M is for Mitchell

According to the 1911 census Springhill House was occupied by Robert John Howorth Mitchell, together with his wife and three servants.

Mitchell gave his age as 30 in 1911 and occupation as ‘Director, felt and woollen works’. His firm was originally Mitchell Brothers, felt manufacturers. In 1904 they merged with similar firms owned by Ashworth and Stansfield to form MASCO (Mitchell Ashworth Stansfield Co Ltd), a well known Rossendale felt manufacturers. Initially involved in carpet making, the extended into draught insulation, pads to minimise vibration (apparently used on the Tube) and, latterly, seat belts for motor vehicles.

He also inherited land in the Barley and Wheetley Booth areas north of Burnley and was prosecuted in 1913 for failing to maintain a highway. Given the number of local residents amerced in the C16 for failing to maintain highways (see ‘J is for Jordan’), Mitchell appears to have kept up a fine local tradition...

In 1923 he inherited some GWR shares and in the entry of probates for GWR the address ’Spring Hill, Cloughfold’ is crossed out and replaced by ‘Great Rissington Hill, Bourton on the Water, Glous.’

Mitchell’s father was also Robert J H Mitchell of Springfield House, one of two Springfield Houses less than a mile away from Springhill, in opposite directions. Mitchell senior was a ‘yarn dyer’ in 1881 and ‘felt carpet manufacturer’ in 1901. He was one of the ‘Mitchell Brothers’ whose firm amalgamated as above. Two gentlemen of the same name in houses of very similar names less than a mile apart ... recipe for confusion surely.