P h o t o B l o g

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Escape Ladders

"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.

(Click photo for larger version. Press Back button to return here.)

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.
Please leave a comment below.


  1. Excellent choice for E day. Fire escapes are so very necessary.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Very original post today. Haven't seen another one like it. Thank goodness for the escape ladders.

  3. Always want to know how to EXIT!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. Do you think the ladders are still safe?

  5. There's a certain pattern and design about escape ladders that fascinates me. I think we call them Fire Escapes over here. I haven't heard the words escape ladders for years.

  6. The bottom flight was often hinged for ground level clearance and security reasons.
    Apart from the cotton fibres - the oily wooden floors were also a significant fire hazard.

  7. Very unique photo, and a great choice for ABC Wed. Letter "E".

    I must admit, the only escape ladders I recall seeing is in the action movies when someone is trying to escape the police. :)

  8. I have always admired those old black escape ladders there is just something about them

  9. Excellent E post! Exiting a building on one of these could be exhilerating.

    On behalf of the ABC Wednesday Team, thanks for playing along with us this week. Hope to see you join us next week too!


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