Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Fox Bros, Tonedale Mills & Tone Works, Wellington


Tonedale Mills, together with the neighbouring Tone Works, is a large textile mill in Wellington, Somerset, and the largest in South West England. Owned for over 200 years by members of the Fox family, it was most famous for the production of 'Taunton serge', and later the khaki cloth and puttees used by the British Army. The mill was established in the middle of the eighteenth century, and thrived during the industrial revolution. At its peak, around 6,500 metres (21,300 ft) of material was produced at the factory each day. The cheap cost of producing fabric in third-world countries contributed to the factory mostly closing during the 1980s, but small-scale production continues on part of the site.

Plans to convert some of the site into housing were abandoned in 2008, during the global financial crisis, due to low levels of interest. Development on the site was later supported by The Prince's Regeneration Trust, and the site was listed on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2010, while the Tone Works site was identified in 2014 as being among the top ten Heritage at Risk "priority" sites in the South West. Most of the site has been grade II* listed, granting it a level of preservation by Historic England, though the organisation accept that "comprehensive restoration and reuse would not prove commercially viable" due to the size and state of disrepair of the site.


Esoteric Eric

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