'Mills, Machines and Memories'

Were you involved in Mansfield’s Textile Industry? Or do you know someone who was?

If so, Mansfield Museum wants to speak to you! We want to expand our knowledge of Mansfield’s textile industries and its’ people, as part of the four year ‘Made in Mansfield’ project.

Through June and July, we’ll be working a textile artist and film maker to collect stories from people who worked in places such as:

-Coats Viyella
-Mansfield Hosiery Mills

…or any other textile factories or businesses in Mansfield.

If that’s you, you could join in with free textile workshops alongside local art students and other interested local people to help create an art installation which will find a permanent home in Mansfield Museum.  If you have skills in pattern cutting, crochet or embroidery, you could support others to learn them. You could be interviewed about your experiences or perhaps you have photographs or memorabilia that you could show us.

The project is also going to be filmed and turned into a 30 minute documentary, which will be added to the screens in the Made in Mansfield gallery and made available to schools and community groups.

To find out more come and join us for the launch at Mansfield Museum on Saturday 27 May between 11am and 2pm. You’ll be able to meet the artist and film maker behind the project and, if you fancy, try your hand at some image collaging!

Or leave some memories in the comments below. We want stories from people who worked in all aspects of textiles. Did you design machines? Were you a pattern cutter? Did you specialise in checking stocking for runs? Tell us about the characters you worked with and the work that you did!

(For more information about the project, contact Sally Evans, Museum Community Participation Officer on 01623 463088 or sevans@mansfield.gov.uk

If you have a story about your experiences in the textile industry, you can contact Clare Taylor (Textile Artist) at busandbirdarts@gmail.com or John Slemensek (Film Maker) at bokehgo@gmail.com)


Comments about this page

  • My husband and I worked at Meridian – he managed Belvedere Street – his mother used to work in wages. My mother worked there when previously known as Foister, Clay and Ward and his father worked there also as a knitter – happy days and many many happy memories x

    By Tracey Key (16/12/2023)
  • Comments about the folding room at Mansfield Hosiery Mills.
    I am Alice & remember all those names , worked there with my sister Kath Bonsall & a friend Tina Shooter.
    Met my husband there we married in 1976.
    Happy days .

    By Alice Green (16/09/2022)
  • I’m trying to find out when the Hosiery Mills was built.
    I worked at the Hosiery Mills in 1976. I was a Rib puller. Can’t remember what Rib pulling was about.

    By Tracey wright (23/02/2022)
  • I worked at Mansfield Hosiery Mills on Botany Avenue off Sutton Road from 1970 to 1976. I started there from school. I worked in a department called the folding room, folding and bagging ladies and men’s jumpers and cardigans for M&S. I remember being on short time, going home early when we caught up with production. The manageress’s name in the folding room was Marlene Morris, she was a good boss, I really liked her.
    I can recall lots of names I remember that include Alice, Rita, Linda, Sylvia, Sharon, Chris, Doreen and two Maureen’s to name a few. I also recall a girl on quality control by the name of Marlene but can’t remember the supervisor’s name. Would love to know where they all are now.

    By Pamela Thompson (16/01/2021)
  • Hi
    I left school to work at Foister Clay and Ward in 1956, worked first on putting transfers on socks, then trained to be an overlocker on knitwear for M & S. The lady who was over us was Mrs Carter, her daughter worked there also, her name was Molly Carter before she married a Alan Caborne, don’t know why their names I can still remember.

    By Patricia Davies (Campion) (04/11/2020)
  • Reed Mill Dam, possessed  some of the largest fresh water  fish in the town, one could only fish if you had a fishing license . Swimming was a definite NO. NO.  At one time some lads were fishing in the middle of the dam, using a small boat, plus a large dog that was in for the ride. The dog jumped out of the boat into the water, but alas the dog could not swim and was doomed for a watery end.  A worker friend of mine saw the dog’s plight , and without a second thought, dived into the dam and consequently pulled the dog back to the side of the dam to safety.  “Remembering the no swimming rule”,  He was hauled into the managers office as the manager had been informed my friend had been swimming.  Eventually, when the manager had given a dressing down to my friend, and he learned the truth, he was told not to do  it again.                                                                                                                                                               One of the workers, may have been when it was Johnson’s Factory.    Harry Oscroft, finished working at the mill, because he had signed for Mansfield Town  Football team.  A very good player, he was later transferred to Stoke City Football Team.  Another friend of mine, whom I played football with in the same team, played cricket for Johnson’s team, where a cricket pitch had been rolled out somewhere to the rear of the factory. His name was Ronald Parnwell, lived near the bottom end of Princes Street.  He was an excellent sportsman. In one of the cricket matches he took all ten wickets of the opposing team, receiving the match ball after the match.                                                                                

