Wednesday, 9 February 2022

White Rose Works, Sheffield


White Rose Silverware was founded in 1961 when the company took over part of the former Gee & Holme’s factory in Eyre Lane/Arundel Street, renaming the building White Rose Works. The former occupier, James Gee, of St.Helens, had previously acquired the nearby Thomas Raynes, a scissors manufacturer, and partnering-up with Thomas Raynes, then moved into a new factory at No. 61 Eyre Lane in early 1947, producing cutlery, spoons and forks, and cased goods before going into receivership in 1994.

Meanwhile WRS, named after the White Rose of Yorkshire, prospered as a wholesale company that bought and sold silverware products made in Sheffield, selling them on to many of Britain’s best-known stores. Off the back of this, it became a successful small Company. In the early 1980’s the owner, Chris Hudson, returned from Canada to help sell the business.

This never happened, however, and in 1989 with the purchase of the assets of silver manufacturer Walter Trickett & Co Ltd, WRS changed from being a wholesaler into becoming a fully-fledged manufacturer. This reorganisation also included the purchase of another Sheffield silver manufacturer, William Yates, one of Sheffield’s oldest Cutlery manufacturers founded in 1750.

The resulting Chimo Holdings took its name from an Innuit word of greeting meaning, “friendship, brotherhood and trust”, which appealed to Chris from his time living in Canada. The aim of the new company was to re-establish the manufacturing of superior quality products, using traditional Sheffield skills. Based on its three brands, William Yates, White Rose Silverware, and Tricketts, it quickly established an international profile many times bigger than its 15-strong workforce.

Chimo Corporate is now one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of corporate gifts and in 2019, just before lockdown, needing to expand, it purchased a new factory on Sheffield’s Carlisle St. As a consequence, in March 2020, it closed its Eyre Lane site, stripped the factory out and then selling the site for £650,000. The former factory now sits empty and awaiting development, as new student flats spring up around it in this former industrial quarter of Sheffield City Centre.


One from May 2021, recently released for public consumption.

Wear Mill, Stockport


The first record of a mill on this site was when John Collier, a cotton manufacturer built a mill on this site in 1790. It was water powered. The mill probably consisted of two multi-storey spinning mills and attached weaving sheds, one destroyed by fire in 1831 and the other rebuilt in 1884. Thomas Fernley bought the mill in 1824, and in 1831 needed to replace one mill with a new one that was of fireproof construction. This mill was eleven bays long and six storeys high. The floors were sprung on transverse brick arches supported on cast iron columns. It was driven by a beam engine in an internal engine house to the east of the mill. It was over this engine house that the Manchester and Birmingham Railway built the Stockport Viaduct in 1840, and again when it widened in 1880. The second mill was replaced in 1884, but not the original wheelhouse. It is a five-storey, 15-bay mill of fireproof construction with narrow longitudinal vaults springing from iron joints. The original weaving sheds have been replaced with two-storey structures, creating a complex site.


One from March 2021, recently released for public consumption.

The Retreat Morgue & Boiler House, York


Opened in 1796, it is famous for having pioneered the so-called "moral treatment" that became a behaviour model for asylums around the world with mental health issues. Founded by William Tuke, it was originally only for Quakers but gradually became open to everyone. It inspired other progressive facilities such as the US Brattleboro RetreatHartford Retreat and Friends Hospital. The present day The Retreat seeks to retain the essence of early "moral treatment", while applying the principles to a modern healthcare setting.

The Retreat continued to operate as an independent hospital into the modern era. However, on 31 December 2018, it withdrew from inpatient care with its remaining services for eating disorders and personality disorders now being run by the Schoen Clinic. The Retreat continues to run outpatient community psychological assessment, diagnostic and therapy services at the Tuke Centre, including an Autism and ADHD service.


One from May 2021, recently released for public consumption.

Springfield University Hospital (Surrey County Pauper Lunatic Asylum), London


The hospital opened as the Surrey County Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1840. The original building was a grand symmetrical red brick Tudor-style composition enclosing a large courtyard, built to the designs of Edward Lapidge, the county surveyor. A purpose-built chapel was added in 1881. It came under the management of Middlesex County Council in 1888 and was renamed the Wandsworth Asylum.

During the First World War it became the Springfield War Hospital and, after the war, it became the Springfield Mental Hospital. A new infirmary block to treat mentally ill patients who were also physically ill opened in July 1932. During the Second World War a serious bout of dysentery broke out at the hospital. It joined the National Health Service in 1948.

It was one of the hospitals investigated in 1967 as a result of the publication of Barbara Robb's book Sans Everything. The committee found that at least two of the charge nurses showed themselves prone to outbursts of ill-temper which expressed itself in violence.

In 2004 John Barrett, a paranoid schizophrenic, walked out of the hospital and stabbed Dennis Finnegan, a cyclist, to death.

In its heyday the hospital had 2,000 patients but it is now reduced to under 300 inpatients. Much of the original hospital building is now disused, and there are plans to convert this to a residential development, "Springfield Village". Proceeds are being used to create new state-of-the- art mental health centres at Springfield and at Tolworth Hospital in Surbiton.

In January 2020 £150 million of funding was approved to create eight new inpatient wards at the hospital. In February 2020 the hospital was featured in the BBC documentary "On the Psych Ward".


One from January 2020, recently released for public consumption.

Oakes Mill, Huddersfield


The firm Ben Crosland and Sons were founded in 1827 and were operating from Oakes Mill by the latter half on the nineteenth century.

In 1969 Ben Crosland and Sons were taken over and production finally ceased in 2016 with several light manufacturing firms now occupying units within the mill.

One from March 2021, recently released for public consumption. The mill has now been demolished to make way for a new Aldi supermarket.