With records back to the year 1773 the Little Green Dye Works of Collyhurst Wood on the outskirts of Manchester is one of the ancient industrial sites in England for the making of paints and dye solutions.
The Earl of Derby granted rights for the use of the site as a ''house producing colours'' in the 18th century. Joshua Rowlands the earliest identifiable proprietor of the works led the development of traditional paints for domestic and Industrial use, following the experience of making dye solutions for the cotton trade.
At the confluence of the rivers Irk and Irwell the site's popularity over the centuries was the ready source of fast flowing clean water from the Pennines. This natural resource was used for both motive force to power the paint grinding stones and as a valuable clean ingredient incorporated into the products.
The early paints would have been based on natural resins and pigments, similar in many ways to those used by the great artists of old. The development of synthetic compounds for the colouring of materials during the 19th century provided faster and more efficient production; however many of them were proven not to be as safe or as good as the ones they replaced. We now use many of the materials used in the past for the preparation of the very high quality paints we make today - something Joshua Rowlands would have been amused about and proud of.