Hermitage Mill, Mansfield, Notts, April 2019

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Hermitage Mill is built close to the waters of the River Maun which runs alongside the it. Built as a cotton mill in sandstone and three storeys high (with basement), it was at first part of the Unwin family's many business ventures. The Unwin family were a dominant force in the cotton and hosiery industry in nearby Sutton-in-Ashfield. In 1782 Samuel Unwin Jnr. and London banker, James Heygate, leased the hermitage site from the 4th Duke of Portland to build their mill. It was the first mill to be built on the Maun after the 'Arkwright revolution'. The original mill building is still standing, though in a state of disrepair with no currently active use. In the 1870s a large brick extension was built to enable the mill to change from cotton-spinning to the manufacture of lace and hosiery and to accommodate the change from water power to steam power. Other additions included an engine house, by 1878, and boiler room.

Early picture of the mill showing the original chimney from the pond side:

40615648093_dae9baf3db.jpg20190410_215043 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The building was sold to Clumber Building Supplies in the 1950s, who then sold some years later to Buildbase, as a builder's merchant. It ceased trading in December 2008, and since then the mill has been left derelict and fenced off. In 2009, Mansfield District Council initially wanted to turn the building into a heritage centre. The council failed to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the mill was put on the market before being acquired by Germane Properties Ltd in 2014

Since then it has suffered spates of vandalism attacks which have damaged some of its significant architectural features. Plans are afoot to re-use the site and old mill building and in 2017 an application was put forward in July to retain the structure and 18th century style of the site and convert it into a 50-bed care home and 32 assisted living apartments. Works will include repair and replacement of windows, alterations to brickwork, stone work and render - and minor alterations to the lower ground layout. HEB Chartered Surveyors estimated the cost of refurbishing the mill at just over £4.1m. The mill was previously Grade II Listed back in March 1994.

A front elevation of the mill, circa 1950:

32639180447_05ce5d5539_z.jpg20190410_215120 by HughieDW, on Flickr

2. The Explore
Explored with @tarkovsky after he suggested a look at the place following a few recent reports on 28DL. Rolling into Mansfield on a pretty dull evening we staked out the place. With the mill facing the main road and surrounded by a pretty solid palisade fence and a hefty amount of razor-wire we initially looked at a more round-the-houses way to get in. After that failed, we took the more obvious route which we’d initially discounted. Once in we found an entry point and started at the attic then worked our way down. The place isn’t too bad and most of the floors are reasonably solid. The mill is pretty much empty but bizarrely on the first floor there are a number of documents, accounts books and sales ledgers dating from around 1949-51 just on the floor. Overall, an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so. Let’s hope that the place gets saved and reused in some form or another.

3. The Pictures

The River Maun and some of that razor-wire mentioned earlier:

33689183688_c31441d7b4_b.jpgimg0156 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And round to the Front:

32623183177_a7d80f57ef_b.jpgimg0184 by HughieDW, on Flickr

So, in we went and straight up to the attic:

33690790758_4c664be824_b.jpgHeritage 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47567516721_96f0b52726_b.jpgHeritage 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32625093187_f2ea2ff5c8_b.jpgHeritage 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32625070637_5676933809_b.jpgHeritage 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47512971412_ebf867948e_b.jpgimg0162 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40601609433_5747acdc34_b.jpgHeritage 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In places the roof is a bit iffy:

47514530452_5ef427842b_b.jpgHeritage 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Down to the second floor:

47567508931_b925c44344_b.jpgHeritage 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46843707324_7688716b19_b.jpgHeritage 15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46843738354_4c0f9528d2_b.jpgHeritage 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47567523411_db0395c754_b.jpgHeritage 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some of the paperwork:

46842089824_46aa3d71b6_b.jpgimg0166 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This receipt dates back to 1949:

47565874101_83fb32e87d_b.jpgimg0170 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40601582613_0d18b33f01_b.jpgHeritage 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47567496031_2a7b4a43b9_b.jpgHeritage 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

There’s a little bit of graff:

47565861071_6175e0c93d_b.jpgimg0171 by HughieDW, on Flickr

A den but no dragons!

33689024878_09229751da_b.jpgimg0174 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First floor:

47567506341_55b7603c1a_b.jpgHeritage 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32623315147_fec4fdd8f7_b.jpgimg0175 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a few externals. Rear elevations:

47512863972_522a667e58_b.jpgimg0177 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40599773673_2789245765_b.jpgimg0179 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46652103025_5da8aa7418_b.jpgHeritage 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40599728743_42f20d8c03_b.jpgimg0181bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

Side elevation:

47567488421_f9b90ac38a_b.jpgHeritage 20 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Note unsightly modern addition at the front:

47565715391_9ea68c6ee3_b.jpgimg0183 by HughieDW, on Flickr
Last edited:

Hugh Jorgan

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Interesting report and a nice building. But two shillings and two pence icluding purchase tax for a building contract, how times have changed.


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Rawdon Leeds
Interesting report and a nice building. But two shillings and two pence icluding purchase tax for a building contract, how times have changed.

Your two bob plus, got you a standardised form and a book of instructions on how to complete same. The wary could still involve their Solicitor should they so wish. Today; this no doubt will be solicitor driven from the start, due to the costs involved in such works.

The Wombat

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looks a nice little explore
Actually, I really like the 1st shot of the razor waterfall & razorwire.... beauty & pain in one!

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