the cotton mill era in Lancashire - Satanic Mills is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


New Member
As mentioned in my original post, we were honoured to have this layout donated to us. All we did was fix the damage caused by Cockroaches and Rodents. The damage was confined to cardboard and paper structures only. The Metcalfe buildings were hit the hardest. Please note that we recently saw another model railway containing Metcalfe buildings. all of which had pretty serious Cockroach or Silverfish damage.

From what I've been able to find in the builder's notes, the backdrop is photo taken at Oldham by the builder, printed at a sign shop and glued to an aluminium base. Everything was then laminated. (Maybe the photo was laminated first.)

We were also interested to see how the photo had been manipulated. On very close examination, one notices that all the chimney's are emitting smoke, something you wouldn't see today. It's obvious that the author has airbrushed the misty look over the photo, possibly with a very light grey wash. The airbrushing does get heavier towards the top creating the illusion of depth.

I've included a couple photos, one residential, one industrial. Note, the damage on the chimney was just grud, which we just brushed off. The back scene is very robust.




Well-Known Member
This is fantastic, I was in awe at the original photos posted. The coal facility is probably the most realistic I have ever seen modeled. (and in N gauge)
I could look at those pictures for hours studying the details.

I was very happy to see this layout has found a new home and the former owner is able to see it brought back to its glory. JohnK - keep us updated on the progress.


Active Member
The Satanic Mills are not mills on the Satanic river.....the term comes from William Blakes poem protesting the effects of the early industrial age in 19th century England. The hymn "Jerusalem" is based on Blake's poem set to music. It is almost cliché in England these days as a patriotic piece. It was sung at both William and Kates and Harry and Meghan's royal weddings.


New Member
Yes, I discovered all that during my research, however the owner, not I named it Satanic Mills. There are a million model railways out there named after something they're not. This is just one of them.

Red Oak & Western

Active Member
I looked to see if you referenced your title in any of your posts. Seeing the mill reminded me of my favorite line from the BBC's adaption of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South: Margaret Hale after touring a cotton mill: "I think God has forsaken this place. I believe I have seen hell, and it is white."


New Member
A couple of comments:

@Kevin, as I said in earlier posts the name was coined by the owner. The control panels on the layout are labeled "Owdham Central" and I never did get to ask the owner why he used Owdham instead of Oldham. I'd never heard of Oldham or the phrase Satanic Mills until we were donated the layout.

For all members who are interested: The Club made a decision when we first received the layout that we would try to keep it as close as possible to the original. Some Metcalfe buildings have been discontinued, so I rebuilt the shops (right top), the hotel below the shops was originally kitbashed and we replaced it with a Metcalfe pub. One of the terraces was beyond repair so we replaced that with another Metcalfe pub and the large central mill was redesigned. All we're currently doing is adding trees, cars and lots of people. The taxis and army Land Rovers are simple plaster casts, but they look great.

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