I’m a Yorkshire girl at heart and I’ve moved to a city from living in a small village my entire life. I do sometimes miss the quietness and the little places to get away that I had at home, it’s always so busy here! Having a little walk I found Aylestone Meadows and it was a really relaxing walk that reminded me of home.
St Mary’s Mill
The main purpose of this wander was to find the building that was once St. Mary’s Mill. It was an interesting discover and I never realised this was here. I wanted to find the Mill as this is where my Great-Grandma used to work during the war. I thought it would be interesting to see if any of the buildings were left and take some pictures for her to look at.
My limited knowledge of the site made me do some digging, and I found a lot about the history. The site is actually over 800 years old! During those many years the site has gone from a Amaur Danet’s mill with grazing pastures, it then became St. Mary Mill, followed by wool spinning factory and when that failed, the mill went back to corn grinding.
In 1831, entrepreneurs William and Alfred Bates started the industry of producing ribber thread using new technologies. Their formula proved to be a success and the company grew and expanded to manufacture other rubber goods. The duo struck gold when Dunlop approached the factory to manufacture it’s pneumatic tyres. With new orders on it’s books St. Mary’s Mill continued to innovate. Increasing product range forced the site to expanded with new buildings. To accommodate this the course of the river Biam was diverted and the largest gas engine of it’s kind in Midlands, was installed.
Unfortunately this was the case for the brothers who couldn’t escape the great depression of the early 20’s. As the brothers came to the early 20’s, they couldn’t escape the great depression and the site was taken over by Dunlop Rubber Company that continued to improve the site and it’s factories.
During the Second World War, much of the output of the factories was devoted to making aircraft parts, such as braided rubber shock-absorbers and rings. I’m guessing this is what my Great-Grandma must have been helping doing here. She also mentioned making inner tubes for cycles that were used in France.
I’ve read that no part of the original mill remains, which is a shame. But looking at these photos, I can see part of the building I saw in the photo of the old factory.
Aylestone Meadows is a lovely quiet oasis in the city, perfect for walking, cycling and picnics. If I had dogs I’d definitely take them here for a walk. Me and my boyfriend really enjoyed the day, and it was a tiring but calming walk. It’s nice to have a little place to get away here in Leicester.
Thank you if you’ve made it this far into the post! I hope you found it interesting, make sure to leave a comment if you did.