24 April 2014

Donkey Stones in Ashton-under-Lyne

This building is on Lower Wharf Road close to the B6170 on the outskirts of Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, and has an interesting history.

The firm of Eli Whalley, the last mass producer of donkey stones
in the country, closed early in 1979 and was based here
at Donkey Stone Wharf.

Donkey stones are scouring stones, named after the trade-mark
of one of the earliest firms, Reads of Manchester,
and were cream, brown and white.

Originally used to put a non-slip surface on greasy
stone staircases in the mills of Lancashire and Yorkshire and later
by proud housewives, who made stoning the front door step
a form of decoration and competition.

Eli Whalley's trade-mark, the "lion-brand", impressed
on the stones was taken from a photograph of
a live specimen in Belle Vue Zoo.'

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