My mother has reminisced about spending childhood holidays at her Auntie Amy’s farm close adjacent to the River Bollin at Castle Mill, Ashley, Cheshire. The farm still stands: Castle Mill Farm, on Mill Lane, but the mill next to it went long before my time. There’s a modern house on the site. (Many local people will remember the open air swimming pool on the opposite side of the road, fed by river water. I always hated it: cold, dirty and crowded. That, too, has gone. It became unsafe.)
Trades Directories of 1896, 1902 and 1914 list Amy’s husband as Farmer and Miller. I presume he had someone helping him in the mill as the cottage adjoining the mill wasn’t occupied by the family. Tithe maps tell me that a farmer of the same surname was farming the land as early as 1832.
I’ve recently acquired a few postcards mainly from the early part of the twentieth century, partly with the intention of triggering memories.
This idyllic view was posted in 1938. The farm is on the right hand side of the picture and the mill in the centre. The swimming pool was in the flat land at the left hand side and early OS maps show the river diverted into the area the pool later occupied to create a mill race by the mill.
The next postcard was posted in 1911. Real life: a working day. I love the washing hanging outside and the drifting smoke. The photo would have been taken from Amy and Richard’s fields, with the orchard at the back of the photographer.
I’ve seen pre-WW1 photos of the Cheshire Yeomanry cantering along this road and I believe they used to use the mill in some way, but so far I haven’t corroborated the connection.
Please don’t download these pictures without asking me. I had to pay for them. I’m happy to share high res scans on request.