Waterside House, one of the 1st mills in Rochdale to switch from water to steam power, has been awarded grade II listed status by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.
The mill, built in around 1820, was one of the 1st in the area to convert from water to steam power under its owner William Chadwick. Part of the Water Street building was demolished in the 1970s, but the engine room, where water from the River Roch would have been converted into steam to power the machines, remains, along with the warehouse.
The listing comes as part of the larger Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) project, a council and Historic England initiative to revitalise historically important parts of Rochdale town centre and give them a new lease of life. Waterside House will also benefit from one of a number of building grants which will be made available throughout this year and next to help improve buildings in the HAZ area. There are hopes to convert the building for residential use, with an application for 16 apartments within the building currently being considered.
Other projects in the Rochdale HAZ, which covers Drake Street and its surrounding areas, include the hugely successful Rochdale Uprising mural festival, which saw a team of artists from around the globe paint murals on key buildings across the town centre, including one on Waterside House by artist Philth Blake, which depicts cotton plants in a nod to the borough’s industrial past.
The listing, the first to be granted as part of the Rochdale HAZ, recognises the importance of the building on a national scale and the designation will help protect the building’s special historic features, which include tall windows, vertical rows of doors and a decorative brick and stone façade.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said: “Our heritage is quite simply second to none and I’m so pleased to see yet another part of our borough’s fascinating history recognised at a national level.
“The HAZ project is shedding new light on the rich history of these buildings, which many walk past day to day, but probably know very little about. Even more importantly, we’re working to bring many of these important places back into use, so they will be as much as part of Rochdale’s future as they were its past.”
Veronica Fiorato, Historic England Listing Team Leader for the North, said: “As part of our work on the Rochdale Heritage Action Zone, listing is one of the key projects in the scheme which aims to help breathe new life into the town. Waterside House is very important to Rochdale’s history and deserves its listing at Grade II. We will continue to work with Rochdale Council to protect the historic buildings and places in the town and encourage its regeneration.”
Waterside House joins a prestigious collection of listed buildings in Rochdale town centre, including the town hall, the former Wellington coaching Inn at the bottom of Drake Street (now the Bombay Brew restaurant) and St Chad’s parish church.