Cockden was the main industrial area of Eastwood, with several mills and workshops.

The earliest report about Cockden we have found is from 10th January 1852: "On this date, Mr Thomas Chadwick of Cockden, Eastwood, coal merchant, presented to Wm Nicholl (a man who drove three asses) a pair of monster clogs. The soles were of old English Oak, and contained 140 clog nails, and the iron that surrounded them was screwed on with 40 screw nails, 1 and a half inches in length. The clogs weighed 18 lbs".

In Jan 1890 the Todmorden Almanac reports on the Inquest of Eli Scott of Cockden who was found dead with his head in a well at Sike House, Eastwood on the previous Friday.



Halsteads were one of the main employers in the Cockden area. They had logs delivered by canal and were able to carry out the whole process from uncut log to finished product.

The adverts below show that their products were sold all over the country.

Both adverts were in the Todmorden Almanac in the late 1880s .

In July 1884 a most destructive fire occurred at Halsteads resulting in the destruction of the workshop in which a large amount of finished work ready for delivery. The work included the new fittings for a Wesleyan Chapel at Halifax. Damage was estimated at over £3000.

On 25th June 1890 Mr S Halstead of Eastwood was elected as a member of the Todmorden Local Board following the resignation of Mr John Fielden. This would indicate that the Halstead family had significant status in the locality. The firm was later run by Josiah Halstead who lived on Halifax Road. He had five children: Frederick, Edward, Sydney, Winnie and Stephen. Frederick and Edward ran the business at some time. Frederick was the organist at Eastwood Chapel for many years and moved to Hope Street Baptist when Eastwood closed.

The mill closed in its 99th year and remained empty until it was burnt down. The gutted building was sold for £1.

Click here for more information on the Halstead family.

Dick and Annie's

This mill (known locally as Dick O' Nanny's) was on the other side of the road from Halsteads. This mill was used for all sorts of activities including bone crushing!

Hitchen Peels

Close by were the stables for Mitchells coal yard, a shop called Stansfield and a firm called Hitchen and Peels who were cloth merchants and sold bobbins and sewing tackle. It was a thriving business with five of the Hitchen family, Teddy Peel a travelling rep and his sister as a part time secretary.

The eldest son Edwy entered the business in about 1903 and it was his role to take parcels of cloth to the station every day. The business probably involved buying bulk cloth from woolen mills and selling it in smaller lots. Hitchen Peels warehouse was the old Corn mill which had a stable underneath. Customers entered a small door to climb the stairs to the upstairs warehouse. Bu slumped at the outbreak of World War II.

The Peel family lived at Wood Villas at Sandbed. They probably attended Naze Bottom Chapel, but they were ardent Good Templars (tee totallers) and came to meetings at Eastwood. There may have been a falling out with Cedric Hitchen who was reputed to have been seen sitting in the Station Hotel. He married the landlord's daughter (Louise green) and took her to India where he worked as an industrial chemist.

View of the West end of Cockden in about 1912
View of the West end of Cockden in about 1912

The photograph above shows that the West end was dominated by Cockden Mill and Eastwood Chapel.

To the right of the chapel were some horrendous dye settling tanks and a former pub and Bankcrofts clogging shop.

The terrace under the railway included from the right Mitchell's coal weigh office, Appleyard's chip shop and the Halfway House pub. Half way along the terrace was a small arch under the railway which gave access to Cockden Mill and steps up to Higher Eastwood.

Footpath and arch to Cockden Mill
Footpath and arch to Cockden Mill

Cockden Mill was known locally as Dan Crabtree's. It was a mixed mill covering most of the textile processes, but especially dyeing. Dyeing is a complicated process and Dan Crabtree employed colour chemists, one of whom was called Emett Hugh.

The mill seemed to regularly catch fire, for example, two reports: "On 30th February 1879 a fire at Dan Crabtree's dyeworks, Eastwood caused Damage of £400". "On 25th Oct 1901 at about 1.25 in the morning, a disastrous fire broke out on the premises of Messrs Dan Crabtree & Sons, Cockden dyeworks, Eastwood. The firm estimated their loss at from £2000 to £4000".

View of Dan crabtree's Mill
View of Dan crabtree's Mill

The Half way House can be seen in the foreground.

The mill used water which came down from the manufacturing places higher on the hills, but Dan Crabtree's mill was not universally popular in the area, partly because of the fires and partly because of the sludge ponds located at the back of the chapel. Before 1916, these ponds were used to store urine used in the dying and finishing processes. The urine was collected around Todmorden with the cry "Any old lant" at which women would come out and empty their chamber pots.

Despite the ponds and the fires, Dan Crabtree himself was said to be very popular with local children because of his habit of handing out sweets to them on their way home from school.

On the 10th November 1886, a horse and trap driven Dan Crabtree knocked down Thomas Bentley, aged 10, of Lob Mill. The offside wheel passed over the boy's head causing his death the following morning. The inquest jury brought in a verdict of accidental death.

Postcard of Cockden Mill
Postcard of Cockden Mill

The dyeworks closed after the second World war when it was used as a chick factory, a rope works and a nuts and bolts factory; it was derelict by the mid 1950s.


The canal was used to off load and collect materials from the mills in Cockden. The three photos below show the lock and provide good views of Cockden.

The building are (from the left) The Station Hotel, Dan Crabtrees Mill and Eastwood chapel.


The two photos below show the centre of Cockden with the post office on the right and the Half Way House on the left. Cockden Mill stands above the main street.

The hole in the wall in the foreground was a well used before piped water was installed.

The Post Office

There is some confusion about the different locations of the Post Office, but we are told that it started life in the terrace on the left in the photos above. One of the Cockroft family worked there in the 1860-1870s. When the postmaster, George Henry Greenwood died (in about 1920) it moved to a building opposite which used to be stables (and perhaps a Co-op and green grocers).

The post office was in the front room and Hettie the teacher with her two sons and a daughter lived upstairs. It was then run by Mrs Ida Sharpe from about 1930 to 1940 who was very popular in the area. She was separated from her husband who had a travelling greengrocers cart. Her son Harold was the local Scout master. When Mrs Sharpe died the post office moved to Victoria Terrace.

Eastwood Post Office
Eastwood Post Office

The building on the far left is Valley Street with Benny Tonks shop on the end and Mitchells coal office in front. The building set back from the road has had several uses. It started off as a village institute, became part of Mitchells coal yard (with a weigh bridge) and finally was used for day old chicks by Finney brothers, who sold to a company called Northern Counties Accredited (NCA) who in turn sold it to Thornbers who finally pulled it down. The building attached to the post office was Bankcroft's clogging shop.This was run by George Henry (known locally as Dord' Arry).

A foggy day near the Post Office in Cockden
A foggy day near the Post Office in Cockden
Eastwood Post Office building in the 1950s
Eastwood Post Office building in the 1950s

The Halfway House

The earliest mention of a pub in Cockden Lane was a beerhouse in 1837.

The Halfway House was definitely in existence in 1858 being run by Sam and Betty Sutcliffe. Gilbert Sutcliffe was born at Half Way House in 1884

In January 1889 there was an outbreak of smallpox at Eastwood. Two cases removed to Sourhall Hospital were Robert Sutcliffe of Half Way House and a Mr.G.Wilkinson, a painter. On 4th July 1901, Robert Sutcliffe died, aged 42. The deceased had "kept this house" a great number of years, having being brought up there and succeeded his father.

The Halfway House, still being run by the Sutcliffe family, was closed by 1936.

This page was last updated April 2009