Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Stanley Mill, Kings Stanley - August 2009

  1. #1
    Join Date
    October 2008
    Location
    Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
    Age
    30
    Posts
    173
    Thanked
    6

    Arrow Stanley Mill, Kings Stanley - August 2009


    From Selsley's high and noted hill, You have a view of Stanley Mill. Where woollen cloths are made, of almost every name and hue, as black or brown or green or blue, broad, double milled and tweed.

    But let us view the western vale; where woollen cloths are made for sale, of almost every sort; See Dudbridge factory, Stanley Mill, with Lodgemore, Ebley and Lightpill, from Rodboroughs ancient fort.

    Jephtha Young, Songs from the Loom
    Ok Ok, it's not "proper" urbex (meaning I asked permission) but I got to see something most people will never see, and isn't that what urbex is all about?

    Firstly, of course, I have to thank the company which owns the mill, in particular Jill May and Mark Griffiths - they were brilliant and just let me and Paskey get on with it and gave us the run of the place.

    Stanley Mill is a stupendous textile mill in Kings Stanley, a picteresque Cotswold village just outside Stonehouse, near Stroud. The site is astronomically vast - a huge Z-shaped, 5 storey mill building with an older "piered" building attached, a huge chimney, acres of outbuildings - it's got the lot, and the architecture is breathtakingly stunning.

    Construction of the current mill building begun in 1812, with the main building completed in 1813. However, there is evidence that textile manufacture has been located on the site since the 12th century. When complete, it was sold to Harris and Maclean for 8,655. Various extensions were built, including a long two storey building in 1815. It was originally powered by no less than five huge water wheels, with a small steam engine being added in 1824, but in the summer of 1834 the supply of water to the wheels was so irregular that the mill could not operate efficiently. By 1839, the steam engine had been increased to 50hp, and it was sold to Nathaniel Marling for 27,000. Marling's is a company still making carpets on site today, although in more modern outbuildings.

    The architecture is stunning - I think it's like "practical utilitarian combined with beauty" - and the building attracts international acclaim as one of the earliest fireproof buildings in the world. It has a beautiful cast-iron construction which helps make it flame retardent - indeed it survived a fire in its early days. The building is of such a high standard that Karl Friedrich Von Shinkel, a famous German architect who is credited for most of the buildings in 19th century Berlin, took inspiration from Stanley when he designed the Berlin Bauakademie.

    The mill closed in December 1989 and has since lain derelict, although unvandalised and in fair condition.

    Well, that's quite a history, and it's a nightmare to research, so now that's out of the way, on with the pictures!

    This is the main mill building - you can't see in this pic but there is an entire wing of similar design to the right, as well as a 4 storey Cotswold stone "piered" building.



    The main mill building is Grade I listed, and I'm not surprised when you get a fan light like this.



    We were allowed essentially the run of the place and allowed to look around on our own - no guide - it was fantastic. I knew the building was going to be spectacular, but I was not expecting this...



    It's the cast-iron framework that stops the building collapsing in a fire. It's beautiful - doric-style columns topped with elegant curved arches.



    Some of the columns have a date cast into them, presumably when the mill was completed.



    The top floor of the building is different from the rest, as in it has no iron work but instead huge wooden rafters which make it seem a huge state. The roof is in quite a state, even though English Heritage tried to improve the condition 13 years ago.





    This narrow ladder led up to a balcony with a water tank, and then a smaller ladder led out to the roof...



    Ahhhh the view from the balcony, the beams looking even larger than from below...



    The smaller ladder led out onto the roof by a tiny door. It was windy and slippery, so not worth staying on for long. However, if you look at the first picture, the large brick structure on the roof is actually a water tank-come-lift room. The lift is still in operation, albeit very rarely, but it was worth seeing anyway.



    A view from the fourth floor to the chimney (boilers sadly removed) and piered building...



    The fourth floor was the most special floor by far. When the mill closed in December 1989, PricewaterhouseCoopers were drafted in to help liquidate the assets. They tried to sell off individual pieces of machinery, but this was a dreadful idea as 3 textile mills were closing each week up north and they had old textile machines coming out of their ears. No one would buy it, so it was left to rust.

    That's where a man called Ken stepped in to help. He joined Marlings in 1945 and kept with it right until closure. He knew the machines like the back of his hand and so he spent 4 years restoring the machines entirely on his own. We were lucky enough to bump into him on the floor running the machines, as every week he comes in to run them so as they don't seize up. Just 3 times a year, the floor is opened up to a select few people. Lukily I was alone with Ben and not on the tour so we had "access to all areas" if you like.

    Meet Ken...







