Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quordon, Leicestershire

Windows and webs

This building in the Leicestershire village of Quorndon was built in the 19th century on the site of an older flour mill. In early the 19th century lace and cotton items were made on this site, but after the arrival of mill owner Michael Wright in 1860, the mill produced elasticated webbing – the strong, flat strips of material used in a variety of fields from furnishing to military kit.

The demand for this material increased hugely during World War I, when the factory employed some 2000 workers. Webbing production continued through World War II, when the factory was still the major employer in the village. Its large windows must have made for just the kind of light, bright interior that the textile industry required and that so often makes textile mills far from dark or satanic.

The company still operates in Quordon, but at a smaller more modern site. Recently the old mill building has been converted to apartments and the top floor and the tall chimney have been removed. Even with these alterations, the warm red brick walls and large round-headed windows make the former mill an impressive focal point in the centre of the village, and the water is an evocative reminder of the era before the steam engine transformed industry.

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