Dalton Mills was once the largest textile mill in the region, employing more than 2,000 workers. It was built by Joseph Craven in 1869 and replaced the original mill, which was owned by Rachel Leach in the 1780s. The mill was named after a man called Dalton, the manager employed by Rachel Leach. In its heyday between 1869 and 1877 the mill provided jobs for workers all over Keighley and the Worth Valley. As the textile industry declined the fortunes of Dalton Mills changed and up until 2004 it had been virtually empty for almost a decade. John Craven, the great-great grandson of Joseph who had built the mill, eventually chose to sell Dalton Mills to ensure its survival. Part of the renovation of the clock tower has included restarting the impressive clock, which has not ticked for 25 years. In the mill’s prime thousands of workers relied on the clock to get to work on time, but the hands had not moved for a quarter of a century. The clock has since been repaired, so it can display the time to the whole of Dalton Lane again. (daltonmills.co.uk). The partially restored mill, which had a starring role as Marlborough Mills in the BBC adaptation of North and South,
suffered a devastating fire in January 2011. The blaze, which wrecked a derelict wing of the mill, was confirmed as being the result of an arson attack by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.