"E" is for "Escape Ladders" and today's photo shows the fire escape ladders at the back of Oxford Mills in Ashton's West End.
The Oxford Mills complex was built around 1845 by Thomas Mason, the father of philanthropist and MP for Ashton Hugh Mason.
These mills, like others in the area, were built alongside the Ashton Canal to enable the easy delivery of coal and raw cotton to the mills and the easy dispatch of cotton cloth.
In the days before the present awareness of Health and Safety issues, the mills were built without fire escapes other than the normal internal staircases, and these external escape ladders were added later. The ladder on the right is accessed through doorways in the bricked-up loading doors, which had enabled goods to be hoisted in and out of the upper floors of the building. Fire was a particular danger in cotton mills as the air was full of combustible cotton dust.
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See Birds Eye View of this location.
"Escape Ladders" is a contribution to ABC Wednesday. For more "E" posts from around the world please follow this link.
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