free Gospel Church.

A Sunday School was set up and 120 children were at the first meeting.

Mr Butcher opened a day school in the same building and attracted 165 pupils. The present church was built as a school chapel in 1880 and the congregation, now part of the Independent Methodists, chose to be called Mount Zion.

The Gordon Lennox inn is featured. Its history goes back to a farm by the Calder which was owned in 1822 by Peregrine Towneley, though the tenancy was held by Widow Grimshaw. By 1844, the farm was known as Walk Mill public house and was owned by Ann Clegg and by the 1880s with Thomas Bell Dillon behind the bar it became known locally as Dillons.

A new inn was built by the Towneleys across the road in 1892 and was named after Lady Francis Gordon-Lennox, the daughter of Colonel Charles Towneley.