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Report - Tone Mills Dye works Feb 2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Treadstone, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Treadstone

    Treadstone 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Mookster and I had this planned weeks ahead. The day dawned with the temperature at -10 and I was all staying in the warm. An exchange of texts... he proposed delaying the decision for an hour or so which turned out to be a good call. Later than with that beautiful light you get on freezing day we pointed the car towards Somerset.
    I said to Mookster as we were getting back in the car afterwards his suggestion of waiting was one of the best he'd made in the couple of years I've been playing his chauffeur. It turned out to be one of the best explores I’ve done – one of those where you step through a door way and go “Holy cow, where do I point the camera firstâ€
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    A quick tip of the hat is also due to Styru : who appeared out of nowhere and having scared the crap out of me for a moment, joined us for a bit, and proved to be at least as good a chap in person as he on-line; some useful background details, and “make sure you look there†advice was most welcome.
    The main mill was being converted into homes I did a quick reccie on my way back from the far south west in Autumn of 2010, and the credit crunch had put a stop to work then an it hasn't restarted.
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    Fox Brothers was a company which once employed 5000 in 9 mills (As a great piece of trivia Foxes started a bank in 1787, and they issued their own bank notes, new and merged banks in England and Wales lost the ability to do that in 1844, and gradually all the issuers died out. Foxes was the very last one to go merging with Lloyds in 1921).
    You might think that the whole business had vanished off the face of the earth: but driving away we saw the current premises. Perhaps then the name survives but they make cloth off shore? Actually no, though much smaller than its heyday it is now owned by Deborah Meaden from Dragon’s den (according to their Wikipedia page she grew up nearby and her husband was at school with members of the Fox family). It continues to make cloth in Wellington from British wool, and supplies premium tailors – including a lot of Saville Row.
    The finishing works building is listed and the listing says it was in use up to the 1990’s and disused when inspected in 2000, and it is “a near- complete example of a C19 cloth dyeing and finishing works, which developed between c.1830 and c.1920. It retains all of the component structures associated with the dyeing and finishing of worsted and woollen cloths, together with the machinery and fittings required for those processes Tone Works in its present form is an exceptional survival in a national context, not only for the completeness of the building complex , but also for the survival of its machinery, water management system and power generation plant.†Styru told us it had suffered at the hands of pikeys, certainly the Power generation plant seems to be gone but what survives is worth the journey.

    Mookster as usual, had his pictures up first :-) so here are the more artsy fartsy ones I did....

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    A panoramic stitch of the outside. You can see the twin tanks on the left quite clearly in aerial photos. The chimney is in of the South part of the works which have their own listing, and still seem to be in use.
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    Lots of fascinating details - this was almost the first picture I shot.

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    There were these bound journals of chemicals and dying lying abandoned and rain damaged

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    Some of the vats still had cloth going into them

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    Nature was starting to reclaim others

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    Treadstone's first law : There's always a fire extinguisher
    Treadstone's second law. I'll always snap a picture of it.

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    There were Trollies everywhere. Not sure what the Beatles album was doing there though.

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    Don't know what was stored or mixed in this vat.

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    According to Styru this was a first aid room


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    Fox Brothers supposedly have a historically significant archive of business papers and cloth samples. I guess they didn't need these ones.

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    Thanks for looking.
     

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