    By Alan Curtis (29/05/2017)
  • In many of the factories , when it was time to cease work a Blower would sound to let the workers know it was time to down tools or switch off their machines.  Then the rush would commence to go as quick as they could to catch the earlier bus.. I would say the late 40’s and early 50’s were the most lucrative times for the hosiery companies, and there was much overtime to be had. It was when the artificial materials came in that the hosiery factories began to feel the pinch in their orders. This would have been in the late 50’s and early sixties, Orders fell off, and one by one mills began to lay off the staff, the smaller companies closed their doors first, then the larger of the companies, called it a day.

    By Alan Curtis (28/05/2017)
  • Hi Alan,

    Thank you very much for your comments. I’ve passed them on to our film maker and artist who can use them in their research. Much appreciated.


    By Sally Evans (24/05/2017)
  • Just to add to the project with naming some of the Mills and Factories relating to the Hosiery and Cotton Industries in our town, these were in close proximity to where  my wife and I lived. Both our families had friends and relations who worked in the industry. Very often eating and sleeping , the Local Factories.

    Firstly, if there was water available that had been “Dammed to power the Machines “, then you would find a mill of some kind.

    The factories were a natural follow on to what was called  ” The Spinning Jenny.  History tells us that many of these ” Spinning Wheels ”  were situate in cottages throughout the town.

    I’ll name the Mills I grew up with from the 1930’s.

    There were Mills at Kings Mill, by the Reservoir , Sutton Road. Hermitage Mill, on Hermitage Lane. Matlock Mill. Sheepbridge Lane. renamed Johnson’s Mill. then Reed Mill.  There was another smaller Mill , 150 yards from the railway bridge, towards Sutton Road  on the right called Turner’s, Bob and Jack ,Father and son.  At the top of Sheepbridge Lane, on Sutton Road, there was “The Quortex”. now housing, but in it’s day it was a large employer of many Mansfield folk of course, in the main ladies.  The far side of the Reservoir, there was another large Factory “Pretty Polly” another large Stocking supplier.  What was known as Field Mill, was a factory that housed the largest Water Wheel in the country. This was another large employer. Not overlooking the one my wife worked at for many years, was Foister Clay and Ward on Belvedere Street. They were also on Newgate Lane. Later to be taken over by Meridian ..  She and many of her friends worked at the one on Belvedere Street.  Another Hosiery Mill was the far side of Titchfield Park, at the side of the river Maun , opposite the Brewery. Following the River Maun, we had another large Mill, Bradleys, Who’s works Hooter would sound each morning about 7-o clock.  There was another small Hosiery Factory across from the Kings Arms Pub  on Ratcliffegate. I wouldn’t think many would remember that one. A friend of my wife worked there . Mansfield Hosiery Mills off Sutton Road. Seal and Turners on Kirkland Avenue. My wife’s mother worked at Lawn Mills on  Rosemary Street, in what she called the “Doubling Room”. She told of one time there was only she and the Overlooker  ” Butcher” turned up for the shift, just she and the Overlooker kept the machines going throughout the shift.

    Both my wife’s family and my family had people who worked in the Hosiery Factories , My Mother , who in her many places of work, also worked in them for many years, she had to !  I was brought up with many of my friends and relations working in the Hosiery business..

    There are many more Factories and Mills that I will leave for others to remember. 

    I cannot leave without commenting on the name. Cinderellas’ Walk , where literally thousands of young ladies made their way to and from their place of work, in the Mills and Factories of the town..

    Hope this is of help ?



    By Alan Curtis (17/05/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.