In 1917 after having been in disuse for some time the chimney of the company brickworks at Rakehead was pulled down. The chimney had
reached a height of 114 feet and was constructed from some 90,000 bricks and had been in use for about 13 years. The brickworks was at the
time owned by Thomas Ratcliffe. Henry Heys & Co moved from Brandwood to Britannia in 1919. Thomas Ratcliffe was working Lee Quarry, in
1919 and was summoned to appear in court for storing explosives illegally. He was storing over 8 tons in three different places, in a matter of
150 yards radius near to Holts sidings which can be seen in the photograph above which was taken at the time of Thomas Ratcliffe working
Lee Quarry. He was fined £20.00. The quarrymen shown in the second picture above are clearing the quarry floor. The large quarryman is
probably the "lumper - up" he would wield the large quarry hammer.
The same year Thomas Ratcliffe
applied for a license as old metal
dealer, and submitted plans for
alterations to Springbank Farm
which were approved. Others
working Lee in 1920 was W Lovick
& Co and at this time they placed
and advert for six quarrymen
masons @ 2/6d per hour. In 1924
Thomas Ratcliffe was killed in a
shot firing explosion, born at
Shuttleworth near Edenfield he had
spent nearly all of his life in Bacup.
His father was James Ratcliffe, and
at the time of his death he left a
widow, four sons, two daughters
and twelve grandchildren and was
survived by four brothers and four
sisters. In 1926 the firm became a
limited company Thomas Ratclife
Ltd was registered on the 16th
October 1826.At this time donkey
stones were still in use by many
housewives and Ratcliffes had a
donkey stone plant at Lee quarry
siding. By 1827 Thomas Ratcliffe
Ltd owned a tract of land from the
River Irwell, including Height Barn
Moss as well as the Lee Quarry
area but did not own Greens moor.
By 1930 Thomas Ratcliffes had
purchased three steam wagons,
but they still employed horses to
move stone wagons up and down
the quarry. By 1939 Ratcliffes had
moved to the East of Lee quarries.
Castleton Sand & Gravel Quarries
took over the old firm of Thomas
Ratcliffe in 1956/57.
The quarries were in general at
their most active during the late
Victorian era. Rossendale stone
was widely used in the many
buildings of Rossendale and many
paving stones came from local
quarries. Following the Great War
many of the quarrymen were
reluctant to return to the primitive
working conditions on the hillsides
surround Britannia, Bacup and
Stacksteads, and refused to work
for the lower wages that they had
previously worked for before the
war. Added to the rising costs of
transport these new demands from
the returning quarrymen led to the
decline of many of the smaller
quarries in and around Bacup.
The first stone cutting was done by hand.Whilst the first mechanical saws were made of timber and powered by a water wheel. Many of the
quarries used standard or narrow gauge rail transport to transport the stone from their quarries. Some of the Locomotives used in the various
quarries were. Lymm which is shown in the picture below at Brandwood owned by Henry Heys & Co. This was engine number 452 and was built
by the Hunslet Engineering Company of Leeds in 1888. It was purchases by T Walker the contractor for the Manchester ship canal along with
170 more engines and was scrapped in 1959. Minnie shown right Herbert, Prince Of Wales, Buffalo Bill, Lymm, Shanter, Brooks & Brooks
Locos.Jumbo, Scotsman, Ant, James, Tom and Angel. Richard Siddall., Harlequin.Others used Shamrock , Bessy, Alice and Nancy.
Henry Heys was fondly known as "Old Harry" and was apparently unable to read or write and yet he was able to calculate by a method
that no-one else understood exactly how many yards of stone would be needed to build/finish a mill or chimney. Such a thing occurred at
India Mill when one morning the owner Edward Hoyle met Henry and his friend Richard Siddall in the yard. When asked by Edward what
he was doing Henry replied that as they had a couple of hours to spare he thought he would come and measure up. Edward Hoyle's
surveyor who was also present stared in astonishment at Mr Heys and replied that it would take at least three weeks to do such
measurements. " Ill bet thee four Baggins it doesn't "replied Henry at which point he told Richard to write down the measurements and
again his method proved to be correct. Henry supplied the engine beds for Olive Mill, Ilex Mill and Rawtenstall Mill all at the same time.
Another story is told as to how Henry used his favourite horse " Old Rig " to get the stone out of the quarry at Rakehead using his carter, a
bunch of burly quarrymen and ropes to hold back the wagon on the steep road. Henry came to Stacksteads from Higher Cockham Farm
Helmshore about 1848, he was one of the first to bring steel wedges and tackle into use at his quarries. In 1870 Brandwood quarry was
owned and occupied by Henry Heys and was described as having a boiler house one storey in height, a rubbing mill, with two tables in a
building of one storey. One chimney 18 yards in height. One railway line siding of one line. Also at this time Brandwood was worked by
Butterworth & Brooks.
At the time of his death Henry Heys owned quarries at Brandwood, Facit, and Hambeldon, his sons became the owners. Eleven years
after his death the company Messrs Henry Heys and Sons bought the brickworks formerly belonging to the County Brick & Tile Co
Rakehead. In 1902 the eldest son of Henry Heys died and a limited company was formed Henry Heys and Co Ltd. The Chairman of the
Company Alderman James Heys of Greens House died in 1914. The same year his son John Hardman Heys passed his law examinations.
Richard Siddall first became a tenant then owner of quarries at Lee, Law Head, and Greens Moor. His quarry supplied stone for the building of
the reservoir at Clow Bridge. Richard Siddall was friend with Henry Heys but did not start in the quarry business until twenty years after Heys.
Cowm Top quarry was also worked by Richard Siddall and a quarry rail line ran from Siddalls Greens Moor quarry over the hill to Cowm Top.
Richard Siddall died in 1898 and the firm was carried on by his sons James and Henry
Today looking out over what once was Brandwood Quarry it is quite pleasing to the eye and is described as "A former quarry now reclaimed to
provide pleasant walks". A far cry away now from the days when there must have been nothing at all pleasant about working in Brandwood or any
other Quarry in the area. Many wife's and mothers had the quarries to thank for putting bread on the table and food in their children's mouths but
equally they also took many husbands and fathers to early graves