4 June 2008

British Mills, Redditch

British Mills in Redditch was a large needle and fishing tackle factory on Prospect Hill founded by Samuel Thomas senior – the great-grandfather of Lionel Britton – who used to live with his family in a self-contained house (part of which is visible to the left of this photo) attached to the facade. Of note is the painted 'S. THOMAS & SONS LTD' towards the top of the building. Today, virtually all that remains of the factory is this facade.

Many thanks once more to Jane Matthews and Robert Hughes for making possible the publication of this image.


Snatch51 said...

Note for anorak historiographers:
This picture is clearly the building as it was built; ie no-one is suddenly going to change the number of blocks forming the arch over the gateway, or substitute five windows for four while maintaining the symmetry of the building.
No, the artist has used a little artistic licence, as artists will; but I must pull him/her up on his/her caption: "The CORRECT representaion of the British Needle and Fish hook Mills".
Compare this photograph of the 'Nineteen-Thirties with the drawing elsewhere on this blog.
Many a time we rely on a drawing for information on the fine details of a building or some other feature.
Here is an object lesson in how much caution we need to bring to such evidence.

Snatch51 said...

On a recent visit to Redditch I failed to locate my Great-great-great-grandfather's factory.
This was a flaccid result on my part; my only excuse(s) being trauma at the horrific mess which the planners have made of Redditch, and three children in the back of the car, all squealing for their lunch.
I can now reveal that the location of the British Needle Mills is approximately the following, expressed in Latitude/Longitude, (degrees followed by minutes and decimals of minutes):-
N52 18.67 W1 56.40
This is of course only the remainder of the facade, and the original was much more substantial.

foxabilo said...

I now live in the house attached to the main building, I believe it was indented to house the owners of British Mills. It is a very impressive house by any standard typical very high ceilings and Victorian features, fireplaces, coving and very large rooms. In the second ground floor bedroom the original coloured glass fireplace tiles remain, very pretty. It is now grade 2 listed and so it should be. There is a beautiful tree intersecting the front court yard and the street which has to be 20 feet in diameter, a very unusual feature as it bulges in the middle quite a bit. It is great to get a little of the buildings history from this site, thank you Tony.

Snatch51 said...

Foxabilo, I have only just spotted your contribution!

Please contact me, Snatch51@btopenworld.com

One of the things I have found out in the last few months is that Samuel Thomas Senior married Mary Retallack in 1829 and that therefore I am a little bit Cornish!

I feel honoured that you are living in the house, and perhaps one day I could visit as part of a journey of understanding. You do know about Samuel Thomas and the 16 bodyguards?

foxabilo said...

Most welcome to visit anytime, I think my mail to you got lost in the spam folder.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

I've only just seen this comment, probably because I'm having problems receiving notifications of them (which is no doubt my fault. I believe Robert (aka snatch) said something to me about making a comment, but to my knowledge he didn't tell me about this!

I'll let you know next time I'm in Redditch! Many thanks for these contributions.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting to find some history on this lovely building. Since 2009 I've been living in the largest part of what was their house (the entire upper floor and part of the ground floor with the main entrance hall and impressive stairway leading upstairs from what pressumably wouldve been staff quarters below?)

foxabilo said...

Hay Neighbour I must be number 7 :)