Charles Moran left school aged 15 without any qualifications to become a panel beater. He subsequently became the founder and MD of the world's 4th largest explosive demolition company, the Yorkshire-based Controlled Demolition Group. Following the sale of the business Charles decided that rather than knock things down he would turn his attentions instead to restoring a local eye-sore derelict mill which he regularly passed by.
Woodhouse Mill in Todmorden was badly fire-damaged in the 1990’s and had no roof, a collapsed gable wall, while the 3 remaining walls were slowly falling into the adjoining Rochdale canal. The Grade II listed, 5 storey mill, built in 1832, was on the Listed Buildings at Risk register. Charles purchased the building in 2001 for circa £30,000 and set about turning it into 20 contemporary apartments. Using local labour Moran employed a team of 30 men on site, including six stonemasons who repaired cracked lintels and restored other original features.
Initially an extensive steel girder framework needed to be assembled inside the building to reinforce the remaining structure, together with 50 concrete supports for added strength. A series of external ‘bulls-eye’ wall anchor plates tie the walls to the steel skeleton. Extensive work needed to be undertaken to strengthen the foundations while original architectural features such as cast-iron pillars were retained within the building. Special attention had also to be paid to acoustic dampening to stop noise transfer between apartments. The mill was fully restored by 2002