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Report - Wolsey Hosiery Factory (13/1/06)

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by batman, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. batman

    batman Guest
    Guest

    Myself, Turkey and Dweeb (thanks lads) took a look around this old factory in Leicester. It's mostly single storey, and quite large - I think we saw about 1/3 of it. But it is totally empty and well gutted inside. Opened in 1910, closed fairly recently (the company has moved to a new site about 1/2 a mile away).

    Wolsey was founded in Leicester in the mid-eighteenth century by Henry Wood. When he died in 1768 his wife and sons carried on running the company. Originally producing stockings, socks and vests, they expanded to produce sweaters and underwear. Robert Walker joined as a partner in the 1840s and, following the retirement of Richard Wood, the company name was changed to Robert Walker & Sons. By 1883 this was the largest hosiery company in the Leicester region with goods exported world-wide.

    When the company decided to change its name again in 1897, it chose the name Wolsey after Cardinal Wolsey whose body was buried in Leicester Abbey, near to the site of their main office. In 1910, the Company moved to new premises at Abbey Meadows, which are still the Company's headquarters today.

    Wolsey managed to survive the depression of the 1930's, and many changes in taste and fashion. In 1967 the company became part of the Courtaulds Group, one of the largest textile companies in Europe, but by 1996, following a management buyout from Courtaulds Textiles, Wolsey once again became an independent Company - trading as Wolsey Limited. In April 2002 the company was bought by Matalan.


    The main driveway:

    [​IMG]

    The easy way in:

    [​IMG]

    Big Bertha the boiler:

    [​IMG]

    Water pipes to the boilers:

    [​IMG]

    Looking up the chimney:

    [​IMG]

    Another boiler-esque machine:

    [​IMG]


    Period lockers:

    [​IMG]

    Some stairs:

    [​IMG]

    Not much upstairs. An old workbench:

    [​IMG]

    And a pair of legs:

    [​IMG]

    Back downstairs, and we were looking for this:

    [​IMG]

    Pipework for the sprinker system:

    [​IMG]

    Finally found the way into the water tower.

    [​IMG]

    We got most of the way up, but the last bit was locked up. Turkey got intimate with a pigeon! Looking back towards the chimney:

    [​IMG]

    And The Space Centre across the river:

    [​IMG]
     

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