Sandiacre - Part 03 - Around Springfield Mills
w/e 4 December 2005
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Click here to read David Roberts' "Memories of Sandiacre" - opens in a popup window

In Part 3 of our walk we look at the area around the Springfield Mills building. We resume our walk around Sandiacre near the footbridge over the River Erewash and our route from there will take us along Cross Street, left into Bridge Street in front of the large Springfield Mills building seen below and then right along Canal Street to the Erewash Canal towpath.

Springfield Mills

I would be the first to admit that this will not be the most attractive part of our walk but is worth a look for its historical value. Also a cold day with a thin film of mud on the road, a scaffold shrouded building and a building site on the left do little to enhance the photographic qualities of the area but it did allow the opportunity to see most of the Springfield Mills building which has not always been the case as Cross Street used to be lined by terraced houses. Hidden at high level behind the shrouding in a stone surround is a clock and as we shall see later, there is a similar clock on the other side of the building in a brick surround.
Gas Street

Gas Street name plateA short detour to the right on meeting Bridge Street takes us to Gas Street which runs parallel to Cross Street. There were also terraced houses along here and as the name implies, the Sandiacre Gas Company was once here. It later became part of the Long Eaton Gas Company and operated on this site from the late 1800s for many years. Due to the major regeneration work in the area, including the new housing development and the conversion of the Springfield Mills into apartments, I wonder what the future holds for the connecting bridge across the road at the junction of Gas Street and Bridge Street. I hope that it will be preserved.
Tie Rod

Returning down Bridge Street to regain our intended route we can now see, where the scaffolding has been removed, the ends of a number of tie rods. Springfield Mills was built in 1888 as a four storey tenement lace factory and was designed to be let separately so that businesses could "start up" here. It would seem the "start up units" for businesses today are nothing new. Part of the design of Springfield Mills was to incorporate the tie rods as seen above. This was because the lace making machinery shook the building so much that the rods were incorporated to hold the structure together. As the building is now being converted over 110 years later into less stressful apartments, the rods have served their purpose well. On the end of each rod, the initials TH can be seen. These stand for Terah Hooley, the local entrepreneur for whom the factory was originally built.
T Hooley Limited

The name is repeated around the corner in Canal Street above the door of another building.

Office Building

That building is the two storey office block which is noteworthy for its fine brickwork. Terah Hooley lived for a time in Risley Hall in the adjacent village. The Hall now been converted into a luxury hotel (shown below).

Risley Hall
The former Risley Hall.
Erewash Canal

Canal Street is a very short street and Terah Hooley's office building is adjacent to the Erewash Canal towpath (complete with swans). At its most prosperous the twelve mile long canal built between 1777 and 1779 was one of the most successful in Britain, transporting coal from the Erewash Valley. The coming of the railway though changed all that and now the canal is used mainly for recreational purposes. We'll follow the towpath a little way and pick up the walk again a little further north in Part 4 of our walk around Sandiacre.

Near the large chimney seen in the previous picture the rear of Springfield Mills is the other clock I mentioned earlier. At the moment sight of it from the towpath is still obscured by scaffolding, but seen here with a zoomed shot taken from the other side of the canal on Town Street the clock, this time in a brick surround, can clearly be seen. I think maybe a return visit is called for when the renovations are complete and both clocks can be seen in all their glory.

 Back to Part 02
 Forward to Part 04

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