Copley model village

In 1837, Jonathan Akroyd bought a mill and land at Copley from Richard Kennett-Dawson.

Another mill with a grand triumphal arch was built nearby in 1847, and Jonathan Akroyd. The only existing accommodation for the workers was a row of 18th/19th century cottages, others had to travel some distance to the mill. With the dual intent of providing a labour source and improving social conditions – conceived a model housing scheme for the company's employees.

Jonathan died in 1847, a few months before building on the new village began. The work was completed by his son, Edward, in 1849. The design was by Scott and Crossland. The original name for the village was Copley Mills.

The first row of 36 houses cost £120 each to build. There were originally 112 back-to-back houses, and 24 through-houses were built later.

Copley had four shops, its own school in 1849, its own library in 1850, and its own co-operative society until 1968. In the 1860s, the annual rent for a house was £5 15/- or £4 for the later, cheaper houses.

The streets have names such as Calder Terrace, St Stephen's Street, and Railway Terrace - not as imaginative as those at Akroydon. Most of the buildings in the area are listed.

Akroyd built a parsonage in Wakefield Road and paid the salaries of ministers to the new village. One of these, Rev James Hope planned a new church for the village – Parish Church of St Stephen – which was built in 1863.

After Edward Akroyd's death in 1887, the mills, houses and school were sold.

In 1967, the back-to-back houses were knocked through and modernised. New houses were built on the site of the Sunday School for St Stephen's church which had been demolished in 196?.

The mill was taken over by the Yorkshire & Lancashire Tulketh Group, but was finally demolished in 1975. A housing estate now stands on the site

See Copley Gas Works and St Stephen's Church

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:28 /22nd January 2021 / 5038

Page Ref: MMC1650

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