Transcribed from the dated report kindly donated by Mrs. Betty Smith. Just one result from her former Huthwaite Living Memory Group. which offers reference to the factory where some family members worked.
The new hosiery factory at Huthwaite, which has been erected by the Wholesale Co-operative Society, Limited, of Manchester and other places, is now practically complete, and some 40 hands are at present employed there. It is expected that the place will be in full swing two months hence, when the number of workpeople engaged will be increased to over 400.
Leicester will be the loser by the new factory, for all the machinery is gradually to be removed from the borough to the small colliery village on the border of Notts. and Derbyshire, and then the Co-operative Wholesale Society will turn their backs on the old building and settle in their new home. They do not, however, propose to leave behind them their old hands, for these are to be given an opportunity of re-engagement under the new arrangements.
It may be recalled that one of the reasons which probably led to the society's migration from Leicester to Huthwaite was the intimation that the local Unwin Land Society were prepared to give an acre of land free for the purpose of establishing a new industry in the parish of Huthwaite, which had for a long time been at a great disadvantage in having no industry (except one hosiery factory) for juvenile and female labour.
It was early in 1906 that negotiations were started between the society and the Unwin Land Association in regard to the latter's offer, and the result was that the "co-operators" agreed to accept the same, and, in addition, to purchase 1½ acres more for the erection of their factory. Building operations were commenced in the summer, the architect being Mr. F.E. Harris, of Manchester, and the contractor Mr. J. Dickinson, of Derby.
The new premises are of an extensive character, the two principal buildings, both of which are two storeys high, forming two sides of a square, and facing High Street and North Street, with a suite of offices, etc., at the corner. The building facing High Street is 350ft. in length, and 50ft. wide, and that facing North street of similar width, but 230ft. in length. On the first floor of the main building are five departments, housing machinery for the manufacture of hosiery, etc., whilst on the ground floor are a parn store, finished stock rooms, warehouse, and press and trimming rooms.
Another block, measuring 100ft. by 15ft., has been erected at the rear of the other buildings, and in this is contained the power house, the dyeing and milling departments, together with the fitters and shop and store. Adjoining the engine-house is the boiler house and economiser, leading on to a chimney stack 95 feet in height. Sufficient land has been obtained to allow for future extensions on the buildings.
The population of Huthwaite is estimated at 1,500. There is at the present time no line or railway running into the village, the nearest station being Whiteborough, about 1½ miles distant on the Mansfield and Teversal branch of the Midland Railway. Sutton-in-Ashfield Station is a similar distance from the new factory, and the lack of railway accommodation is one of the principle drawbacks to the progress of the village. Some time ago a movement was started by the Huthwaite Urban District Council with a view of inducing the Great Central Railway to construct a line, linking Huthwaite with Sutton and South Normanton, with possibly a further short section extending from Sutton direct to Mansfield. Great hopes had been entertained that the proposal might soon become an accomplished fact, but on the 11st inst., a communication was received by the Council from the general manager of the Great Central intimating that no action could be taken in the matter until the conclusion of the negotiations between that company and the Great Northern Railway Company.
The factory in Cranbourne street, Leicester, was, until a few years ago, run as an independent concern by the Leicester Co-operative Hosiery Society - a trading combine of various co-operators, established for the primary object of supplying the distributing societies in the country. The works originating in a very humble way, in fact, in its infancy the whole concern was accommodated in an ordinary dwelling house. With the expansion of the movement came an increased demand for co-operative products, and gradually the Leicester turnover grew. But in course of time the "Wholesale" decided to undertake its own.....
Written 05 May 12 Revised 05 May 12 © by Gary Elliott