Uppermill is the largest village in the district of Saddleworth which comprises several villages and hamlets on the West side of the Pennine hills. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, for centuries, Saddleworth was a centre of domestic woolen cloth production. Following the industrial revolution it became involved with cotton spinning and weaving and the small basic mills were replaced with large mechanised industrial buildings.
A number of these mills have now been converted for residential use.
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was constructed to provide a transport link for this local industry and was completed in 1811 when the Standedge Canal Tunnel was opened. It is the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in the country, As railways came into prominence and the canal traffic declined, three further railway tunnels were constructed through the hills.
The impressive Uppermill railway viaduct is an outstanding feature of the local landscape crossing over the canal a few minutes walk from Cloggers Cottage
The canal gradually fell into disuse and was legally abandoned in 1944 and over the years parts were infilled and even built over in Huddersfield and Stalybridge. The Huddersfield Canal Society was formed in 1974 and started an energetic and ultimately successful campaign which led to the re-opening of the canal to navigation in 2001.
Cloggers Cottage is situated next to Cloggers Knoll Bridge over the canal. It was built in 1816 by John Wood, together with the adjoining properties in Spring Gardens. Where the canalside terrace is now, two further cottages were built and became John Wood’s workshop where he made boots and clogs. One of them was converted into an ale house, known as the Clogger’s Arms, catering for the canal trade from 1841. In 1870, when trade had declined, the licence and name were transferred to a newly opened public house on Lee Street near the Civic Hall. This public house also closed early in the 21st century and has since been converted to housing.
In 1939 the two cottages were condemned as unfit for human habitation and a closure order was placed on them by Saddleworth Urban District Council.
The cottages remained empty until 1957 when the council finally demolished them and much of the stone fell into the canal.
This resulted in British Rail, as owners of the canal, claiming damages for loss of water. The present owner can testify to the accuracy of this tale as a large quanitity of stone was recovered from the canal banking and canal itself and used to build the garage and canalside hut.
Over the past few years Cloggers Cottage has been imaginatively converted and furnished. The owners have planned every detail combining features such as the beamed ceilings with 21st century comforts and amenities.