The four-storey building was built over the old Barton mine, on landspace rented to Charles Hardcastle by Sir Humphrey Swinton. Hardcastle put his son Matthew in charge of the work at the mill while he took care of his empire, which included seven weaving sheds, a dyeworks, a warehouse, a tailoring factory and a factory school. Children as young as eight were employed at the mill (including a young Ena Schofield) and full-time workers put in daily thirteen hour shifts.
In 1900, Hardcastle put his biggest scheme yet into action: the building of two new streets behind the mill, to house his workers. These were Mawdsley Street and Albert Street, renamed Coronation Street on its completion in 1902.
The long hours at the mill were often dangerous. In 1904 John Matthews was killed in an industrial accident. Seven years later, in 1911, foreman Fred Piggott called the workers on strike in lieu of better working conditions and higher pay. Factory and mill owners across the country were reaping the benefits of the mine closures and strike action was rife, bringing Weatherfield to a halt. After months of industrial action, Hardcastle settled with the workers and agreed to give them basic pay.
On Charles Hardcastle's death in 1926, Matthew took charge of his factories. Lower demand for cotton combined with Matthew's bad business sense spelled doom for the mill and in 1931 it closed down, putting many of Coronation Street's residents out of work at a time when the country was facing one of its biggest financial crises.
The building was bought over by Jack Elliston a year later and became Elliston's Raincoat Factory.
List of factory staff
- Mary Obsourne
- Ena Schofield
- John Matthews
- Fred Piggott
- Nellie Preston
- Alfred Tatlock
- Albert Tatlock
- Bessie Tatlock