Art School.



In 1985 Rylands Mill became an annexe to Wigan Technical College and became better known as the Pagefield Building until closure in 2007. After High School I attended art school here. The open spaces provided ample room for busy energetic art students who buzzed around the echoing corridors and vast open spaces. The top right image is an area art students called no mans land, in my second year it was partitioned into working areas for art students to work on their art projects and exhibit work. I look back on my art college days with great fondness, I was busy every day, painting, sketching, sculpting, designing and discovering myself. Unlike high school I excelled in art college, my art work stood out and I loved every minute of every day here, although I found Art History a chore because it required endless research and essay writing which encroached on the time I could have spent creating.


In 2007 when Pagefield closed its doors the art school had already moved to a new purpose built school and the old mill was left empty once more. It became abandoned and abused by vandals and stood in the decay until it suffered the consequences of arson in 2017.


Abandoned architecture remind us that everything can fall apart, and photos of its decay capture the last traces of stories that soon will be entirely forgotten, but today I am remembering Ryland Mill with great fondness and happiness it brought me as an art student in the days it was better known as Pagefield.




History of the Mill: In 1819, Rylands & Sons were established with their seat of operations being in Wigan.

John, the youngest partner, occupied himself with travelling over several counties for orders until 1823, when he opened a warehouse for the firm in Manchester. Business increased rapidly, and in the course of a few years extensive properties at Wigan, along with dye works and bleach works, were purchased. Valuable seams of coal were afterwards discovered under these properties, and proved a great source of wealth to the purchasers.

From 1847, John Rylands became sole proprietor of the company owing to the death of his father and retirement of his brothers around 1839. Designed by George Woodhouse in 1866, Rylands Mill was built and had served the local population for work until the overall demise of the textile industry had taken it's toll across the country.


In 1985 Rylands Mill became an annexe to Wigan Technical College and became better known as the Pagefield Building until closure in 2007 and in 2017 the old mill was subject to arson.


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