David Whitehead and Sons Ltd

Partnership between Davis, Thomas and Peter Whitehead created in 1815 under the name of Thomas Whitehead and Brothers, they set up as spinners at Balladen Brook Mill. After a difficult start and an injection of further funding from a relative the company grew. In 1822 the brothers decided to build their own mill on land in Rawtenstall. Two years later Higher Mill was operational using machinery from their previous mill and from Bridgend Mills.

The growth of the company was hindered due to the protests against the mechanisation of the textile industry. Various mills in Lancashire suffered at the hand of the loom-wreckers, Thomas Whitehead and Brothers amongst them. Although there was a great deal of disruption the company continued and in 1830 the company started a merchants business with Thomas Kay and David Lacy. This continued until 1844 when Mr Kay wanted to start a store selling groceries, the partnership was wound up in 1844.

In 1857 Thomas Whitehead and Brothers dissolved as a partnership. The various mills and properties owned by the company were divided up and David Whitehead took on Lower Mill and the Holly Mount Estate. David Whitehead took his five sons into partnership with him as David Whitehead & Sons, Lower Mills. In 1892 the company was formed into a private limited company. The early part of the twentieth century was a period of consolidation for the company, along with the improving of mill machinery and engines.