Atlas Mills in Bolton were, their heyday, one of the largest concentrations of cotton spinning capacity on one site in the country, with over 400,000 spindles in use and some 2,000 people employed.

An artist's view of Atlas mills in the 1890's showing five separate chimneys, each of which was associated with a boiler and beam engine for each mill. Most of the beam engines were replaced in 1903 when two large inverted vertical engines, built by John Musgrave and Co, were installed. However one of the beam engines remained until the mills closed in the early 1960's

an aerial view of Atlas Mills in the 1920s, showing the various cooling
ponds ("lodges") for the steam engine condensing water

In the late 1890's the Musgrave Spinning Company decided to build a central warehouse to store the bales of raw cotton before they were required for processing into yarn. An amazing 7,000 bales of cotton could be stored at any one time. It is this building that forms the premises for the new museum.

After closure of our old museum for demolition, all the engine components were delivered by a contractor in 1991 and the Society's volunteers set about rebuilding the engines.

The two views below show part of the interior of the museum as it is today after 20 year's work by the volunteers. The engines stand on solid concrete foundations but there is space underneath the main floor where the engine exhaust pipes and water drains are installed, well out of the way of the visiting public, so that there is completely level access to all the engines.

view on the north side

view on the south side