• Martin Holden

The Crumbling Rylands Mill

It's always very sad when fantastic buildings are left to decay and fall apart and unfortunately, Wigan has seen its fair share of these over the years.

The Council comes in for some harsh criticism and in some cases, I would agree with that, but in the main, the buildings that have been lost were in private control and there is very little that anyone can do to force a private owner to keep the building in good condition.

Rylands Mill is a prime example of such a tragedy.

Nestled next to Mesnes Park, it has provided many different occupiers with a solid and often spectacular base for their enterprises, but it has been vacant now for approaching 15 years and the work of the vandals and the pyromaniacs has taken its toll.

You could once access the entrance from some stone steps from the park

These days, those steps are overgrown and full of old leaves, branches, and brambles shoot out their prickly arms to any legs walking by.

Protection is needed to keep the public safe, so these days there is a huge metal mesh fence surrounding the structure and its grounds.

The impressive brick and stonework of the original mill is still evident on the facade of the building and from a distance, it does not look too bad.

However, as you climb the overgrown steps and trudge through the mud to the fence itself, a whole new world opens up to view.

And it's a grim world.

The newer part of the building, which stands out from the old mill is open to the elements and the old internal staircases are now external rusty staircases, boarded up in parts, but pretty much accessible to anyone who get over, under, or through the fence.

The old mill is pretty much the same, but you can hear the drip of water through the open roof, burned away in one of the many fires over the last decade. The levels of damp are off the scale and it looks like it could fall over at any point.

The yards and parking spots outside are just covered in rubbish and debris.

There were plans to convert the building into apartments, but it is hard to see how this existing structure would be sound enough for that process to begin.

The future looks grim for this old Mill unless some miracle takes place, but right now Wigan is stuck with this crumbling eyesore.

Such a shame.

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