The four-storey building, the rear of which overlooked Coronation Street, had previously been Hardcastle's Mill, a one-time centre of employment in Weatherfield which had been hit hard by the Depression and closed in 1931. In 1932, Councillor Jack Elliston bought the old mill and refurbished it, installing sewing machines, wireless tannoys and a canteen in 1936. As many of the local residents had lost their jobs and were desperate for work, the opening of the factory was seen as their salvation and although Elliston was sympathetic he insisted on only employing one person per family.
The factory survived the Depression and in World War II production was changed to making service uniforms for the military. In the years that followed, Elliston's remained a key employer in the community, with many young girls going to work there after leaving school.
In 1966, Jack Elliston died, and his son Jocky Elliston took over the business. Due to the popularity of PVC clothing, Jocky changed the output of the factory to plastic coats and hats, and hiring a new supply of machinists to weld. Day-to-day management of the factory fell to Jack Benjamin, who did not give the machinists sufficient training and was sacked when the output was therefore substandard. Facing an investigation by the Council and lacking the drive of his father, Jocky Elliston sold the unit to the council and closed the factory in 1968. It was demolished shortly afterwards.
The factory was also home to the Viaduct Sporting Club, an outlet owned by theatrical agent Laurie Frazer and operated in Elliston's basement in 1964. Elliston's was also the site of an attempted suicide in 1962 when machinist Christine Hardman climbed on the roof, intending to jump off to her death. She was talked down by Ken Barlow.
A block of Maisonettes were built in the spot formerly occupied by Elliston's factory following its demolition.
- The rarely-seen factory was not part of the indoor Coronation Street set. When scenes were to be shown on the factory roof in Episode 156, the former County Municipal School immediately next to the Granada studios and office block was used to represent Elliston's, with other characters looking up from the set to present the illusion of the factory being opposite the terraces. The first view of the factory in Episode 14 (25th January 1961) showed the full name of the factory as "H & J Elliston Ltd".
List of factory staff
- Sheila Birtles
- Christine Hardman
- Mary Hewitt
- Joyce Lennox
- Doreen Lostock
- Audrey Plant
- Jean Stark
- Joan Akers