    This machine dates from 1957. Ken said that, despite the unbearable noise of the machines running (trust me, it was loud) he could tell from even a minescule change in pitch that the machine was going wrong from the other side of the wing.







    Of course, like the other floors, it had the cast-iron frame...



    Where the machines were sold, odd bits of equipment were left on otherwise empty floors.













    Clearly the machines needed cogs and gears changing a lot...



    On the corner of the "Z", the iron framework used a different design.



    Attached to the lower floors of the main mill is the "piered" building. Inside it is not nearly as grand, and it is a festering shithole full of dead birds, crap and rotting wood.



    There were still some trolleys lying around, that were used to carry wool.





    Back in the main building, there was an old first aid box full of vintage medicine and dressings. Seems a bit small for the entire floor though?



    Last edited by clebby; 22nd Aug 09 at 21:14.

  2.  
     
  3. #2
    Join Date
    October 2008
    Location
    Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
    Age
    30
    Posts
    173
    Thanked
    6

    Default


    That was about all there was to see in the main building, so we left and went into one of the many outbuildings. This one is of architectural importance because it has a flagstone floor both downstairs and upstairs. I wasn't expecting much, but I was very impressed when we found an ancient lab.



    Chemicals still in their bottles...



    Some old equipment...



    Old filter paper, still intact. This stuff is expensive as well!



    Shelves full of assorted junk...



    It seemed literally as if they had just walked away and left everything.



    Even paperwork like work records and first aid logs...



    Ahhh, some archival shots from English Heritage...

    An early drawing of the cast-iron, flame retardent framework...



    One of the floors in the main mill in 1956...



    Near the basement in 1956...



    And finally, part of the framework in 1988, shortly before closure...



    It was a stunning, stunning place. Definitely try and get booked onto one of the 3 tours each year, or even do what I did and get full access. With the tour you don't see all the mill but the machines are up and running and you get to talk to Ken. This website will be useful if you wish to - http://www.stroud-textile.org.uk/

    There are these larger cast-iron columns on the ground floor. It's a lot larger than the archival shot suggests, as the big old water wheels used to slot underneath them. Unfortunately it's now in use as storage by the company so they are largely slightly obscured, but I got a couple of shots of similar bits as they are now.

    Stairs to the ground floor...



    And the arches (not the same but nearby)...





    And one last shot: Farewell Stanley.


  4. #3
    Join Date
    December 2008
    Location
    Cheltenham
    Posts
    30
    Thanked
    0

    Default


    Epic stuff again, Mr C. Nice one.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    April 2008
    Location
    Teesside
    Posts
    1,478
    Thanked
    233

    Default


    Awesome. Just goes to show that a little communication can get you into somewhere. ;)

  6. #5
    Join Date
    February 2009
    Location
    Straight Outta DE5
    Age
    26
    Posts
    1,178
    Thanked
    8

    Default


    Very nice! It's nice to see it's being cared for :)

  7. #6
    Join Date
    June 2008
    Age
    51
    Posts
    341
    Thanked
    25

    Default


    Personally I don't like to see black and white pics I'd prefer color but my nit picking aside this is a brilliant thread :) a chance to see a mill BEFORE someone gets in there and starts to vandalize and bugger the place up. Heck, all the windows are still intact thanks for taking the time to post this :)

  8. #7
    Join Date
    October 2008
    Location
    Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
    Age
    30
    Posts
    173
    Thanked
    6

    Default


    Cheers guys :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinpaul View Post
    Personally I don't like to see black and white pics I'd prefer color but my nit picking aside this is a brilliant thread :) a chance to see a mill BEFORE someone gets in there and starts to vandalize and bugger the place up. Heck, all the windows are still intact thanks for taking the time to post this :)
    Well tough ;) Actually, some of the windows are trashed on lower floors. Luckily it's secure now so vandalism has stopped, thank god.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    April 2008
    Location
    Chorley
    Age
    45
    Posts
    86
    Thanked
    2

    Default


    Superb! I'd love to see somehwere like this, heck I've been in enough empty ones. I know of a huge mill complex in Yorkshire that shut a few years back and appears to be just like this but they won't let anyone in :(

  10. #9
    Join Date
    August 2009
    Location
    East Sussex
    Age
    37
    Posts
    20
    Thanked
    0

    Default


    Brilliant photos.
    Some of that stuff is amazing. Its amazing to see some of the stuff that they left behind
    Current camera - Sony Alpha A350

  11. #10
    Join Date
    January 2008
    Location
    Tayside
    Posts
    705
    Thanked
    152

    Default


    Excellent well done for seizing the initiative it was well worth it, judging by your photos. The machinery is something else! :)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

About us
DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
Follow us