This delightful scene with its watery reflection is in the village of Delph, in Saddleworth, around 7 miles from Ashton.
The tranquillity of the scene belies its industrial origins. The waterway on the left is an artificial mill race or leat, created to provide power for a woollen mill a little further downstream.
The water comes from the River Tame, which runs unseen below the bank on the right of the photo. A couple of hundred yards upstream, just below Delph Bridge, a weir across the river helps to divert some of the water into the mill race. By the time the channel reached the mill, its height above the river meant that it was able to drive a water wheel that could power machinery.
Waterside mills were very common in the hilly area to the east of Ashton before coal-powered steam engines were able to power a greater number of machines, giving rise to the large multi-storey mills built in Ashton and other towns throughout the Victorian era.
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See Google Aerial View of this location.
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