White Cross Mill

The canal brought coal and raw cotton which fuelled the growth of steam-powered textile mills all along the canal banks. White Cross Mill is the oldest mill in the City. It was originally built as a spinning factory in 1802 and was the first mill in Lancaster to use steam power. The ‘Old’ mill is located beside the canal with the ‘New’ fireproofed mill built at right angles to it.

Black and white photo of White Cross Mill from under bridge White Cross Mill, Lancaster Canal

David Gowers worked in White Cross Mill as an engineer until its closure in 1981. It converted to making oil cloth in 1856, and pioneered the printing of wallpaper on huge etched circular drums. It also made that Blue Peter favourite sticky-back plastic, as well as vinyl car seats and pond liners.

David describes the day in 1969 when tragedy struck.

Last date edited: 17 July 2015