Sunday 18 April 2010

Silk Mill

This photo was taken from Exeter Bridge looking down to the site of the Lombe brothers' Silk Mill, now somewhat overwhelmed by the very new Jury's Inn. When Thomas Lombe died in 1739, the building was sold to Richard Wilson of Leeds and his partners William and Samuel Lloyd, both London merchants. It continued in silk production until around 1908, when it was taken over by F.W. Hampshire and Company, the Chemists. They used the premises to make fly papers and cough medicines - a bit of a come-down from silk!

Then, in 1910, disaster struck! The adjacent flour mill, belonging to Sowter Brothers, caught fire. The blaze spread rapidly and soon, the Silk Mill was alight. The east wall collapsed and fell into the river, while the remainder of the building was gutted. Only the foundations and the shell of the bell tower remained. Following this, the mill was rebuilt at the same height but with three storeys instead of the original five, and that is how it remains today.

The building is no longer in use as a factory, but is now home to the Derby Industrial Museum.

In front of the Silk Mill is the newly built swing bridge, which I mentioned in one of my earliest posts; . (The Mill itself is in the photograph from that post.) At the time, I said that I had not met anyone who had crossed the bridge, but I'm delighted to say that I now know three people who have! One of them was Mark, my son, who told me he'd been across with some college friends, "Just because it's there". The other two were myself and an 'out of town' friend who wanted to see the city. We walked across, turned round and walked back because, frankly, unless you happen to live in one of the houses at the far end, there's nowhere else much to go.

Post script plea: The only way I know how to link back to one of my previous blog posts is to insert the whole url, but I know that there is a better way. Please could anybody educate me?

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