Domestic hatting workshop. Early C19. Hand-made brick, slate roof.
Reason for Listing
The former domestic hatting works, 66a Market Street, Denton, of the early C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as a significantly unaltered example of a two-storey, domestic hatting workshop with a well-lit bow garret on the first floor;
* Regional specialism: this building type was associated particularly with felt hat manufacture, an industry for which Denton had been known since the C18, rising through the C19 to pre-eminence as the largest hat manufacturing centre in Britain by the early C20;
* Rarity: though there must have been hundreds of similar domestic hatting workshops in Denton prior to mechanization and the building of factories in the later C19, subsequent demolition and development mean that this is the only known surviving example of a largely intact, two-storey planking shop and bow garret, and as such is a very rare example of an early workshop building associated with the hatting industry.
Denton was one of the six main centres of hat manufacture in England, alongside Atherstone, London, Luton, Manchester and Stockport. Felt hat manufacture was recorded in Denton as early as 1702. In its early days production operated on a domestic scale, with processes carried out in dwelling houses, outbuildings or small workshops, providing a supplementary source of income for farming families. The industry expanded rapidly during the first half of C19 and gradually moved into factories. By 1840 two thousand dozen felt hats were being produced each week in Denton.
During the 1860s and 1870s mechanization of the industry resulted in Denton rising to national dominance. At its peak during the Edwardian period, Denton was the largest hat manufacturing centre in Britain with 36 firms directly involved in felt hatting production and several dozen undertaking finishing, hat box making, and hat machine manufacture. The industry dominated the life of the town until later in the C20 when it fell victim to changing fashions and overseas competition. The last felt hat factory closed in 1980.
Denton was known for better quality felt hats made from beaver and rabbit fur. Two main processes of their manufacture were the 'bowing' of the fur, and the subsequent formation of the hats. The fur was cleaned by spreading out on a work bench over which a large hatter's bow, similar to an oversized violin bow, was suspended. This was vibrated over the fur to separate and clean the fibres. The rooms used were known as 'bow garrets' as good light was needed so they were often on the first floor. 'A roughly conical 'hood' shape was then formed, which was immersed in a boiling 'kettle' of water and sulphuric acid causing the hood to shrink and harden. Around the kettle were inclined planks sloping back into the kettle. Repeated immersion and rolling on the planks caused the wet hoods to shrink to approximate hat size. The rooms used for this process were called 'planking shops' and had a fireplace to heat the kettles. The hats were then pulled into shape over a wooden block, before being finished by smoothing, lining, and trimming.
The 1841 census records a William Turner, journeyman hatter, his wife and children, together with John Mayer, also a journeyman hatter, and William Axon, an apprentice hatter, living at Hope Cottage on South Street (now no.90 Stockport Road). The 1:10560 Lancashire Ordnance Survey map of 1848 shows the area was largely arable at this time but Hope Cottage, which is labelled, is shown, as is a small building on the edge of a field to its west. This building is shown in the position of the hatting workshop, now 66a Market Street. The proximity suggests that it could have been the workshop used by the occupants of Hope Cottage. Deeds for the house show that it was built in 1839 and it is likely that the workshop is of a similar date.
No.66a Market Street is a small, two-storey building with a fireplace on the ground floor and a well-lit first floor. In 1877 a row of terraced houses, 'Albert Terrace', had been built on Market Street, a new road running parallel to Stockport Road and separating the workshop from the associated house. A cart entrance was incorporated into the terrace to enable continued access to the workshop.
A domestic hatting workshop, early-C19 in date, constructed with hand-made brick, and a slate roof.
PLAN: approximately square plan, 4yd 27in (4.33m) by 4yd 28in (4.36m). Two storeys with doorway in west wall, chimney breast against south wall with fireplace on ground floor, and timber staircase against east wall.
EXTERIOR: the two-storey workshop is built of hand-made bricks in an irregular bond, with double-pitched slate roof and a brick ridge stack to the south gable wall. The west elevation has the entrance doorway set towards the right-hand side with a first-floor window above. The tall doorway has a deep, slightly segmental brick lintel. The board door has a boarded overlight. The window above has a slightly projecting stone sill and segmental brick soldier lintel. The window has lost its window frame and is presently boarded over. The north gable wall has two windows on the first floor set off-centre towards the left-hand side, with a single window on the ground floor beneath the right window, partially obscured by a modern timber lean-to shed. The windows all have stone sills and deep, slightly segmental brick lintels. The first-floor windows both have unhorned, six-over-six pane hung sashes. The ground-floor window has a cross-frame timber frame. The south gable wall is blind. The east wall is blind with some scarring at ground-floor level suggesting a projecting wall that has been cut back.
INTERIOR: in the centre of the south wall is a projecting brick chimney breast; the fireplace is presently obscured. There is a staircase with timber treads and strings but no handrail against the east wall and rising towards the south gable wall. Deep, timber joists supporting a timber floor run between the north and south walls with trimmers in front of the chimney breast and the stair aperture. The first-floor windows have simple timber architraves. The room was formerly ceiled, but the ceiling has partially collapsed. The roof has two deep, purlins and narrow rafters and ridge purlin.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.