This small stone building on Lower Wharf Street in Ashton was once part of a larger group of buildings where the manufacture of donkey stones took place. Donkey stones were used in mills to prevent stone steps from becoming slippery with grease. They were later used by proud housewives to make their doorsteps look smart.
This factory was set up by Eli Whalley on what had been Ashton Old Wharf at the side of the Ashton Canal. The site is now sometimes known as Donkey Stone Wharf. The name "Donkey" was originally the brand name of one of the companies that made such stones, but became the generic name for the product, much as vacuum cleaners are often referred to as hoovers.
The donkey stones were made from crushed stone, cement, bleach and water. The colour depended on the type of crushed stone used.
Two other companies had also manufactured donkey stones further along Lower Wharf Street. Eli Whalley's was the last to close.
A close-up of the blue plaque can be seen here.
See Google Street View of this location.
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"Donkey Stone" is a contribution to ABC Wednesday. For more "D" posts from around the world please follow this link.