amended 10 August 2003 (above map link improved)
Helmshore did not exist until 1789 when the TURNER family bought a number of fields in the parish of Musbury on the banks of rivers close to cotton mills in Blackburn and woollen mills in Martholme.
The Turners built a water-powered woollen mill and then set out to attract workers and constructed cottages for them to live in. The mill eventually converted to cotton.
The old water wheel and lodges can still be seen snuggled below the old railway line, which obviously came later. The railway line has now closed but its steam route is followed by an excellent footpath.
Later a second mill was built and this only closed in 1978. Both mills have been open as museums since then. The mills and machinery were purchased by Lancashire County Council who received grants from the Department of the Environment and the Science Museum.
Inside the museums is a treasure trove of industrial machinery of international significance, from the textile age. Here is the only working example of an Arkwright water frame to be found in the world. There is also a Spinning Jenny and the water wheel of the old mill still works, as do a large proportion of the old spinning machines.
Helmshore Textile Museums are now used by schools for the social studies part of their curriculum.
Helmshore is set in rather splendid countryside and it is no exageration to say that the Textile Museums complex is one of the most important of its type in the world.
Telephone 01706 226459