Jabez Bancroft..."The Wrecker"....part 2

Keighley News - 17th January 1931

I wrote an article some time ago about a Jabez Bancroft [1854-1933], who led a very interesting life in his home town of Keighley, and I recently came across more information about him, including the above photograph of him taken from the Keighley News in 1931.

Early in 1931 one of the worst mill fires to hit Keighley broke out inside the 111ft four story high Mantra Mill, then under the ownership of W & J Bairstow, who ran it as a corn mill. With there being a large amounts of combustible material throughout the building, the fire left it as a complete burnt out shell. The only outcome was to demolish the mill. This caused a bit of a problem because behind the mill stood a water tank which weighed ten tonnes and it was sat on top of an 80ft stone tower and nobody seems to of had any idea on how to deal with it.... that is until Jabez Bancroft a local metal and demolition expert arrived. He had a very simple solution with the aid of just one assistant. His plan was simple, and with a wire rope and winch he pulled the water tank down off its footings, and he then proceeded to blow up the remaining tower with dynamite.

The ten ton water tank pulled to the ground

All this must have been the talk of the town at the time, and no doubt did Jabez’s reputation no end of good as a demolition expert. Goodness knows what it would have done to his reputation if it had all gone wrong!

Shortly after the demolition, plans were drawn up to replace the corn mill with a new building originally called 'Mantra House', which still stand to this day, although now it is divided into many small working units.

Architect's drawing - the new 'Mantra House'

 Jabez life is explained in much more details in my previous article, which can be read by clicking HERE

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