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West Riding
Glasshouse Mill in North Yorkshire, England.JPG
Glasshouse Mill
Grid reference: SE175645
Location: 54°4’35"N, 1°43’54"W
Population: 536  (2019 est.)
Post town: Harrogate
Postcode: HG3
Dialling code: 01423
Local Government
Council: North Yorkshire
Skipton and Ripon

Glasshouses is a small village in Nidderdale, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The village is a mile south-east of Pateley Bridge on the east side of Nidderdale and has a recently rebuilt river bridge across the River Nidd. In 2019 it had an estimated population of 536.


Records about Glasshouses stretch as far back as 1386 and the name of the village is believed to mean simply a place where glass was made. Whilst there is no firm evidence of this, it was believed that glass for Fountains Abbey was made here.[1] In the 16th century, lead was mined to the west and transported to the hamlet of Wilsill (east of Glasshouses) for smelting and onward transportation.[2]

The old twine mill, on the banks of the Nidd, was constructed between 1812 and 1814. The mill was used to produce flax, then hemp and latterly, rope. Local rumour has it that the mill supplied rope to the White Star Line and most notably, Glasshouse rope was used on the Titanic.[3] When the railway was opened in the valley, it was used to transport coal into the millworks to provide additional power other than that made by the waterwheel.[4] In 1830, a milldam was built on the northern bank of the River Nidd and a millrace was added at the same time. The dam still exists and is capable of storing 10,000,000.0 s (0.0 s) of water.[5] The dam is not used to power a waterwheel anymore, but is used for recreational purposes; fishing, skating in winter and water sports in summer.[6][7]

The mill was built by the Metcalfe family, who sold the business in 1907 after financial trouble. The mill continued until 1972 when production ceased and it was occupied by numerous small businesses.[8] In 2017, it was announced that the building would be converted into housing.[3][9]

The Metcalfe family were also responsible for building the school in 1861.[10] The building still stands and now operates as the village primary school.

Whilst the Nidd Valley Railway went right through the village, no station was built in Glasshouses. The mill and gas works complex shared a siding, primarily for the inward transportation of coal.[11]


There is a public house, The Birch Tree Inn, on the main Harrogate to Pateley Bridge road just outside the village in the neighbouring hamlet of Wilsill.[12]

May day is celebrated every year with traditional May Pole dancing and the crowning of the 'May Queen' on the village green.[13]

About the village

The long-distance walk, the Six Dales Trail, runs through the village.[14]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Glasshouses)


  1. Glasshouses CACA 2007, p. 3.
  2. Speight 1906, p. 453.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hill, Nick (29 March 2017). "Historic Yorkshire Dales mill to be transformed into residential scheme". Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  4. Goodall, Ian; Giles, Colum (1992). Yorkshire textile mills : the buildings of the Yorkshire textile industry 1770-1930. London: H.M.S.O.. pp. 3–15. ISBN 9780113000388. 
  5. Glasshouses CACA 2007, p. 14.
  6. Scholes, Ron (2006). Yorkshire Dales (2 ed.). Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Landmark. p. 168. ISBN 1-84306-209-7. 
  7. "Circular route in Nidderdale taking in folly". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  8. "Walking: Nidderdale at its glorious best". Yorkshire Evening Post. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  9. National Heritage List 1391973: Glasshouses Mill (Grade II listing)
  10. Speight 1906, p. 473.
  11. Chapman, Stephen (2011). Harrogate & Wetherby. Bellcode. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-1871233-24-7. 
  12. "The Glasshouse at The Birch Tree Inn, Wilsill". Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  13. "Glasshouses". Ripon Gazette. 8 May 2007. 
  14. "Six Dales Trail - LDWA Long Distance Paths". Retrieved 8 September 2017.