The Collapse of Islington Mill, 1824

Less than one year after its original construction, Islington Mill suffered an internal structural collapse on 13 October 1824, causing the deaths of eighteen mill workers. The collapse was the subject of our largest heritage research project to date, entitled ‘A Dreadful Accident’ after a contemporary newspaper headline. This page gathers together some of the historical research and artistic materials generated by ‘A Dreadful Accident’. Click on the images or the text links below to discover more.



Essay: A ‘Dreadful Accident’
A thorough look at the Salford of the 1820s, the rise and fall of Islington Mill, and our research into the eighteen workers.

Who died in the collapse?
A summary of the eighteen dead, based on the most up-to-date and verified research and documentation.

Mapping the history of Islington Mill
Historic maps chart the changing terrain of Salford, including an interactive map showing where some of our mill workers lived and were buried.

Memorial Quilt by Sarah-Joy Ford
Textile artist Sarah-Joy Ford created a memorial quilt for the eighteen workers.

Memorial Dress by Astarte Cara
Artist Astarte Cara created a dress that memorialises the loss of young life in Manchester, from both our recent and historic past.

Memorial Film
A short film and audio recital of the workers’ memorial, artist and research sharing event held in October 2021, by LGBTV.

Music of the 1820s
A selection of music from the 1820s which we played at our Heritage engagement events. A mixture of folk ballads, Protestant church music, and classical/orchestral pieces.

Lonnie Holley pays tribute to the workers
Visiting artist Lonnie Holley produces an on-the-spot artistic tribute to the accident victims in this film from 2013.